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Employment Rights All Nannies Need to Know

Since nannies work in the private homes of their employers it’s often mistakenly assumed that they are not protected by labor and tax laws. While not all labor and tax laws apply to household employers because they employ less than the minimum number of employees required before they kick in, many of them do.

According to the International Nanny Association, all nannies, whether they are legally authorized to accept employment in the United States or not, are protected by these 10 basic employment rights.

1. Nannies must be paid for every hour that they work. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, whether live-in or live-out, nannies must be paid for each hour that they work.

2. Nannies are entitled to be paid minimum wage. All nannies are entitled to be paid at the state or federal minimum wage rate, whichever rate is higher.

3. Live-out nannies, and some live-in nannies, are entitled to overtime pay. Live-out nannies are entitled to be paid overtime at the rate of 1.5 times their hourly base rate for all hours worked over 40 in a seven day period. Live-in nannies, in some states, are also entitled to be paid overtime.

4. Nannies must receive a W-2 form at the end of each year. Nannies are not independent contractors; they are employees of the families for whom they work. Nannies who earn more than $1,800 per calendar year (2012 threshold) must be given a form W-2 and not a form 1099.

5. Nanny employers are required to withhold payroll deductions. These deductions include Social Security and Medicare and state taxes. Income taxes and other benefits, such as contributions to health insurance premiums, may be withheld if the nanny and employer agree.

6. Nannies are entitled to be paid regularly. Each state determines the maximum number of days between payroll dates and the maximum delay an employer may place on a nanny’s periodic payroll. Some states even dictate the frequency in which nannies must be paid. The employer must keep accurate payroll records, including the dates and hours worked, for three years.

7. Nanny employers are required to have Workers’ Compensation policies in states that require it. Workers’ Compensation provides financial assistance to nannies who are hurt on the job. Most states require nanny employers to have a Worker’s Compensation policy, though not all of them do.

8. Nanny employers are entitled to work in an environment free from abuse. Federal and state laws protect nannies from physical and sexual abuse by their employers.

9. Nanny employers cannot confiscate a nanny’s passport or any other identifying documentation. Nanny employers cannot take and keep a nanny’s passport, Social Security card, work permit, or driver’s license.

10. Nanny employers are not allowed to retaliate against nannies from workplace grievances by turning them into immigration. If a nanny files a claim for unpaid wages or abuse, an employer may not turn their nanny in for an immigration violation. The Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration & Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) has written rules that prohibit their interference in labor disputes.

The International Nanny Association is a non-profit educational association. For more information about nanny employee rights, visit www.nanny.org/nannyrights.


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