The Value of a Nanny is Measured By Compensation and Necessary Benefits

Thoughts on Worker Rights Bills and Nannies

The first step to increasing the prestige of the nanny profession is to raise the bar of the most basic needs and expectations.

By Stephanie Felzenberg, Editor of Be the Best Nanny Newsletter

Recently, Harold Camping, prophesied that the world would end on May 21, 2011. In Saudi Arabia, some religious leaders claim that allowing women to drive will lead to the moral deterioration of their society. Not too long ago in America there were dire predictions of anarchy when blacks were allowed to vote, tragedy when interracial marriages were allowed, and Armageddon when school integration was ordered.

Today, some domestic placement agencies, two professional nanny organizations, and attorneys who represent those who hire nannies, housekeepers, and personal chefs are predicting doom and gloom for society because of the passage of laws protecting the rights of in-home workers. The doomsayers strike us as too strident combined with strong hints of elitism.

It feels like some opponents of the CA Domestic Workers Bill of Rights (CDWBR) view nannies in a condescending way. To work as a nanny or housekeeper in our current society inevitably labels us as of lesser value to those in other occupations. Regardless of education and experience, most nannies are considered “just babysitters.”

But not everyone shares these assessments. On June 16, 2011, the International Labor Organization (ILO) convened a meeting of international government representatives, employers, and unions to debate the merits of a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights similar to those passed in NY and CA. The proposal passed 396 to 16 with 63 abstentions. While this approval does not have the force of law, it does provide an acknowledgement of problems and a guide to solutions.

The IRS claims that only 76% of taxes owed are paid. Since tax evasion is the great national sport (doesn’t it seem like everyone wants to pay less taxes), how can we expect compliance with these worker rights laws, even if they are enacted? After all, unless there is societal recognition and acceptance of the need and importance of nannies, no amount of legislature will prove useful to the profession.

If nannies are satisfied to be glorified babysitters, they can only expect to be compensated at a lower level than her better educated and more ambitious caregiver.

All workers deserve all the rights listed in the CDWBR, but the lesser trained employee may find the employer resistant to offer all the benefits needed.

A value-added nanny is one who is trained in child development, behavioral psychology, tutoring, child safety, CPR and First Aid, nutrition, etiquette, and hygiene of their charges. This well-educated nanny is more valuable to the child, the parents, and to herself. She has made the commitment to herself and to her profession to make being a nanny a career, not just a job.

To that end, I urge that we work to create licensing and the certification of nannies. The required education could be obtained from a variety of sources. Non-profit associations, public colleges, or private schools can be widely available sources of education, training, certification, or licensure.

I also strongly support the CDWBR and other bills that support the rights of nannies. The first step to increasing the prestige of the nanny profession is to raise the bar of the most basic needs and expectations.

In our society, the value of a nanny can be measured by a compensation package that provides a living wage and necessary benefits. The goal for the parent should be to get the best nanny possible. The goal of the nanny is not only to be the best she can be but to be the best nanny that can be.

Do you support the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights?


  1. Well at least everyone can finally agree that we need to be certified and licensed to gain credibility!INA has a credential exam so I can't imagine they would disagree with this article!

  2. AMEN!

  3. As a nanny I feel that we deserve rights as domestic workers. Every single day I go to work I feel like some of my rights are abused!! Asking to do things that I'm not qualified to do for example hanging closet shelves for the employer, which to me has nothing to do with being a nanny. Why did I waste my education and training?

  4. I believe that we all deserve overtime pay as caregivers. I get my overtime flexed out. Having rights would put a stop to flexing my time out and getting me the money I worked hard for. I'm all for the bill!!!

  5. Steph, Some nanny placement agencies support the bill. I am a nanny agency owner and I support the bill. Since INA and APNA have spoken in opposition of the bill I regret I am not posting my name. But, you are not alone. I agree even more about education, training, and certification to make this a credible profession. I think such legislation only increases the caliber of nannies.

  6. Agencies are quick to point out the importance of hiring a professional nanny and the value of using an agency. Opposing this bill cheapens the nanny profession and thus the agencies that place the nannies.

  7. Start leaving your names please! I'd love for those in support of domestic workers to come out of the closets!

  8. I absolutely support the bill! I have been saying it since the early 90's!Our nannies deserve so much more and so do our Chilidren!!!Best of Luck,April BerubeThe Wellington Agency

  9. Yes, absolutely! This should be a no-brainer, and I hope it zips right through and becomes law without any significant bumps along the road!MAPN (MA Alliance of Professional Nannies, the new MA nonprofit nanny education/support group) is working toward this. It's Jennileen's passion, and she's spearheading the effort.

  10. Good thing u work until evening steph because u may get a lot of harsh words ut i support the bill and sam member of ina. Too bad they didnt share our point of view

  11. While i am still confused as to why anyone would NOT support this bill i am certain we can all agree your comments about nanny training and being pasid legally. All agencies must agree with those points.

  12. I agree with your points and will share with my nanny friends:1. Give us basic rights2. Insist on being paid legally3. Training and Education

  13. Yes to it all! Better education is everything! That is how teachers have created better respect and wages for themselves too. Nannies are respected in Europe and highly respected in England due to certification. Make is so nannies must be certified and then all qualified nannies will earn more respect ans wages than mere babysitters. The advice about paying taxes impotant too. Who can demand rights if they have no record oif employment? Also, you cannot recieve the benefits of being a citizen if you aren't legal.

  14. How do they plan to police familes? Is this an enforceable set of laws, or is it yet another useless "feel good" measure?Do they expect an illegal immigrant to actually contact someone in the legal community for help getting their OT or their vacation pay? Wouldn't coming out from the shadows endanger that person's ability to be here in the US?Illegal domestics have made the choice to come to the US outside of the law. Because of that choice, they have fewer chances to stand up for their own rights. Is that "fair"? No, it's not. But that's part of the choice they made.I am all for being seen as a professional, but that vision cannot be legislated. It has to be earned through our own work ethic, and through our refusal to accept poor work conditions. Yes, those of us who are here legally have an advantage there, in that we can insist on certain rights. That's reality. Adding laws on top of the laws that already exist does nothing except scare potential employers who WANT to do things legally out of the market for domestic help. Those employers who already break existing laws will continue to do so.The changes in the nanny/domestic industry need to be top down, starting with serious and severe penalties for tax evasion hitting employers where they live. Once laws are enforced, creating a certification program that reaches out to ALL domestics regardless of legal status and experience level might be a good idea, but how does one accomplish that goal? And how does one make that certification relevant to the employers?This new legislation is a band aid, not a fix.

