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The invisible world of domestic work: Report documents abuses
Domestic workers in the United States often work in tough conditions and for little pay, according to a new report.
November 27th, 2012
07:07 PM ET

The invisible world of domestic work: Report documents abuses

By Moni Basu, CNN

(CNN) – Anna worked seven days a week as a nanny for the family of a Fortune 500 company executive. She lived with them in their 5th Avenue apartment in Midtown Manhattan. Her day began at 6 when the children woke up and didn't end until 10 at night when she put them to bed and cleaned the kitchen.

She cooked meals, did laundry and tended to the children's needs. She slept on the floor in between their beds. She did not have a single day off in 15 months.

She was hired because of the child development skills she learned as a teacher in her native Philippines. Yet she earned just $1.27 an hour.

Anna's story, documented in a groundbreaking statistical report on U.S. domestic workers released Tuesday, is not uncommon. It said Anna was part of a system of invisible workers - mostly women, mostly minorities and increasingly immigrant - who enable many Americans to function in their own lives.

Nannies, house cleaners and caregivers play a central role in the U.S. economy, the report said, but hidden from public view, they are not compensated adequately and are often abused.

It found that low pay was a systemic problem in the domestic work industry - 23% of domestic workers are paid below the state minimum wage – and few receive any benefits such as health insurance or paid sick days. For live-in workers who are closest to their employers, the situation is worse - 67 % of them are paid below minimum wage.

The Fair Labor Standards Act, which guarantees minimum wage, overtime and sick and vacation pay, does not apply to domestic workers.

"Home Economics: The Invisible and Unregulated World of Domestic Work" documents serious and widespread mistreatment of domestic workers in the United States, said Ai-jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, which helped conduct the research.

Poo said she found it devastating and painful that such a huge percentage of domestic workers make less than minimum wage.

"The upshot is that the workers that we have to take care of our families and homes don't earn enough," she said. "They work in extremely unpredictable and vulnerable conditions. And that's not good for anyone."

Domestic work in America carries the legacy of slavery with its divisions of labor along lines of race and gender, the report said.

The problems also stem from a history of women's work being devalued, said the report's co-author Nik Theodore, an assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

"It's often not regarded as work," he said.

It's not far-fetched to liken some situations to modern-day slavery where workers are isolated in people's homes, coerced into back-breaking labor, Theodore said.

"Working behind closed doors, beyond the reach of personnel policies, and often without employment contracts, they are subject to the whims of their employers," the report said. "Domestic workers often face issues in their work environment alone, without the benefit of co-workers who could lend a sympathetic ear.

What distinguishes domestic workers from others is their personal relationship with their employers, making the abuses all the more baffling, the report said.

Hailed as the first of its kind, the survey was based on interviews with 2,086 domestic workers from 71 countries in 14 metropolitan areas across the United States. It was funded by the Ford Foundation, the Open Society Foundations and the Alexander Soros Foundation.

Poo said now that the data is finally available, policy changes need to happen.

The number of domestic workers in the United States increased in the past few years to 726,437, according to the U.S. Census, though Tuesday's report suggested that number was far higher since the Census Bureau does not take into account workers placed by agencies or those who work for private cleaning companies such as Merry Maids. Undocumented workers are also probably undercounted in the census.

"Both U.S.-born and immigrant domestic workers, predominately women of color, work in an array of circumstances," the report said.

"A few staff the homes of the terrifically wealthy, serving the 1% in homegrown, contemporary versions of 'Upstairs/Downstairs' and 'Downton Abbey.' Many, many more work in the homes of busy, middle-class professionals who have sufficient income and wealth to hire help to do the chores that would otherwise consume their limited time."

Others assist people of lesser incomes, stopping in to clean or help an elderly person with chores.

But many domestic workers struggle to take care of their own families, the report said. It found that 60% of domestic workers in America spend more than half their income on rent or mortgage payments; 20% said there were times in the month before they were interviewed that there was no food to eat in their homes.

