A significant percentage of nannies in Park Slope are not being paid overtime, which is against state law according to the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights.
On any given day in the neighborhood, you can see nannies pushing babies in strollers, or holding a kid’s hand while crossing the street. But, what may not be so apparent is that 44 percent of the area’s caretakers are not being paid overtime.
According to the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, which was made state law in 2010, caretakers must be paid time-and-a-half after working more than 40 hours in a week.
The law also requires that nannies get three paid days off each year after 12 months of work for the same employer. It also mandates that domestic employees get 24 hours rest after every seven days of work, or get paid overtime if they work that day.
Priscilla Gonzalez, the executive director of Domestic Workers United, said that although there are other neighborhoods that have higher percentages of nannies’ rights abuse than Park Slope, 44 percent is too great of a number and that is why they are taking action here.
“Historically, Park Slope families are supportive of issues of fairness and equity,” Gonzalez told Patch. “We believe this is not only a contradiction, but that Park Slope families can and want to do better.”
DWU, an organization that supports domestic employees, has started a re-education campaign in the Slope on the domestic workers’ bill of rights, as The Daily News first reported.
On Tuesday, they launched their program at and announced a website and hotline number for nannies who want support in getting fair pay and other tools and resources.
“There needs to be direct communication about the employment relationship so workers get what they need to assert their rights on the job and so employers are supported to comply with the law,” Gonzalez said.
And with 4,000 caretakers employed in the neighborhood, DWU thinks that the area can be a leader in treating nannies according to the law.
The Park Slope Parents survey also found that 15 percent of nannies who work more than 40 hours a week receive overtime pay at time-and-a-half or more.
In terms of time off, the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights requires professional babysitters to have three paid days off per year (after working for a year).
The survey found that on average, nannies get 11.27 paid days off per year, which includes sick, vacation and personal days. Babysitters on average get 3.8 paid sick days, 10.9 paid vacation days and 1.9 paid personal days.
Susan Fox, the founder of Park Slope Parents, said that as a whole the neighborhood’s employers do treat their nannies well.
“In most ways Park Slope employers are really doing things right. Nannies get many more days off than the law [requires],” she wrote to Patch in an E-mail.
The survey also found that 79 percent of employers pay their nanny the regular salary if the family goes on vacation without them. However, 11 percent don’t pay their babysitters when they are on vacation.
Fox also said that nannies in the neighborhood get paid well.
“The majority make more than double minimum wage—exceeding the tenets of the Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights,” Fox wrote.
On average, the survey found that nannies who take care of one child get paid $14.22 per hour. A sitter that watches two children make $15.96 per hour and for three children they receive $16.32.
Most caretakers who spoke with Patch said that they do get paid overtime and are treated well financially overall.
A nanny who was pushing a three-year-old in a stroller on Eighth Avenue said that before she started working she “bargained” for overtime and two weeks paid vacation.
“This is a real job and your employer needs to respect you,” the nanny said, who would not give her name. “I bargained for time-and-a-half after 40 hours a week and they pay me for two weeks vacation. They also do my taxes, give me a nice Christmas bonus and pay me for holidays.”
But she said that the relationship is a two-way street.
“They need to know that when they come home their child is in tact, not sick and not missing a leg,” she said, who has 25 years experience rearing children. “I go to the park with them and some nannies are talking on their cellphone while the kid is playing. I never do that. What if they get hurt and you’re not paying attention? I get paid well because I do a great job. I consider their kid to be my own.”
Gonzalez said that there are a big number of nannies in Park Slope who work without a contract and this can pose a problem in the relationship between employee and employer.
Park Slope Parents’ survey showed that 61 percent of families do not have a written agreement.
“This industry has been historically informal,” Gonzalez explained. “But contracts are really important to ensure transparency and clarity of expectations for both parties.”
However, Stacy Gorelick, who is a mother of two in Park Slope, said she wrote a contract for her babysitter, which described pay rate, overtime and vacation days.
“Being a nanny is like any other job and they are only bringing in a certain amount of money each week, so they need a guarantee from their employer,” Gorelick explained.
Gonzalez said that they did not pick Park Slope for their campaign because they believe it is failing miserably in treating their domestic workers, but rather because they see it as a good jumping off point.
“We believe Park Slope can lead the way for other neighborhoods where there are greater rates of exploitation and abuse,” she said. “In a community that prides itself in fairness and justice, that’s where we have to start to create equity and fairness for domestic work.”