  15. Tales from nannyhood,The article supports education and certificaton and legal nannies. When workers can't gain respect in a free market they have no choice but to fight for protection to protect them. Children laws had to be made or kids would still be working in factories today! Blacks had to fight for their rights, women had to legistlate rights, teachers have unions to negotiate their rights, as do electricians, auto workers, plumbers, etc..If the bill is useless than you have nothing to worry about.

  16. This is not a radical change in laws. But it is clearly necessary for U.S. citizens. I think the article is right that if nannies don't demand to be paid legally then all is in vain. But for those that do they deserve these rights MOST ARE DENIED. See, subscribers to this newsletter, INA and so on aren't typical domestics. The typical American legal domestic doesn't even know what their workers rights are. They are mistreated daily. It's a shame.

  17. New York did something similar last yea r and everyone survivied! Im sorry but anyone who dies not support this bill is not lookign ot better this industry at all. I personally still think its disgusting that 99% of nannies get paid uner the tabl. WE ARE BETTER THAN THAT !

  18. Tales of NannyHood makes the closest best understandable opposition of the bill I have read to date simply about it might be unenforcable. But she said it has to change from the top down and that's what legislation is about.Tales of NannyHood and Be the Best Nanny Newsletter seem to agree. Only difference is if laws are needed. Good debate, but this legislation is long overdue!

  19. I wish domestic workers were paid fairly and be more respected without the need of legislation. But in over 20 yrs of the International Nanny Association, only a handful of NANNY members have joined or gain from the organization. Granted they have a few nanny members, but since the majority of their funds are NOT supplied by the nanny members there's not incentive to support them. Sadly, experience shows that domestic workers are the poorest, most taken advantage of workers, and you don't have to be illegal to be mistreated. I WAS surprised that INA was opposed to the bill but now I see they get very little financial support from few nanny members. APNA and INA are supporting nanny agencies and those who hire domestics because that's who are their members and who fund their organizations. But I understand their viewpoint, a little.I'm glad you are allowing us to voice our opinions here at least. I'm glad to see your opinions too Tales of Nannyhood. But it just isn't enough to sway me at this time.

  20. I think it's hysterical when white male attorneys think they know what is best for the nanny industry. They are SO FAR REMOVED from our reality. LOL

  21. I too am sad to see that INA is opposed to the bill. I feel INA is digging their own grave by not supportting this bill- but aren't most who are on the board- Agency Owners? And if the agencies can't get clients who can meet the demands of these new laws- then they won't have many clients.As it is now, 99% of the agencies don't really care if their clients/nannies are paid on the books or if the nanny has CPR/1st Aid training. (of course I realize that they are not mandated by the law to do so- and say that is up to the nanny and the family.)I will be curious to see how many nannies renew their memberships or attend the 2012 INA conf.

  22. But, anonymous, if the nanny is a republican they will stay in INA

  23. For those curious about the INA, here's a link to the Board: course, you can also follow other links there to find out more. I counted 8 agency owners/representatives, 6 nannies, and 2 nanny school operators on the INA Board. Fairly even distribution, IMO.

  24. I would love to hear from nannies in NY state who have been positively effected by the NY bill that was passed. How did it effect you? Did your employers come to you and discuss any changes they needed to make to comply, or did you start that discussion? How many of your fellow nannies have had positive changes in their work environment due to the NY state legislation?

  25. Tales from nannyhood, I am not attacking you at all so let's start out so you know that. I think emails can be misinterpreted. I don't want you to asusme I am writing this while angry. I actually agree with a lot you are talking about. I truly am reading anything and everything about this bill to learn more.I think you misinterpreted Diane's message because she is mad, (that is clear, she's angry). But in her comments she was NOT referring to the # of nannies ON THE INA BOARD but the number of actual nanny members in the INA. There are more business members than nannies. The businesses also pay a substansial bit more to be members of the INA than nannies do.Obviously, the entire INA Board of Directors approved of this lobbying campaign. It's obvious the Board opposes the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. I don't think anyone would deny the entire INA Board opposes the bill or they wouldn't have posted their article and mass email lobbying effort. I have read the INA process of accepting a proposal via the INA Governmental Affairs Committee already because I was gonig to write to them expressing that I wish they had also supported the domestic worker. But, after reading the process they follow on their web site I realized I would be wasting my breath. The lobbying campaing made it's way through the Governmental Affairs Committee and INA Board of Directors against Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, so it would be fruitless to try to change their minds.It is sad though that you can read right on their web site that just last year they remained purposely neutral on the Domestic Workers Rights bill in favor of just saying they support domestic workers.I think Diane's point, as with some others, is that the INA failed to represent those of us who support the bill. The majority of members of the INA are not nannies and the nanny membership fee is much, much lower than that of businesses. So, even if Diane's view is wrong, her logic is understandable. That's how Diane feels, whether it's correct or not. And that's why I like your comments too. You are willing to express your feelings and share your name and not hide for what you beleive in. I think Anonymous's comment about INA members quitting and digging their own grave may be true for INA members that already ahve issues with the organization. Their opposing the Domestic Workers Rights Bill might be the straw that breaks the camel's back for them. I read the INA lobbying letter with an open heart and open mind because I want to learn about this legislation. I simply didn't find their lobbying letter convincing at all. The INA invited this discussion when they sent the mass email begging for letters opposing the legislation. So they should welcome our responses.I'm grateful to hear both sides of the issue and people are allowed to have different opinions. Thanks to all sharing their names! There's no reason not to in this nation we are allowed to discuss how we feel. I thnk everyone who has commented on this blog shows that nannies are intelligent and passionate. We all have good hearts and want the best for domestic workers.