Live-in workers earned less than those who did not, the report said.  Live-in nannies earned a median wage of $6.76 an hour compared with $11.55 for those who lived elsewhere. Live-in caregivers made $7.69 an hour while others made $10.

The survey found that 65% of domestic workers have no health insurance, and less than 9% work for employers who pay into Social Security.

The report recommends policies that rectify the exclusion of domestic workers from employment and labor laws. Theodore said nannies, house cleaners and caregivers ought to earn minimum wage and be offered benefits. And they deserve a safe and healthy working environment.

Theodore, who co-wrote the report with Linda Burnham of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, said even he was surprised at the depth and breadth of abuse of domestic workers. He interviewed Anna, who since then has left her employer, and spoke with many others in her situation. One woman even told him her employer pulled a knife on her.

It's the kind of thing you hear about in other nations but few think of this kind of thing happening in America.

It raises questions about immigration and the economy, Theodore said. "It speaks to how we as a society are going to care for our children and elderly."

Posted by
Filed under: Discrimination • Economy • How we live • Immigration • Poverty • Women
soundoff (500 Responses)
  1. Burton

    Wow. People who call themselves Americans justifying slavery. This is possibly the most pathetic discussion forum I have ever seen. Many of you should be ashamed of yourselves.

    December 1, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • SirQL8

      Stupid Americans, with NAFTA and the global free trade you so earnestly persue, what did you expect, $10-16 hr? LMFAO, Bahahaha, and it's too late to change it. Sioux City for you !

      December 1, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • IndianaGreg

      Slavery? Are you freaking serious? You're forgetting what is one of the main components of Slavery...the fact that the workers are held against their will, and were beaten, tortured, and/or killed if they tried to leave their jobs. Your comment is almost as offensive as it is ignorant to plight many peoples ancestors who WERE slaves, who were bought and sold like Livestock. You ought to be ashamed of yourself!

      December 1, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jim Weix

    Unfortunately Jessica there are also many who will take advantage of people. They are predators that need to see the inside of a prison cell, but that won't happen.
    Just as the Big Bank execs avoid prison, it is only the little people, like realtors and mortgage brokers that go to prison.

    December 1, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • withkids

      But, Jim, these ladies are chosing to work in these conditions! They CAN walk away. They don't have to, say, murder the kids when they're not happy with their salary. How 'bout quitting, and finding a better employer.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. letsberational

    And your point being? There still are thousands of those that are being abused.

    December 1, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ann

    This is nuts and I have to wonder if this is common. I pay my nanny $18 an hour. I offered $15 but she requested more. She does not have to do anything but keep my one (infant) child safe and interact with her in a positive, caring manner. Aside from that she will do small things like add diapers from the box to the changing table, empty or load her bottles into the dishwaher or clean up the toys the are playing with, but that's it. NOTHING else. When I asked the nannies around here what is fair pay NONE had any problem saying $15 an hour and they meant off the books. I pay on the books. They all said if it's on the books I need to pay more. Some even said that is not enough, which to me is absurd. I know early childhood teachers with masters degrees running classrooms who make about that amount. I am located right outside of NYC. Also, I am not saying that this is too much money for a really good, experienced nanny. I am just saying that in my experience the nannies in my area are quite assertive that this is what they should be paid for their work.

    December 1, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vance

      If all she has to do is take care of your 18 month old daughter, why cant you do it? Why have a nanny?

      December 1, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
      • Vance

        Not to mention that you live in New York. 18.00 an hour ain't much in that city for doing something you should be doing in the first place.

