Sunday, August 30, 2009

Nanny Websites Allowing Parents to Offer Less than Minimum Wage

Why do nanny websites allow parents to post jobs offering less than minimum wage?

"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

References:
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?

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

I do not see how these parents expect nannies to work for this. How can we as nannies make a living with what the families want to pay us. Would the families work if they were getting the same pay that we as some nannies get?

DeShaun said...

I agree you 100%. if you want to employ a Nanny on a full-time basis and pay her $200 gross explain to me when is she going to find another job to supplement her income when she is working 40-45 hours a week for ur family. What I have been doing when I come across these ads is replying to the parents what the law is in the state they are looking for care. I am tired of parents thinking it's okay to pay such a small wage for a big job! I know the recession is hurting us all but come on if you want a Professional Nanny it comes with a decent wage offering!

lovebeingananny said...

I think any employment agency, job posting site should only allow posts that are legal. Some nanny web sites like greataupair.com still CLAIM the pre-screen their nanny candidates. Why shouldn't they do the same for the parents? It's ILLEGAL to pay less than minimum wage and it ought to be illegal to allow parents to post illegal wages.

Would they allow a "cover" ad for prostitution? Of course not! So my point is illegal is illegal.

I understand it is hard to "police" how parents hire domestics. For example there are regulations for au pairs not to work more than 40 hrs per week but partents break that rule constantly because it's hard to regulate that industry. I understand it is hard to regulate the nanny industry too. But at least nanny websites can do the most basic of screening and read the job description before posted.

In fact, computers can do it for them so no human eye needs to be used. Once a parent chooses a state a computer can reject any number under salary that is lower than the minimum wage!

Sadly in this economy, and country of not enough regulation, some immigrant may just take a full time live out nanny job for a mere $5 per hour, which should be criminal and in fact it is!

I'm tired of hearing it's hard to regulate people's homes.

Nanny placement agencies inform both parties on all labor laws: discrimination, taxes, and minimum wage. Next step should be signing some contract promising to do so. Then nannies could take parents to court that break labor laws.

Anonymous said...

Since it is illegal the websites should be liable.

They are allowing for illegal jobs to be posted.

Stop blaming everyone else, it is the business's responsibility to not allow illegal ads that do not follow the country's labor laws.

Nanny Faith, New York NY

tobagonanny said...

Faith hit it right on the nose!
This is the nanny web site's business. It is their industry, so they should be held to a higher standard than a bulletin board at the library or post office!

The advertise the presscreen nannies. so they certainly can prescreen family postings. It's not like they are visiting them at their homes, simply requiring basic labor laws be followed.

It is their business so they should make it their business to only post ads that follow the law.

lovebeingananny above really hit it on the nose. It is not asking a lot at all.

First step, get the labor law posted all over their site and print what the article says, "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."

I really feel the article was too nice because posting illegal ads should be illegal.

Anonymous said...

Who wants to contact the Better Business Bureau and ask their opinion of illegal wages being posted? Any takers? I bet this blog would publish your results!

Nanny and Household Manager
Wendi T. in DC

NannyMichelleDE said...

My guess is that allowing jobs to be posted at less than minimum wage is due to the fact that the businesses aren't forced to do otherwise.

Why doesn't INA, APNA, this publication, nanny support groups, etc., get a form letter started to send to legislatures?

Everyone knows nannygate is HUGE a problem in this country. Requiring both agencies and web sites to only post legal offers is at least an attempt to correct some of the problems.

It is just a start, then we have to do much more to regulate the nanny and au pair industries. But at least it is a start.

I agree with tobagonanny that this can easily be remedied. This is their business and they ought to be required to do the most basic screening so not to post illegal offers.

Perfect example that a nanny web site would not post a job offer for prostitution so why another ad that breaks the law?

Good job DeShaun and Best Nanny Newsletter for getting the discussion started! Let's get a form letter started too!

Anonymous said...

I Totally Agree, but I also understand that parents pay this because there ARE people out there who will accept it. It is just as much the nannies responsibility to know what is legal/correct as it is for the parents and too many nannies just take what they are offered and then whine about what they are getting paid.
It is time for anyone working in this ... Read Moreprofession and calling themselves a nanny to take responsibility for themselves, educate themselves and develop the interview skills, job skills, and backbone necessary to ask for and get a higher wage.
It is also important that those "new" to this profession do not come in expecting to be paid the same as those who have been in the trenches for 20 years. Earn your right to command a high salary through dedication, hard work and education. Otherwise it sours parents interviewing candidates and ruins it for everyone.

Tonya Grell Sakowicz

Anonymous said...

