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Nannies and domestic workers often face wage theft

For many, finding a job right out of high school or college is not part of the plan. Some choose to find work that provides a different kind of experience than the usual retail or corporate world offers. Being a nanny is one attractive way to earn money and gain experience for those who love children and may be considering a career in education or child care. However, it is not always easy to find a family that knows and is willing to follow the laws that protect nannies from wage theft.

Those in Tennessee who are considering offering their services as a nanny should keep in mind that this job is different from being a babysitter where the parents hand over a few dollars at the end of an evening. Federal law considers nannies to be domestic employees, along with senior caregivers and housekeepers. Domestic employees are nonexempt, meaning the Fair Labor Standards Act applies to them.

FLSA says a nanny must receive at least the state minimum hourly wage. Nannies who do not live with their employers must receive time and a half for every hour they work over 40 in a week. Nannies who live with their employers must be paid for every hour they work or are expected to be on duty, including meals, naps and time when the children are in school. Those considering an offer to be a nanny would be wise to request a contract outlining expected duties and hours of work, as well as a plan for keeping track of those hours throughout the week.

Without careful record-keeping, a nanny may not realize when his or her employer is taking advantage, especially if the nanny is live-in. When domestic employees believe their employers are committing wage theft or are denying justly earned overtime, it may be possible to negotiate to claim what is rightfully theirs. However, it may prove beneficial to seek the advice and support of a Tennessee employment law attorney.