        December 1, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • lucky

      I'm glad my parents were around and raised me instead of some stranger. We didn't have a lot of money but I bet we have way more memories than you wish you could buy.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim Weix

      You are an honest employer. Unfortunately there are many predators out there. The cash vs reportable income is not uncommon issue. Along with a huge underground cash economy, many people no longer use banks, as creditors and the government can steal your money from them.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Hmm. All that she has too is keep your most precious thing in your life safe. I suppose your child's safety isn't worth 18 dollars an hour. Your right your child is probably not worth it.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ann

      Wow....there are a lot of incredibly bitter, angry people on here. First of all, I work part time because I have to. I have worked full-time my entire adult life up until having this baby. I am not eating bonbons. I also believe in paying people a fair wage. I was just pointing out that the nannies around here who I talked to when I was hiring were very clear that $15 is the fair amount, AFTER taxes or off the books, so I find it shocking that people are paying so much less. They are wrong to do that. I just find it almost unbelievable, but realize that does not mean it's not true. Also, more than half of my salary after taxes goes to the nanny. But I'd rather have a nanny while my child is so young than send her to a childcare program, bc I want her to have 1:1 attention and a relationship with her nanny. I can't stay home completely bc if I get out of the workforce I may never get back in. When I said "all she has to do is keep my child safe and interact with her in a positive caring manner", I meant I am not asking her to clean or do laundry or anything like that. I only ask her to do things that directly relate to the care of my child while she is there. I think I pay a good amount, but I also think my nanny is worth it. I think that this article makes it seem like all people who afford a nanny are wanting to pay them a dollar an hour and in my experience that is total nonsense. They are all making between $14-18 in my area. I asked around. I am sure the angry bitter people will want to rip me a new one for something in here too.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. nelson

    DC actually has their own laws, and they may be through an agency.

    The point is there is no national law protecting these workers. The overwhelming majority do not make 15-20 bucks an hour. Look at the damned report if you're wondering where they got their numbers from.

    December 1, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • withkids

      The DC area also includes Maryland and Virginia (look at a map). And no, they're not from any agency. THAT'S THE GOING RATE HERE, and in MANY other areas!

      December 1, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Turley

    Don't know where they got the stats from !
    Live in Houston, TX can't get any Nanny to take care of our 3 year old less than $ 10.00 per hour. That too they want it as cash. I'm sure they collect benefits and use this on the side. Plus they eat, dine and rest with our toddler. Probably they are referring to diplomats who bring their help from overseas ? Countless Moms across the country are leaving their full time jobs because they can't afford nannies or child care and on top of it the care sucks !!. CNN please interview and validate this. Majority of the people who work as Nannies pretend they love kids but it is a job of last resort and they are collecting benefits and food stamps on the side. Please check http://www.care.com and ascertain the picture yourself.

    December 1, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
  7. JoAnn

    I'm a licensed foster parent and $1.27 per hour would be a substantial raise for me! Our society does not value its children enough – look at how we pay daycare workers, teachers, etc.

    December 1, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jim Weix

    But most that aren't a Harvard Grad can spell better than you.

    December 1, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Me

    My grandparents had a live in maid due to my grandmother's health problems. Her job was to keep the house tidy and help my grandmother with the dishes. She worked regular hours, was paid a fair wage, she got two days a week off, and vacation time to visit her family. She had the largest room in the house aside from the master bedroom, and she was with the family for many years until she retired. Years later, when she fell ill, my grandparents visited her in the hospital. How difficult is it to treat a person like a human being?

    December 1, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jason

    I agree with you. I live in NYC and have a nanny. They make at the very minimum $12/hour, but most make $15/hour plus usually in cash. They also also talk to each other and know how much each other makes.

    December 1, 2012 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jim Weix

    Does ANYONE now understand why Mitt lost?
    Does ANYONE understand why most people could care less if the rich are taxed more?
    EVERYONE should understand why the 99% hate the 1%.
    Most of them got rich by cheating and taking advantage of people.

    December 1, 2012 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Susan

      This is exactly what democrats want you to believe and think. I am a bit jealous of what my millionaire boss makes. But i am glad smart guys like him started the company. I make a good wage and have a good job. If we wage class warfare the the lower of us will just fall lower on the scale. I want everyone to make more and succeed. The more my boss makes the more opportunity I get to make more.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
      • No

        Real class warfare will result in the rich hanging dead from the trees. I bet millions of poor people would be satisfied with that result and could not care less what the economic implications are.