When parents call agencies and are told what the minimum salary range is for their nannies, (we don't take an order that pays less than $10 and very rarely can fill it for less than $12 per hour - live in or out), they turn to websites and Craigslist. They often times come back to the agency and offer a fair wage when they make a bad hire. It is s shame that they don't understand that they get what they pay for. Caregivers in name only, no experience, no knowledge...one mom told me she asked her new employee "Aren't you going to burp her?" and the caregiver said: "What's that?"
One other incident sticks in my mind as well: The mother was shocked when we told her the salary range of our applicants and her response was "Well I don't need your best nanny!"
Pat Cascio. Morningside Nannies

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this. The topic has been swirling on yahoo groups recently with a lot of emotion. Your article puts into perspective the reality that we are somehow expecting nanny websites to be more than bulletin boards (and they are not). But I think SOME nanny websites do purposely deceive parents and nannies into thinking they are more than that, because it brings them business. Your whole series of misleading ads proves this to be true. Unless they are called-on-it they won't change.

We do really need to start emailing the businesses about this problem. The idea of legislation is great too.

I also did not know that a live-in salary could be 40% less than a live-out to cover for room and board. That's huge!

Your posting the wages is helpful because when I have seen $5/per hour in the past and I automatically assumed it was breaking the law, when I must look closer to see if it is a live-in job in the future.

But, any nanny taking the time to read this blog, or join in our yahoo group discussions, is probably not a beginner, unexperienced nanny hoping for just a minimum wage job!! So most of us scoff at those ridiculously low wages.

Sad thing is that there are plenty of woman out of work needing any job that will accept minimum wage (or lower) and not pay taxes or recieve health benefits and so on just to be employed during an economic crisis. Labor laws apply to all women working in United States even immigrants. They ought to pay taxes to protect themselves!

Nanny Judy

Anonymous said...

I have signed up with 3 online nanny websites looking for jobs this summer and there are plenty of illegal under min wage jobs posted. I see $5 an hr in GA for live out on care.com for example.

Anonymous said...

I don't know how anyone could live on minimum wage so to ask anyone to live on less is outrageous.

Nannies are amoung the poor in this country. If nanny websites profiting on their listings cannot stand up for nannies than who will??

Tasha, Orange County CA

Anonymous said...

I agree parents want the best though not willing to pay for it. I call it the laundry list of qualifications needed and then find that they want to pay $8-10 $12 hr is robbery. then being told that qualifications means a higher salary. Then to top it off it is their obligation as an employer to pay taxes.

Taxes are another issue that raises my hackles as I have had many agencies tell me they are under no moral or legal obligation to tell prospective employers that taxes / IRS are they new best friend. I have been told by several they can do this as they are ONLY a referral agency thus no obligation.
MJR

Anonymous said...

Ironic how au pairs have all of this spelled out clearly by the federal cultural exchange program and Visa application process. The cultural exchange program for au pairs makes sure there are only very few au pair agencies allowed in the entire country and they are regulated and licensed. (Isn't it only 11 au pair agencies in America?)

Yet, nannies who are American citizens do not have those same regulations! Anyone can start a web site say it's for nannies, claim they prescreen but never do, no regulations, no nothing to protect anyone!

Joanne Taylor, Richmond VA

Anonymous said...

Crazy isn't it. I actually have seen jobs posted for as low as $2.60 per hour! Anyone who would accept that job must be completely insane or absolutely desperate for work. I am searching for a new job now and I've had a hard time finding people posting for enough pay for all my experience. What do all of you make for your jobs...and how many hours a week and how much experience? I was making $16/hr at my last job...34 hours per week during the school yr and 42 during the summer, 9 years of nanny experience and 20 years experience with children.

Brenda

Anonymous said...

Web sites may say they have no control over what price range a family or sitter enters but they do!

They provide the pull down menu for the price ranges and one option is $5 to $10 per hour!

If they would remove the option of $5 to $10 per hour for live-out nannies then the paret WON’T be able to select an ILLEGAL below minimum wage rate at all.

Of course, once the nanny contacts the family they parent can negotiate a lower wage which is nearly impossible to regulate!

Anonymous said...

13 yr old babysitters make more than $10 an hour here in NJ and NY.

Parents need to be empathetic and/or sympathetic and think if they would want a job for $10 per hour and what quality of life they would have. If they pay low wages to their employees they will create angry and resentful employees. The trickle down effect will rub-off on the care of the children.

I think a parent would prefer to have a happy nanny caring for their children.

But back to minimum wage and obviously it should be illegal to post any job breaking any labor law!!