  26. Reyna H: "The article supports education and certificaton and legal nannies."****Yes, it does. Does the CA legislation support that?Diane: "I WAS surprised that INA was opposed to the bill but now I see they get very little financial support from few nanny members. APNA and INA are supporting nanny agencies and those who hire domestics because that's who are their members and who fund their organizations. But I understand their viewpoint, a little."****Actually, according to a quick count I just did, the INA has about 160 agency members here in the US, and they pay ~$32,000 in yearly dues. There are about 300 nanny members, and they pay ~ $10,000 in yearly dues. So, if even half of the nanny members quit the INA next year, that would leave them hurting for funds. They'd have to find 25 new agency members to make up the financial loss, and the credibility loss would be huge. I think the INA is trying to represent everyone's best interests based on their study of the bill.Fiona, thanks for your thoughtful and measured response. I obviously feel that the INA is making the right call here, since I do not believe MORE government is the answer to any problems. I think that INA members of any and all types who take issue with their position should absolutely write and tell the INA where they disagree with the official position on CDWBR and why. That said, this discussion, IMO, is a basic disagreement between those who want more and bigger government and those who want less government. I would guess that trying to legislate morality (i.e., treat your workers well, give them adequate rest, etc.) will fail here as it has failed before. Creepy employers are not, as I said above, going to be worried about breaking these laws, and well-meaning employers (and would be employers) will be scared off by the increase in paperwork and busywork these laws cause.Eventually, if this sort of legislation spreads, there will be fewer decent caring employers out there who are willing to deal with the paperwork, the number of scofflaw creepy employers will remain the same, and nannies who currently have good jobs with good people will be forced to either accept crappy jobs or leave the field entirely. I give it about 5 years for the change to be seen in NY and CA.Of course, I guess then the states can pass "Required Hiring of Domestic Workers" bills, and force people to hire domestics even if they can't really afford them. Right?

  27. That's exactly what it is Tales From NannyHood: republican vs liberal!!!That's why it is 100% acceptable for political parties to take a stance. It's perfectly fine for individuals to take a stance. But, these organizations who have members from both parties shouldn't assume how their members want to be represented!It's sad that most people can't look outside the box of their political affiliation. We shouldn't just get stuck in our political party rhetoric. We all need to open our eyes, listen to other's views and that will help us see what really might help us. If we could just stop spewing political rhetoric!!! I'm sure some Democrats may oppose the bill and some Republicans support the bill but we'll never know the way you are representing yourselves!INO and I can't speak for others, the only valid argument from opposers is less government intervention. But, that's just a mantra for Republicans. It's an automated response which doesn't always work.When you can't gain basic workers rights then you need to fight for them. This bill can only help the legal, American domestic worker.

  28. But, I do realize you don't have to write or send the INA letter if you don't want to.

  29. I've tried to read as much as I can on this topic- I've read the opposing INA letter.I've seen some of the things asked for scrapped.Some of the things were a bit over the top- IMO.What I'd like to see the law mandate is that all nannies have some sort of "True" Nanny" certification in order to be given these rights.I realy don't think having a nanny be allowed to use a families kitchen to cook a meal is going to be such an issue. If a family has a strong belief they usually make that know in the interview- if they feel the nanny can't abide by their family rules- they just won't hire them-right?Tales from the Nannyhood-Can you please tell me in which way these new laws are going to create more paperwork? Thank you.

  30. I appreciate the forum for all of us to post our thoughts on this issue. It is exciting to see the energy that has been stirred. So I feel it's appropriate that I step forward and put in my thoughts as a nanny of 21 years and the co-president of INA. INA joins other organizations (AARP, NPDA, CAHSAH and APNA) in opposing support of California Bill AB889, also known as The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights that was approved by the CA state assembly. Since 1985, INA has been working hard to improve the professional standards of nannies and establish recommended practices for the in-home child care industry. INA supports the fair treatment of all domestic employees and has established a commitment to professional excellence and recommended practices that all members must agree to abide by. As the umbrella association for the in-home child care industry, INA works hard to identify how proposed legislation affects the entirety of our industry. INA is not in support of CA Bill AB889 because it goes beyond establishing basic standards, standards that are already in place in CA, for domestic employers to abide by. It also assures rights to domestic workers that go far beyond what other employees in other similar industries, such as preschool teachers and day care workers are assured. In what other industry are employers required to pay for vacation time? CA Bill AB889 takes the negotiating power away from nannies and employers by putting the government in the bargaining seat.In California there are already rights of minimum wage, overtime and other labor protections such as worker’s compensation that domestic employers uphold when they hire domestic workers. When looked at from the big picture, the reality is that CA Bill AB889 may:1. Facilitate Lower wages for domestic workers 2. Impose burdensome fiscal requirements on the majority of employers 3. Encourage and strengthen the underground economy 4. Create a litigious environment because of excessive fines and a "private right to sue" 5. Increase the practice of hiring undocumented workers 6. Encourage lawsuits over regulation that requires food preparation in private homes regardless of the medical conditions, physical allergies or religious law of the homeowner 7. Contribute to turning new business away from the State because of additional over-regulation none of which increase the professionalism, standards or prestige of nannies or the in-home child care industry. The focus with CA Bill AB889 shouldn't be are you "for" or "against" domestic workers. Clearly INA is for domestic workers. The real focus should be how this legislation will truly affect our industry with a big picture prospective.

  31. Change doesn't come overnight and doesn't come easily…

  32. I'm sorry I didn't mean to submit my comment above so quickly. I'm going to be stealing quotes and intellectual propery I've read elsewhere on this topic, even tonight's passing of the gay marriage act in NY (like I did on post above).If you want great professional nannies than we need to be treated better.Happy nannies, happy kids, happy parents! Win, win, win. See, the legislaton may also help us Becky! Nothing horrible happened in NY after the bill became legislation. What MAY happen is we will live better lives. Who cares about other workers? Why shouldn't we be rewarded with paid vacation days? It doesn't hurt anyone else! Why shouldn't we get provided more than others? We are the poorest of the poor currently, can get fired with no due cause, let's make things better. No body else will respond now with the marriage equality act being passed in NY now anyway!I completely agree with everyone being allowed to speak. I don't think people should boycott INA or nanny agencies like Michelle keeps saying all over the Internet or anything extreme like that but I think it's fine for us to support this legislation too.