        December 1, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jim Weix

        As a "boss", employer, and owner of a business, I think that some of what you say is true. Unfortunately not all business people are honest or caring.

        December 1, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • JohnDavid

      Really, most of them got there by cheating?

      I can tell you how Romney didn't get elected, because people like me voted for obama. Yet I don't feel that Obama has what is needed for this country, he was just the lesser evil of the two politicians to vote for.

      This year my family will have nearly $300,000 dollars income, am I rich? I guess i got there by ripping other people off, right?

      December 1, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  12. JeffinIL

    $1.27/hr? I never knew I could afford a nanny.

    December 1, 2012 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
  13. tumkur

    This is interesting. I had a nanny for 450$ a week in 2002/2003. i got her a lot of gifts and took care of her well. But she constantly came late and started leaving early because I was nice to her. I paid her when I was away for a month. But when I came back she knew I was desperate and wanted 550 a week. When I asked her if she'll come and clean the house. She said that would be $100 for 2 hrs. I was susprised...it was more than what I was making in what I thought was a very stressful job. I decided to not have a nanny or maid and have been managing on my own for 10yrs now.

    December 1, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Joe

    you work for what you agree to work for, or you find another job. Its as simple as that. if someone wants to work for $2 and hour, good for them

    December 1, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marie

      The issue is that many times they are promised way more money. THen they are promised to get the money next month...and so on.

      December 1, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
      • Marie

        Then try to realize that not everybody wants to sue their employer. It could literally ruin their future as a nanny – no recommendation or references. These people look for people with certain personality, submissive...ones they can abuse. Just because you or I would not take that s**t doesn't mean that other people know how to take care of legal stuff or know their options.

        December 1, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • guitarken

      Joe – quit and sue? Now you are showing that you don't have a grasp of the real world. Realistically, in our system you need a lawyer to sue. Surely you understand that few of these domestic workers would be able to afford a lawyer or even to take the time to research how to sue on their own, which is usually a losing proposition, and always one when you are facing someone who can afford a lawyer.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
      • withkids

        I don't see anything about any lawsuit in the post. Did you imagine it?

        December 1, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Taylor

    How is this a battle of rich versus poor? Its a simple economics lesson of supply and demand. There is a labor market and where the lines intersect you get the number of nannies and the prices they get paid. If you artificially raise the wage, then a whole bunch of nannies will be out of work when it no longer makes economic sense to keep a nanny in the house at that price. And this whole thing about live in nannies getting paid less, well lets think about it, they get to live there and I bet get to eat the food too. Its not just about the cash they get paid but the fringe benefits associated.

    December 1, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yep

      You're right. All the poor people on this planet need to stop working. No workers, no supply. I would love to see a global strike and watch the markets collapse. Forget violent revolution. Crashing the system would be much better. As hard as it is for the elitists to imagine, most of their jobs are not required for our way of life. Seriously does this planet need people like derivative traders or futures speculators fleecing from the bottom of the pyramid? Absolutely not. The backbone of this country needs to chop off the top of the pyramid.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  16. blogo

    Since they are officially unemployed and homeless, they probably collect welfare and food stamps.

    December 1, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • withkids

      This is true! Interesting.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Jules

    OK, I know this happens and people are foolish enough to let themselves be taken advantage of, however, I know a lot of women who use live in nannies and they all do the same thing: pay a decent wage that takes into consideration the following: the women get their own room, use of their own car, a cell phone, health insurance and they pay taxes and social security. The women have set hours and get days off and vacations. They are generally considered a part of the family and well respected. Just because some rich dirtbags take advantage fools, don't paint everyone with that brush, please.

    December 1, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yes It's Slavery

      I have friends who hire nannies. They are treated well. It is unfair for my friends who are decent people who do the right things versus the example cited here.

      December 1, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
  18. joey

    She must have bought that Coach purse with taxpayer money? Eh, probably a knockoff.

    December 1, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  19. MIJohn

    Disgusting.

    Just another example of why the rich should be in kept in cages. They have over half the money in the US, so much that most of it sits idle, yet think nothing of short-changing the person who makes it possible for them to live like they do. If someone is that greedy that they can't pay bloody minimum wage for a job that runs longer than more nurses shifts.