What if they allowed a parent to post "No Islander's need apply"

What if they posted, "Anyone over 15 need not apply"

What if you saw "No Muslims please"

You couldn't allow that!!! So why can they allow less than minimum wage??

Patti, NorthEast Jersey

Anonymous said...

The comments here are much less emotional than the comments on nanny yahoo chat groups recently.

I applaud this publication for trying to warn both parents and nannies that when they use websites to post jobs they are on their own. There is nothing wrong with that, just be careful.

Judi, Wash DC

De-Shaun Silas said...

Hi,

I am with everyone else I still feel these sites have an obilgation to enforce that parents at list pay minniummn wage. There should be something right above the place where the parents input that says something about minniumn wage. Not only that some kind of pop up box that says something "Please make sure you input at least the minniumn wage for your state and if you are unsure please visit www...." I think this is a an excuse I am with the another commentor about getting APN,INA etc... to put more pressure on this.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I wanted to respond to your article, Nanny Websites Allowing Parents to Offer Less Than Minimum Wage (Sunday, August 30th 2009). As a nanny, I know I am able to provide high quality, personalized care. It broke my heart to see families that valued the care I was able to give, but simply could not afford it. And it saddened me to know these children would be placed in large, impersonal daycare centers.

I started NannyShare Connection to give parents and nannies a better option. NannyShare Connection (NannyShareConnection.com) is a resource for parents who are interested in sharing a nanny with another family. The two families share the cost of the nanny's salary, so the care is affordable ($8-10/hr in most metro areas). But the nanny makes slightly more than average ($16-$20/hr). The nanny is still able to provide highly personalized care (in most cases they are caring for two children). In fact, the International Nanny Association (INA) recommends this approach (http://www.nanny.org/pdf/Domestically-Downsizing.pdf).

Families who are interested in sharing a nanny can go to NannyShareConnection.com, and create a "Family Profile" that includes the age (or due due date) of their child, the number of hours they need childcare (full-time or part-time), and when they need care to begin. Families can then search the family profiles to find other families in their area. Some families already have a nanny (who they would like to share), and others would like to find and hire a nanny together. NannyShare Connection keeps a list of nannies with multiples experience, which we provide to families free. Nannies who have experience caring for 2 (or more) children are encouraged to contact me to be added to the list; tdreskin@nannyshareconnection.com.

In these difficult economic times, NannyShare Connection gives nannies another option when families cut back hours. Nannies can suggest caring for another child (full-time or part-time), with some of the hours overlapping. For example, if family A is reducing hours from full-time to Monday, Wednesday, Friday only, the nanny can accept a position with family B that is Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. On Mondays and Wednesdays she would care for the children of both family A and family B. On Tuesdays and Fridays she would care for family B's child only. Allowing some overlap between the two positions makes it easier for the nanny to find another job (she could not accept the position with family B if the families were not open to her to caring for both children). It also gives the families greater flexibility. For example, if family A needs childcare on a specific Tuesday (the mother has a doctors appointment or an important meeting), there is a familiar childcare option in place. I find families are very receptive to the suggestion of sharing a nanny, because it both reduces their childcare costs and gives their child a playmate.

Most importantly, NannyShareConnection.com helps working parents afford a reasonable rate of pay, that attracts (and retains) quality caregivers.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions; tdreskin@nannyshare connection.com.

Best,

Tanya Dreskin
Nanny to Akiva, 14 months old
e: tdreskin@nannyshareconnection.com
w: NannyShareConnection.com

Anonymous said...

INA and APNA will never put pressure on having on-line sites run their business legally.
Both INA and APNA suggest parents use actual nanny placement agencies. I don't beleive care.com or sittercity.com are members of either oganization. INA and APNA organizations focus on education not regulating the industry.

IMO..if we, as professional, career nannies, want to make huge changes to the nanny profession, such as this situation, we need to ban together. Since this is a personal problem of the nannies- and that is who is the most passionate to make the changes.
First thing we can do is to write them and let them know how we feel-and let them know we will not use their services.
Hopefully they will see the light-as we the nannies are their "products" and what they are trying to sell....

NannyMichelleDE said...

The nanny industry is small so I'm not really sure but I think Domestic Worker's United might be interested in this, if not police. Seriously, offering less than minimum wage is illegal. I just find it hypocritical to advertise they pre-screen nannies (which they don't) then cannot even take a minute to have a computer kick-out any salary that is below $4.35 an hour.

It's all glitz and mirrors. Websites with credibitiy for being around a long time and trying to educate parents and nannies get no credit, but the marketing newcomers get quoted in the news or on Dr Phil but are the ones with misleading advertising and allow parents to post less than minimum wage.