  33. But Becky, why won't the INA allow me to post my comment on your INA blog? I submitted my comment and it was never posted. I am in support of the bill, but just because we disagree on this one topic I ought to be allowed to be heard. Polictical debates happen all the time. Blogs are about voicing our opinions. We may argue, but sticks and stones…. it's normal to argue about these ontroversial topics. Why censor me if I'm not blatantly being disrespectful? I didn't use curse words. Just wanted to be heard!

  34. Why should nannies get such lavish benefits as vacation days and paid sick days and 21 days notice? Because our profession is like NO other…we are not printing brochures…marketing a business, etc. We are helping to raise a child and contribute to a happy childhood.Also- I can't believe no one thinks nannies need a paid vacation or sick days.Most nannies work 50+ hours per week- they need some down time. Especially live-in nannies- who's families live far away.About not getting notice…a nanny gets very attached to the chidlren- having that amount of time as notice benefits the children. If nannnies have notice they help the chidlren to start to detach and spend those few weeks helping the children to cope with her leaving- and most importantly teach children how to end a relationship in a healthy way.Also can someone kindly please tell me what other professions DON'T get paid vacation or sick time?If this bill does not pass, nannies can still enforce these things, by having them all agreed to beforehand in a written work agreement.~Andrea Flagg, Professional Nanny, NJ

  35. Thanks for the comment Becky. Supporting this bill and supporting the International Nanny Association don't have to be mutually exclusive! Although I am in support of Domestic Workers Rights Bill, I have supported the International Nanny Association and am still a member.

  36. When I read the annual survey put out by the INA, I have to wonder about the advocating for nannies. 100% of reporting nannies should be paying taxes. Negotiating an overnight at $50-150 shouldn't be happening, it should be straight overtime for the additional time worked. When you have 100% of nannies reporting these items at 100%, then you will have left an effective mark on this profession. To denigrate the profession by using the phrase that we won't be able to negotiate any longer, you put us in a category less than a fast food worker who is guaranteed time and a half. These shouldn't be suggestions. They shouldn't have to be added to work agreements if they are the LAW. It makes my heart sing to see so many people come out in favor of this bill. You can sign up to receive emails regarding the status

  37. Point-by-point, the INA response makes no sense. You would never sense it on their fake, our-viewpoint-only blog site, but nannies' rights are regularly abused. Laws and regulations are what makes society livable. Enforcement and the weight of law reflects society's priorities. The priority of the INA is that of those who hire nannies. If you believe the INA, nannies have enough money and sophistication to sue their employers but the parents cannot afford the software to fill out a form to adhere to IRS regulations. INA has not fooled me.

  38. Anon: "Tales from the Nannyhood-Can you please tell me in which way these new laws are going to create more paperwork? Thank you."****I'm extrapolating from past experience and knowledge. More government ALWAYS means more paperwprk. For example, look at the tax code. When the IRS began, forms were simple. Have you filed taxes recently? Anything BUT simple.Andrea: "Why should nannies get such lavish benefits as vacation days and paid sick days and 21 days notice? Because our profession is like NO other…we are not printing brochures…marketing a business, etc. We are helping to raise a child and contribute to a happy childhood."****It sounds as if you want nannies/domestics to be MORE equal than any other workers? Of course we do essential work, but are we more worthy of benefits than anyone else who works for the common good? And are we (the nanny/domestics community as a whole) so helpless and hapless that we cannot strive for equality without forcing it down people's throats? I don't believe forced equality is valid and lasting – it's only good as long as the government is willing to force people to give us those rights to make us "equal".Don't get me wrong – in my ideal world, nannies get millions and men who play ball for a living get no more than 6-figure salaries. But that's not real life.Eva: "That's exactly what it is Tales From NannyHood: republican vs liberal!!!"****Actually, I think it's much more complex than that. I am an independent who believes in less government and fiscal restraint as well as freedom of choice in personal matters, AKA a social liberal/libertarian. I wonder how many people have actually looked into this law and informed themselves before posting versus those who have had a simplistic knee-jerk reaction? And I think your analogy would be more logical if you used either "Republican/Democratic" or "Conservative/Liberal". :-)Buffi: "100% of reporting nannies should be paying taxes."****Is this CA legislation going to make that happen? What penalties are in place to deeply hurt CA employers who refuse to pay legally? How should the INA and other groups work to encourage the US and state governments to put into place severe penalties that will scare ALL employers of "domestics" (and I HATE that term!) into paying legally?And what do you suggest a domestic do if they cannot find a job whre the employer is willing to pay legally? Do they simply continue to be unemployed?

  39. Can we change our focus back onto the domestic worker and off of the parents and businesses for a minute Becky and Tales of NannyHood. Nannies are having a harder time finding well paying jobs these days because of online nanny web sites, not because of legislation or lack there of.I completely understand why a parent wants to hire a cheaper nanny. Of course, when all other things are equal, everyone will hire the at the cheaper rate. From what I have read you have already struggled with unemployment and stuggled finding a well paying job in the past Tales of NannyHood. I would turn my focus onto nanny web sites and not this essential piece of legislation. I appreciate that this newsletter has been discussing the cons and pros of this bil over the past few weeks, point-by-point.I WOULD LOVE for Becky and Tales to got point by point, post by post and discuss how these rights would hurt a domestic. Let's go back and start focusing on the domestic and off of SPECUALTION of horrible things that MIGHT be.

