"Nannies are on their own when interviewing with families found on nanny websites. They must not accept jobs offering salaries lower than the minimum wage."
De-Shaun Silas, a nanny from Memphis, TN brought to our attention that some nanny websites allow parents to post jobs for less than minimum wage. Since Ms. Silas exposed the problem to us, other nannies have contacted Best Nanny Newsletter about the same issue.Most nannies that contacted us were outraged that there were jobs offering $5.00 per hour on nanny websites. But, for live-in nanny positions the federal minimum wage is merely $4.35 per hour.
So, it is important for nannies to determine if the wage is for a live-in or a live-out position before determining the website is posting jobs offering less than the minimum wage.
As of July 24, 2009 the minimum wage increased to $7.25 per hour for all live-out employees. Employers are legally allowed to deduct up to 40% of a live-in employee’s wage to cover the cost of room and board. Therefore, the legal federal minimum wage for live-in caregivers is only $4.35 per hour.
If a parent is posting a wage for a live-in job for less than $4.35 per hour, then that wage is lower than minimum wage. If they are offering less than $7.25 per hour for a live-out employee, then it is less than minimum wage.
But, some states have higher minimum wages. In cases where an employee is subject to both state and federal minimum wage laws, the employee is entitled to the greater of the two wages.
States with higher minimum wages than the federal minimum wage include: California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington (see their minimum wages below).
For example, since Ms. Silas works in Tennessee she should not accept jobs offering less than $7.25 per hour for live-out nanny jobs or $4.35 per hour for live-in nanny positions. But Micky Harrington, a nanny from Los Angeles, CA that contacted us about jobs being offered for less than minimum wage, should not accept jobs offering less than $8.00 per hour for live-out nanny jobs or less than $4.80 per hour for live-in nanny jobs because she lives and works in California.
When a nanny on our staff contacted nanny websites about jobs posted for less than minimum wage the nanny websites stated that they are a bulletin board allowing nannies and parents to post what they wish.
One nanny website stated, "We at [name of website] do not have the control on the salary ranges that the care seekers put in their job post, the same thing that the care providers include this information on their profile. Care seekers may seek the services of a care provider through the use of the Site and care providers may submit proposals to care seekers regarding their services. In the event that a care seeker and a care provider agree on the provision of services such agreement is solely between the care seeker and the care provider; [name of website] is not a party to any such agreement. Any issues concerning the services received by the care seeker or payment due to the care provider must be resolved directly by the care seeker and the care provider."
Perhaps, if nanny websites were capable of pre-screening all posts on their websites no jobs would be allowed to be posted offering less than minimum wage. But, they clearly do not have the resources to pre-screen every job posting by parents or postings of caregivers.
Nannies are on their own when interviewing with families found on nanny websites. They must not accept jobs offering salaries lower than the minimum wage.
But, reputable nanny placement agencies do pre-screen both parents and caregivers. Reputable nanny placement agencies inform both parents and caregivers about labor laws, including minimum wage.
Before contacting the Better Business Bureau or sending angry messages to nanny websites you must first show examples that the site is truly allowing parents to post jobs offering lower than minimum wage. Do they post live-in jobs lower than $4.35 per hour? Do they post live-out jobs lower than $7.25?
Then, look for a definition on the website that provides the correct federal and state minimum wage rates. We have mentioned previously in articles about misleading nanny website advertising that the websites should clearly state that parents are on their own and must do the work of pre-screening nanny candidates themselves. The sites should also clearly state labor laws and the minimum wage and that nannies are on their own when negotiating salary.
In reality, it seems impossible for nanny websites to pre-screen all job offerings, even though some may suggest they do. If a nanny website posts live-in jobs for less than $4.35 per hour or live-out jobs for less than $7.25 per hour it clearly proves they are not pre-screening the family postings.
We also have found that since the increase in minimum wage in July, even the most reputable nanny placement agency websites, nanny websites, and even some nanny tax websites have not yet edited their websites to the new increase in minimum wage. Most likely it is just an oversight and if you contact the websites to notify them of the misprint they should be more than willing to make the edit. It is only fair to allow businesses some time to edit their websites.
Why are so many jobs posted for less than the minimum wage? Most likely the bulletin board style nanny websites haven’t the resources to actually pre-screen all posts.
You must know the minimum wage in the state you work in to be certain you do not accept job offering less than minimum wage. If your employer has not increased your salary to reflect the minimum wage increase in July, 2009 tell them of the increase because they are legally obligated to pay you at least the minimum wage.
State minimum wages greater than the federal minimum wage per hour include:
California: $8.00 live-out; $4.80 live-in
Colorado: $7.28 live-out; $4.37 live-in
Connecticut: $8.00 live-out; $4.80 live-in
District of Columbia: $8.25 live-out; $4.95 live-in
Illinois: $8.00 live-out; $4.80 live-in
Massachusetts: $8.00 live-out; $4.80 live-in
Michigan: $7.40 live-out; $4.44 live-in
Nevada: $7.55 live-out; $4.53 live-in
New Mexico: $7.50 live-out; $4.50 live-in
Ohio: $7.30 live-out; $4.38 live-in
Oregon: $8.40 live-out; $5.04 live-in
Rhode Island: $7.40 live-out; $4.44 live-in
Vermont: $8.06 live-out; $4.84 live-in
Washington: $8.55 live-out; $5.13 live-in
Labor Law Center
United States Department of Labor
What advice to you have for nannies using nanny websites? What are your thoughts on the topic of parents being allowed to post jobs lower than minimum wage?