    December 1, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • JohnDavid

      There have been a number of people who think like you throughout history.

      Hitler, Nero, Trotsky to name a few.

      December 1, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
  20. blogo

    I wonder how many of these female workers do "domestic" work for the husbands on the side (Schwarzenegger comes to mind). Probably for a lot more than $2.00/hour.

    December 1, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
  21. pl

    How am I going to retire comfortably paying $1.25 hr..$1.00 is the going rate in my neighborhood. I live close to Mitt Romney.

    December 1, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  22. what?

    By your dumb logic going to college and getting a degree in anything other than business is a bad career decision.

    Early childhood education workers, who have a college degree and can't get into the public school system often get paid $9-10/hr if they are LUCKY working for a day care center. Good thing they wanted to give back and work with kids, why bother when they aren't valued by idiots like you or paid even a living wage!

    December 1, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Sky

    Irrelevant. There is clearly demand for the work being done, which does not make it a bad career path. Unfair wages doesn't make the career bad, it makes the employer bad.

    December 1, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Sky

    It misses the larger point. Saying that they get free room as a calculation of their wage means squat if it comes to a situation that they can't stay there anymore. What if the family decides that the nanny is no longer needed? Does the nanny get severance? Likely not. In that case, let's hope that the dirt wages that the nanny earned somehow saved up enough to allow her to go out and get a place to live until she can find more work. In between feeding herself (food being included isn't always a given) and cloth herself (oh yeah, because nannies typically have to provide their own clothing). In fact, nannies pretty much have the same kind of setup as the old factory workers who had to buy everything from the company store. You work to support yourself to keep yourself in a job, and if you lose that job or leave, well you're on your own but your wages were set up to keep you there, not to allow you mobility.

    December 1, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Jim

    For starters, lets go after the employers for their share of the Social Security owed for their nannies.

    December 1, 2012 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Jv

    I bet tomorrow morning you'll be feeling all sanctimonious, listening to the sermon. Maybe you should find the definition of the word empathy

    December 1, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
  27. tony

    The greedy, selfish, 1% , will screw anyone they can. And they NEVER EVER create American, good paying jobs with those obscene tax breaks they whine for..

    December 1, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • bjeff68

      Yeah that sounds like a well reasoned and well researched "position". If you want to take a look at who's whining, fin a mirror!

      December 1, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shane

      wow... another loser jealous of the 1%... do better in your own life and stop worrying about what others who succeed are doing!

      December 1, 2012 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Disgusting.

    People who make comments like you make me hate everything about the culture of this country. Disgusting. "LOL THEY CHOSE A BAD CAREER PATH, THEY TOTALLY DESERVE A DOLLAR AN HOUR." Because anyone deserves a dollar an hour for the work they do. How does that make any sense? Oh wait, it doesn't.

    I long for the day when people like you are put into a place of economic hardship by the choices you've made in your life. And when you try to get the rights you deserve as a human being, and the rules in place for minimum wage, when you are told, "You made a bad choice, now you're being disadvantaged by our economic system. Suffer the consequences and suck it up." ... I will be standing there, laughing, sucking up the sweet tangy angst from your salty tears.

    December 1, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
  29. biglio

    For all the people complaining that minimum wage and no boarding is the way to go, there is only one little detail you leave out, those people are raising your kids, yep, starve them to death, if it's so easy to raise kids why you don't raise your own eh?
    Evidently you are either incapable of it or you believe your kids deserve somebody on minimum wage, at the same level of people caring for your hamburgers......

    December 1, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Yes It's Slavery

    The woman works 6am to10pm. 16hrs a day.

    At a normal rate say...$15/hr (I took this from our dogsitter I mean you'd pay for your childcare at least as much right) she would make 6270/month.

    The woman takes home currently 568.96/month.

    Yeah it sure looks like she's getting 5701/month of food and lodging from sleeping on the floor likea family pet.