  40. Tales-I thought it was pretty clear I was addressing the INA's advocating for the nanny in my statement regarding paying taxes. An agency that's been around for 26 years should have a higher rate of reporting tax paying nannies in my opinion. This law does nothing towards that end and it won't. It will also not create any larger of a non-paying tax pool than exists. That's a bogus statement. It ALREADY exists and quite largely I might add. It bothers me that this point has been used by the INA to disapprove of this bill.Where would a place exist where no one pays taxes? Orange County CA? Sorry, couldn't resist. It's hugely conservative with a high volume of illegal workers who are obviously paid off the books. You want to mandate tax paying? Make the agencies MORE responsible in the oversight in this area. Have them work with ANY of the various payroll services that exist if the family doesn't have their own (and in LA, pretty much EVERYONE has an accountant of some sort, including myself). I'm certain Breedlove, Homework Solutions, GTM would be glad to work in this area. Why would an agency place someone in a position that doesn't pay taxes? I can think of only one in the LA area that during the three times I was job hunting didn't have off the book jobs. So let me ask, how is the fact that laws already exist actually work to create less abuse in CA? Why is there even a need for more regulation? Seems like a simple answer to me, but I'd like your opinion.

  41. Supportive-Stephani has brought up several times the fact that online job finding services undermine value of work. The fact that many of these sites offer jobs at $5 an hour is horrendous. Why doesn't INA and APNA set their sights on these, well, sites? You want to advocate for workers, that would be a very good place to start.They have gone through point to point. The problem is no one has said how the existing laws are being enforced which is the issue, isn't it? If employers were adhering to what already exists, we wouldn't need to fight for basic worker rights, most of which you're guaranteed the minute you don a fast-food apron at the local greasy spoon.

  42. Face it, they don't try to legislate the nanny web sites because it's hard work and they are members of the INA too. Nanny placement agencies are licensed so eventually nanny web sites could be too.

  43. It's less scary and less of a risk to attack powerless domestic workers than more powerful businesses like nanny web sites.

  44. I'm a little annoyed that Be the Best Nanny Newsletter isn't condemning INA completely and writig on blogs that you can support the bill and INA at the same time! I mean they came out AGAINST WORKERS so you can certainly come out AGAINST INA! I think you should make a list of who supports the bill and who doesn't and nannies and domestics can decide who to support or not.

  45. The labor of domestic workers is central to the ongoing prosperity that the state enjoys, and yet, despite the value of their work, domestic workers do not receive the same protection of many state laws as do workers in other industries. Domestic workers often labor under harsh conditions, work long hours for low wages without benefits or job security, are isolated in their workplaces, and are endangered by sexual harassment and assault, as well as verbal, emotional and psychological abuse. Moreover, many domestic workers are women of color who, because of race and sex discrimination, are particularly vulnerable to unfair labor practices.The legislature finds that because domestic workers care for the most important elements of their employers’ lives, their families and homes, it is in the interest of employees, employers, and the people of the state to ensure that the rights of domestic workers are respected, protected, and enforced.Domestic workers have historically been excluded from many of the traditional protections afforded by labor law. Additionally, domestic workers are not afforded by law the right to organize labor unions for the purpose of collective bargaining. Given the limited legal protections historically provided to domestic workers, and bearing in mind the unique conditions and demands of this private home-based industry, the legislature further finds that domestic workers are entitled to industry-specific protections and labor standards.

  46. We know the letter to write if you don't like the bill at the link in the article and INA's web site. Here's a letter for supporters of the bill to write:Dear Madam/Sir,I support the California Domestic Worker Bill of Rights. Domestic workers are housekeepers, nannies, and attendants for elderly and the disabled. Domestic workers are the backbone of California’s economy. By supporting the Bill of Rights, you are recognizing the generations of work that has gone unnoticed. Safe and healthy working conditions are human rights we can all stand behind.Sincerely,Find your legislature's contact info:

  47. Anon-11:44- I've been emailing assemblymen who sponsored authored and writing Ted Liue as well. In addition I'm hitting up talk show hosts and political pundits to bring attention to this issue.There's no point in bashing the INA. Either they represent you or they don't, I fall in the latter. I've long since been wary because of the high amount of non-nanny influences that's never sat well with me. Hopefully a grassroots group will rise from that truly represent a us all, not a class or race of people.

  48. Buffi: "You want to mandate tax paying? Make the agencies MORE responsible in the oversight in this area. Have them work with ANY of the various payroll services that exist if the family doesn't have their own (and in LA, pretty much EVERYONE has an accountant of some sort, including myself). I'm certain Breedlove, Homework Solutions, GTM would be glad to work in this area."***I am pretty sure that the IRS (the ones with the guns to enforce the law) is the only entity that can enforce the tax code. I think your idea of having nanny agencies act as defacto IRS subsidiaries would be workable if the following happened:1) ALL agencies nationwide, including on-line agencies were forced (sorry, "encouraged") to sign on2) Those agencies were prepared to either have an IRS employee FT or to train one of their employees to be the "enforcer" who rejected clients unwilling to pay legally.3) Parents were somehow prevented from hiring a nanny in any other way than an IRS compliant and staffed agency. How would you manage those 3 things?Buffi: "Why would an agency place someone in a position that doesn't pay taxes?" ****Because unless they want to go out of business they have to serve their clients. Unless an agency has the power of the governemtn behind them, they can not enforce tax laws. they can offer help, suggest ideas, and so on, but the employers/parents have to also be grown-up and responsible for following the law.Personally, I think the IRS needs to shut its doors and we need to pass the Fair Tax, which is a consumption tax. No more household employee paperwork, no more being paid illegally. Of course, I am sure this idea isn't going to be all that popular with the posters here, lol!

  49. Supportive: "Face it, they don't try to legislate the nanny web sites because it's hard work and they are members of the INA too. Nanny placement agencies are licensed so eventually nanny web sites could be too."****You have me at a disadvantage, since you aren't commenting under your business name and/or blogger name. Regardless, I am going to guess that you have been hit hard by the on-line agency boom. Sometimes capitalism just sucks, doesn't it? All those investors putting money into Care and Sittercity…Legislating business is called communism (or fascism, depending on a variety of factors) – not a good plan IMO. And before you ask, yes, I despise the fact that on-line agencies allow parents to advertise $5/hour jobs. I only have one suggestion on that point:Use the facebook pages of those businesses to politely ask "I am confused about your salary listings. Since the minimum wage laws apply to nannies and other household woorkers, why do you allow parents to offer $5 per hour to for those jobs?"If enough people ask that question (And are polite about it), maybe they will be shamed into changing their policies.