Ridiculous, it's their business. It's not hard to do at all. Websites aren't regulated. At least agencies must have proper licenses. Problem even with agencies is that if they don't have propler license they just move on and post fake ads with fake names on craigslist and such.

These newer nanny websites headed by men who were never nannies or woman who want to make a quick buck don't even have phone numbers to contact them or won't return calls for days.

Good to let parents and nannies know it's a bulletin nothing more,

Anonymous said...

One thing we all know is that jobs on nanny web sites offer less than jobs via agencies. The sites do not even list the type of salaries we can get on the east and west coast. During an interview a mom even said to me, "But the site only lists $650 per week as max wage." And even after I accepted a job once found online no background check was ever performed. If the screening doesn't require a signature from the nanny then it's not a worthwhile background check (probably just a google search).

Be wary of sites with no list of staff, no phone numbers to contact, only web forms without emails listed, or newer sites located in the midwest run by those who have never been a nanny or hired a nanny.
Peggie C, Middleburg, VA

Anonymous said...

It's the parents at fault. The parents aren't even embarrassed to post jobs below minimum wage?

That's the problem. Parents thinking it is ok to break labor laws and not be held to the same standard as other employers!

Erin K, Ohio

lovebeingananny said...

Proof yet again that only a few nanny web sites are businesses that advocate for nannies (or even respects nannies).

Both parents that offer such low wages and businesses that allow parents to post such low wages do not respect the caregiver.

Do not patronize or work for those with so little respect for the caregiver.

Since using an agency cost the cargiver nothing, sign up with reputable agencies with experience, who friends reccomend, that are a member of Better Business Bureau, are members of Alliance of Premeir Nanny Agencies!! http://www.theapna.org/

APNA is only organization that tries to regualte the industry!

Anonymous said...

I am not a member of either assoc I am about to discuss right now but I think, I am not sure that APNA "regulate the industry" but do have high standards to meet before allowed to join.

International Nanny Association tries to educate parents, agencies, nannies but do not have any membership requirements to meet other than payment of membership fees.

While APNA it is harder to be a member.

I don't know if you complain to either if they would end membership once a member.

Household Manager and Nanny
17 yrs experience
Michelle in DC area

Anonymous said...

They can get away with it. Such sites as sittercity and care.com are for nannies and babysitters plus housesitting/cleaning, elderly care and special needs.

I spoke with a rep from SC saying that the calculator is way off and needs to come down.

Parents use it and figure a babysitter should be making next to nothing even with many yrs of exp. Then you add in your age and the # of children you care for. It doesn't benefit nannies at all.

It actually lowers our pay. I had a family call me and wanted to pay me $8/hr to watch their 2 kids 2 days/wk 9 hr days. They said the calculator said to pay me $9.50/hr. No thanks!

The sites are all about making money for them. They say in their conditions they hold no liability to the families or sitters. Sad....

Anonymous said...

I am not against the use of nanny web sites in helping find jobs but it's good that this article says how much work it is for parents and nannies to search for jobs using nanny web sites. It's a lot of work and essential to spend the extra money and time to protect ourselves when using these sites.

Thank you for this wonderful resource!

Maryanne Fiore
Belvedere California

Anonymous said...

Disgraceful and shameful. The sites most certainly could not allow those numbers to not be entered in their pull down menus.

Anonymous said...

Owners of web sites can do whatever they want. There is no reason for them to allow any wages that are below minimum wage!
Kimberly Smith
Atlanta GA

lovebeingananny said...

It is such a shame that businesses that profit from nannies do not respect them enough to make a simple change in their websites.

We really need to create a bill to change this!

Anonymous said...

Although this was written years ago it's still happening. I see illegal minimum wage jobs on nearly all nanny websites! It's disgusting.

Melody Goff said...

I'm outraged!! I've been on Care.com since '08. Rate as low as $5 an hour. I have 40+ years experience. I can not make a living for peanuts. I emailed a woman back in the Summer. Offered her $8 an hour for 3 children. She couldn't justify it. Another woman, 45 hrs. a wk for 2 children, cleaning, cooking and laundry plus running the 4 year to and from preschool 3 times a week. $5 an hour. Or another woman, tonight. I offered her $200 for 25 hours, $8 an hour and I got a no. Her current Nanny is leaving because she got a new job. Why? She was only get paid $4 an hour for 25 hrs. This has got to stop. Happens in Grand Rapids, Michigan on a daily basis. Please help. Care.com has got to be warned. Thank you!!

Raven Pace said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Raven Pace said...

When it comes to nanny share, should both parents be paying min wage if the total price is split in half?

Me said...

Raven Pace - Yes unless they want trouble with the IRS.