  50. Domestic workers lack worker protections as a result of exclusion from key federal legislation: the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 establishes the minimum wage to ensure employer wage and hourly compliance. Unfortunately, FLSA OMITS CHILD CARE WORKESRS and home health aides. More than 60 percent of child care workers in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles reported minimum wage violations according to a 2009 UCLA survey.Similarly, the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 aims to assure safe working environments for all laborers but LEAVES OUT DOMESTIC WORKERS!A San Francisco Department of Public Health report from 2010 stated that domestic workers face health risks due to adverse working conditions. Without OSHA coverage and regulation, domestic workers will continue to face hostile working environments.Granting domestic workers collective bargaining rights would amend the historical discrimination against domestic workers. The 1935 National Labor Relations Act (also known as the Wagner Act) gave workers in the private sector the ability to create labor unions and the right for collective bargaining.

  51. The AFL-CIO signed partnership agreements with the National Domestic Workers Alliance.

  52. What offends me is that a nanny attorney has called the bill "terrible" and called those who support the bill both "shortsighted" and "disgraceful" are these the people we want supporting us?

  53. Parent Here:As Professor said above: Domestic workers are excluded from national labor laws. All domestic workers need more worker protections and should not be excluded from national labor laws. After all, domestic workers are often the ones who make other work possible — without them, our economy would not function. By committing ourselves to protecting the rights of domestic workers, we are also committing ourselves to gender equality and racial justice.Learning to integrate groups of our society who have long been left out of the system for legal protections is imperative for future progress in our country.

  54. I like the article. I support what you said but you forgot two things. 1) is to support Domestic Workers United and the Domestic Workers Alliance 2) Register to Vote and VoteIn summary support your domestic workers cause:1. Support Domestic Workers United and Domestic Workers Alliance in all ways possible2. Be Paid Legally on the Books3. Register to Vote and Vote!4. Further Your Training and Educaton

  55. Why don't you do some investigative reporting? Find out what businesses support or oppose the bill so we can choose to patronize their business or not? Did you poll the Board of INA to see if the few liberals on the Board might not have known what they were doing when they opposed the bill? Have you asked all members of APNA if they oppose domestic workers rights?Sadly, most nannies aren't going to ever know about this bill. In reality nannies are passive, scared, too tired and overworked to care.

  56. Labor right acts have historically helped workers gain a stronger voice so that they can get a fair share of the economic growth they help create. It is and has always been important to making the economy work for all Americans. And workers rights laws only become more important as the economy worsens.One of the primary reasons why our current recession endures is that workers do not have the purchasing power they need to drive our economy. Even when times were relatively good, workers were getting squeezed. These laws have historically reduced wage inequality because they raise wages more for low- and middle-wage workers than for higher-wage workers and those who don't have a college degree — like most domestic workers.What is sustainable is an economy where workers are adequately rewarded and have the income they need to purchase goods vital to our national economy.

  57. Labor laws are a good thing. they are a win, win, win situation!Despite there being hundreds of illegals there are also hundreds of legally paid domestics. For legally paying domestics they will be protected. I think passing this law may encourage many illegally paid american citizens to reconsider and insist on being paid legally so that they will be able to get unemployment, disabiltiy, severance, and paid holiday and sick days in the future. That's good for the national economy (more tax payers) and happier domestic workers. That's a good thing for employers too. They prefer happy employees. It only makes sense that parents want happy employees caring for their kids and their homes.Once passed as law, websites can promote the new law, agency staff will inform nanny candidates and parents of the new law, overall making a better working environment and relationship for everyone.

  58. The domestic worker has little rights now. Even if the employer dismisses the nanny for reasons that are illegal, such as race, the nanny would have a very hard time proving it in court. The employer can cut the pay, and/or make outrageous schedules and it is their right to do so. This is why the legislation is key.

  59. Why is everybody ignoring the bulk of the article which emphasizes paying taxes, gaining training and furthering education and certificaton, and workers who consider themselves more than just babysitters. I didn't see the "International Nanny Association" even written in the article! I'm confused how it shifted to a discussion about an organization not mentioned instead of the facts of the article that the legislation, education of nannies, paying legally and not settling and being helpless will help nannies, parents and children.How am I missing, or how is everyone else missing what I'm reading? ???Linda ThompsonMadison WI

  60. The thing is that every single person who has commented aren't the people this bill is intended t help. The people it would help don't likely even have computers or know about this bill at all. So I think it's kind of hard for the people who oppose it to imagine the reality of not having a computer, cell phone, car, extra spending cash, or even living in poverty.

  61. It is sad that we have to make laws to make people treat others with dignity, respect and a living wage.

  62. I am an INA member and I subscribe to this newsletter and will continue supporting both. But as I read comments on this blog I am confused as to why so many nannies are mad at the INA. Even this article isn't angry at the INA. This article doesn't even include the INA name in it! The author commented too above in comments that she's still a member that supports INA!!!The article just says it doesn't think there will be the same "gloom and doom" outcome as those who oppose the bill.If nannies would calm down and reread the article they would see this is not against INA. I'm not sure how it turned into anything against INA.The article also explains why if it becomes law still might be effective! The message is that if nannies don't pay taxes, get an education, and get a certification process for nannies in America the legislation is worthless! You guys didn't read that part?! Did Becky of INA read that part?Did I miss something because it doesn't sound angry? From this sentence down: "After all, unless there is societal recognition and acceptance of the need and importance of nannies, no amount of legislature will prove useful to the profession." It's explaining if nannies accept to be treated as they are now, the law won't even matter!! Just reread the rest of the article. "…how can we expect compliance with these worker rights laws, even if they are enacted? After all, unless there is societal recognition and acceptance of the need and importance of nannies, no amount of legislature will prove useful to the profession.If nannies are satisfied to be glorified babysitters, they can only expect to be compensated at a lower level than her better educated and more ambitious caregiver.All workers deserve all the rights listed in the CDWBR, but the lesser trained employee may find the employer resistant to offer all the benefits needed.A value-added nanny is one who is trained in child development, behavioral psychology, tutoring, child safety, CPR and First Aid, nutrition, etiquette, and hygiene of their charges. This well-educated nanny is more valuable to the child, the parents, and to herself. She has made the commitment to herself and to her profession to make being a nanny a career, not just a job.To that end, I urge that we work to create licensing and the certification of nannies. The required education could be obtained from a variety of sources. Non-profit associations, public colleges, or private schools can be widely available sources of education, training, certification, or licensure."How is that anger towards the INA???Katie

  63. Buffi- more power to you- good luck – nannies are lucky to have you on our side.If this bill is going to be passed- it's going to be up to nannies. so if you are FOR the new bill- please take the time to send the sample letter that was posted above.Because Who else can truely understand the importance of the bill? So it's KEY that nannies write in and let them know we support the bill!Regarding families just using household tax services. The big three- charge about $1,000 per year- something that scares families away even more.(Not saying these payroll companies don't deserve to be paid for their services- but if nanny related expenses are the main factor- a family is NOT going to invest even more in using a nanny payroll company.)However- there are tax breaks for families when they pay legally.Should there be even more tax breaks? I say- YES!On that end..does anyone know-What ever happend to the INA letter lobbying the government about trying to have the government let families pay their nannies salary with pre-tax dollars?Thanks everyone- this has been a very eye opening debate! Don't forget~Please send your letters now!

  64. Katie, to answer your quesion why I am not supporting INA (and APNA) is because I personally can make up my own mind and I don't need anyone to sway my opinion. It was made up way before this opinion article on this blog was ever posted!To answer your question, the readers of this newsletter can also develop their own opinions!!! No one needs to support what Stephanie wrote or not, we are all individuals. INA is supporting the parents and businesses that are their members and not considering the extremely poor workers that fuel their businesses and allow their parent clients to work. Honestly, the nanny members of INA are not likely the same workers this legislation protects. I doubt very much those reading this or joining the INA are the same as those who will benefit from this legislation. The nanny INA Board members and the nannies reading this newsletter are probably the same best nannies in the profession and probably are living quite comfortable financial lives. How else would they have time to voluntter so much time to reading this or being an active member of an organization. The nannies reading this and that are members of INA are probably choosing to be nannies, while most nannies are stuck in their careers living paycheck to paycheck – if they are lucky.I sound angry towards APNA and INA because they chose to oppose the bill publically. It doesn't matter that the author of this article chooses to support INA APNA still or not. She can be a member of INA but I don't have to be. INA and APNA are responsible for saying what they say, not this article. They made their own bed when they chose to oppose the bill.This article didn't make up my mind, the organizations did! I don't have to support anything any author says. I agree with some of what Stephanie wrote but not everything. If she likes the INA that's her choice! It doesn't mean I have to. That's my answer to Katie's question!

  65. Please note that all comments that I make below any article always include both the newsletter name "Best Nanny Newsletter," with a link to my blogger profile for Stephanie Felzenberg, and my photo in them.


  67. I haven't hidden the fact that I hate Obama, I am a PROUD conservative Republican. I am IN SUPPORT of this Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. I am sad not one Republican Senator in CA supported this bill. I have written in SUPPORT of the bill to Senator Ted Lieu. I am proof we aren't ALL just following our political party.

  68. The "big picture" is everything is fine in NY after passing a similar bill.

  69. I am glad you spent many days discussing both the pros and cons of each part of the bill. You discussed both sides before coming out with your opinion. I hope everyone (even opposers) read all the posts before making an opinion.

  70. Its good to read this, sounds like you aren't really sure if legislation will work either Steph since you mention all else domestics need to do or laws don't matter anyway.

  71. If this bill is passed into law I predict housekeepers and nannies will have a better chance of doing better, being more respected in society as a whole which makes them happier which will make them better caregivers which makes kids happier which makes parents happier.In history of America laws help protect workers. They helped women, blacks, children and unions helped teahcers, factory workesrs, so now why not domestics!?

  72. If this bill is passed into law I predict housekeepers and nannies will have a better chance of doing better, being more respected in society as a whole which makes them happier which will make them better caregivers which makes kids happier which makes parents happier.In history of America laws help protect workers. They helped women, blacks, children and unions helped teahcers, factory workesrs, so now why not domestics!?

  73. Great points I will be sharing with other local parents.

  74. I actually think legislation of this sort in other states would help the nannies on the board of INA and even those nannies at the highest level. In CA, salary is defined to 40 hours. Anything over that is supposed to be overtime, yet I know no one who gets actual time and a half. A group like the INA who has to have basic worker rights written into contracts/work agreements is missing the point entirely. We're all deserving of basic worker rights just because we're human.

  75. I am getting sick of nannies insisting that we must advocate for ourselves. As if it is OUR FAULT when parents don't offer good pay or benefits!!! All those who oppose the bill keep saying we have to negotiate for ourselves and not accept bad jobs. The problem isn't us! STOP BLAMING THE VICTIM!

  76. If you want to REALLY blame someone for poor paying jobs..blame many of the Nanny Agnecies! since many times it's the agencies that families look to when setting the guidelines. They are the ones that keep accepting families as clients who pay poorly. Case in point- I told the agency I want to earn at least $700-$850 per week. They call and say we have a family with newborn twins and one toddler who is paying $700 per week who needs someone from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mon-Friday. I tell them- that is not good pay. They say, but you said you would take $700. I said yes, but not for 60 hours! That comes to $11.66 per hour- and that is not even with any type of OT- which they should be paying…since they need 20 hour of it!Bottom line ladies..if we want to see any positive change in the nanny world…it's only going to happen, because of nannies.'Did you all write those letters?

  77. Why is Carolyn S a nurse and teacher and the INA Gov Affairs Chair to make these huge decisions for the INA? What does she know about working as a live-in domestic? Especially one of the 99% Carribean or Latino nannies working domestics in this country? How can she know whether this legislation is good for us or not? I'm just saying….. the wrong people making the wrong choices…for us

  78. Hey Anonymous blaming nanny agencies:It comes down to the parents what they will pay or not pay.

  79. Debbie, I agree with you that it's the parents that actually pay the workers so they are the ones choosing to pay well or not. But, it's also true only nanny agencies teach parents about hiring nannies. If you really think it's the nanny agencies fault, more reason to pass this bill.

  80. It's sad that organizations with domestic workers as members don't suppor the bill, that's why we must! I think it may be time for an union just for nannies. Is anyone a member of Domestic Workers United? Maybe that's the first step?People always complain when there is change. We just need to keep working towards better working conditions despite those who complain. Agencies will always protect their clients the parents before the nanny! INA is thinking of the agencies not the nannies.

  81. Dear Senator Lieu and Members of the Labor Committee:I am urging you to support AB 889, California Domestic Worker Bill of Rights. This bill reflects the unique conditions and demands of this vital industry. It clarifies employers’ obligations and ends the longstanding, unfair exclusion of domestic workers from labor protections. This bill seeks to provide domestic workers with equal labor rights and industry-wide standards so that they can provide quality care to the individuals and homes with which they are entrusted.Domestic workers are the backbone of the economy yet they have been excluded from basic labor protections. At least 200,000 of California’s domestic workers comprised of housekeepers, nannies, and caregivers for children, the elderly, and the disabled, work in private households to care for the health, safety and well-being of many Californians’ families and homes. The current laws and exclusions are complex, leaving employers and workers without any clear guidelines and unwittingly exposing well-meaning employers to liability. In some cases, the current law completely exempts all domestic workers and in other cases, it excludes some domestic workers or requires domestic workers to meet an eligibility requirement.Without clear industry standards, the quality of care and stability of the domestic service industry suffers. Workers and those they care for are harmed when well-intentioned employers have no guidance on how to be good employers. And without industry standards, bad-apple employers will do as they please, leaving domestic workers uniquely vulnerable to harm. Domestic workers often work long hours, sometimes around the clock, for wages that do not sustain their families. A lack of standards can lead to sickness or injury caused by exhaustion. We need to protect these vital, but vulnerable workers.AB 889 simplifies the law and provides uniform protection to all domestic workers. We believe this uniformity will increase the quality of care and standardize the industry.CC: Alex PadillaLeland YeeMark DeSaulnierMark LenoTed LieuCalifornia State SenateFax:(916) 323-6056Mark LenoCalifornia State SenateLeland YeeCalifornia State SenateMark DeSaulnierCalifornia State SenateAlex PadillaCalifornia State Senate

  82. I am upset that INA and APNA don't suppor the bill and are making this publicized. I am upste about the INA letter asking for opposition to the bill. They are an agency association misnamed as a nanny organization.

  83. I am a Republican and I support this bill. To say regulation is harmful is not looking at the big picture. That's a narrow view in this situation. Sometimes you have to look beyond your party affiliation and do what's best for you and your fellow workers.

  84. I have learned from this blog (and others) that employers (parents) that already refuse to pay their domestic help (nannies) legally on-the-books or to pay them fair market rates (such as at least minimum wage) won't do so without laws. Face it, if they haven't done it yet, so we have to make sure they do legally. People argued against the civil rights act much more than they argue this bill and who would say civil rights aren't needed or that legislation was bad?These fair basic workers rights will make happier employees which makes happier parents and the children too. Arguments against further regulation being dangerous is just fear not based in any facts. Clearly we can't be treated any worse, workers rights laws can only help us.

  85. This legislation is ridiculous! It does NOT address the real concerns of Domestic Workers. It only hurts the Personal Care Attendants and the Elderly that they serve! If Domestic Workers need more rights…fine…but do NOT punish others in the process. this law will cause Elderly to hire direct off craig's list for help and is very very dangerous for our state. For more comments..please feel free to contact me @ roni Mayben…Heritage Senior Care, Inc. Care Mangager and Senior Advocate@

  86. Elder care also differs from the job nannies do too. The bill has already passed through the Senate Labor Committee on July 6th. Typically the most scrutiny occurs in the committee. It is essentially a done deal.As I've read by others, dire predictions really are just that, predictions. I think the fact that New York has survived such a law being passed already unscathed is a pretty good indicator that there won't be harm by passing this bill.And frankly, it only will help LEGAL workers. For domestic workers, maybe 15% are legal citizens and are paid legally on the table. Anyone illegall won't benefit from this legislature anyway.

  87. When some nannies are paid less it hurts all nannies. It brings down the average pay for all of us. When one nanny is mistreated it hurts all nannies. It allows another employer to think all nannies can be mistreated.

  88. This is all very interesting stuff! I only know a few nannies who pay their taxes, I am one of them. I thought only 10% of nannies at the very most would report their taxes. You may want to edit articles like this first if you would like to be taken seriously by all and fight for nannies. I think you mean 'fewer' taxes not 'less' taxes. This is incorrect English. For us to be taken seriously, we must show that we are an educated, enthusiastic and careful.

  89. Dear Anonymous,If you wanted to be taken seriously why are you hiding behind your comments anonymously. I think all of the nannies who commented above are intelligent and worth listening too. I do not support this bill but you will gain more support if you are nice. Anger doesn't win anything! At least this blog allows anyone to express their opinion. But they should delete "flamers" meaning they should delete anyone who is mean to anyone else like you! I'm sorry they have been a positive forum for nannies for a long time so I don't want them criticized when they allow us all to express our opinions!!!

  90. Anonymous I don't know if you know but if you subscribe to message thread you have commented on future comments land in your email. I read your comment this morning in my email box and must say I have found everyone to be very passionate but not attacking one another personally. If you want to be taken seriously you won't make angry comments that mean NOTHING. Using a thesaurus won't change anyone's opinions on this topic.I agree with Sharyn that this is one of the only (if not only) spots online to openly debate nanny topics. No one else is doing it. Both arguments are fair. You can't be taken seriously if you just spew anger. Your grammar was less than perfect too.

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