    No wait...our pet actually has a bed.

    December 1, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • mjill

      Is it really slavery when you are being paid? I thought that is kind of what makes slavery slavery. As a side note, nice coach bag sported by the woman in the picture. You'd thing at $1.27 an hour that would be out of the budget. Maybe this wage number it grossly exaggerated a little for the sake of getting people to click on the artcle??

      December 1, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
      • minniepie

        When I used to clean for wealthy people many, many years ago, they GAVE me their discarded STUFF. Also, do you realize how cheap KNOCKOFF products are? Try to think bigger and outside your box.

        December 1, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
      • Yes It's Slavery

        Hey mjill look at the corner of the corner of the pic. Gerty Pictures. Stock photo...I didn't know your knew this nanny. Or are you the F500 executive referenced here?

        There are also plenty of fake bags sold for like $5. But go ahead and justify this however you want.

        Truly that was insightful.

        December 1, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
      • gill1986

        stock photography...which menas they just picked that image from a collection to illustrate the article. on the other hand, there are plenty of fake products that can be cheaply bought...maybe you are not aware of it. a person making less than 2 bucks/hour would not be able to buy authentic designer stuff. but she could get it as a hand me down from the boss, of course.

        December 1, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • withkids

      If you really believe this article, you're very gullible. These articles are so absurd they make me laugh. If the woman is dumb enough to really do this, sleep on the floor, etc., she has chosen. If she is a decent care-taker, she can make great money. This article is trying to justify the Nanny-Murderer, but we never heard how much she was actually getting paid. I suspect it was more than most Americans...

      December 1, 2012 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
      • gill1986

        you don't have to believe everything you read. you probably read this article because you wanted to know what the newest lie on CNN was ; )) in any case, not believing in everything you see/read is a good practice because it helps develop critical thinking...do observe a lot around you and read/watch from different sources. if you really observe the common people on the streets you will see that there are indeed poor people in this country...and if you watch what many charity orgs do in this country you will see that their work helps alleviate the poverty in a lot of folks' lives. and sometimes people do have to work in pretty bad conditions just because that is all they can get (not everyone is born rich, wise or assertive). yeap, life is that tough for a lot of humans!!!

        December 1, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
  31. biglio

    Marie, there is only one little detail you leave out, those people are raising your kids, yep, starve them to death, if it's so easy to raise kids why you don't raise your own eh?
    Evidently you are either incapable of it or you believe your kids deserve somebody on minimum wage, at the same level of people caring for your hamburgers......

    December 1, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marie

      Huh? I was just explaining that the room included is not always a room and it should not be a reason to pay them next to nothing. I have no idea where you are coming from, biglio.

      December 1, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
  32. TewksburyBob

    I thought it was illegal to pay anyone under the table. If it is these people are criminals. $1.27 per hour is also so ridiculous I do not believe it. Of course I do not believe everything I read. It would be more plausible if the article told us the weekly or monthly wage.

    December 1, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • cashmeremafia

      You know her hourly wage and how many hours she works – can't you figure that out for yourself??

      December 1, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • minniepie

      I think it would be nice to know who this fortune 500 executive is.

      December 1, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • ncnarrator

      Weekly wage: I was a nanny for two little girls. I worked 7 days a week, effectively 24 hours a day (the parents weren't around). The baby woke up at 5:30 every morning, and the girls typically feel asleep around 9:00 (or when it got dark), but the baby was still waking several times a night. I cooked, cleaned, and cared for the girls every day. I had no car, no way of going anywhere or seeing anyone. I was not allowed to make long-distance phone calls (and believe me, they checked) – so I couldn't call any family or friends, since they all lived in other states. I was paid $150 a week. I loved the girls – I didn't have much of an opinion about the parents, since I rarely saw them – but I couldn't WAIT until the end of my contract. I was a college student majoring in education, which is how they found me. Agencies troll for college students looking for summer work, and then talk them into taking these kinds of jobs with the promise of big money and interesting locations. I'm sure my location was interesting...or it would have been if I'd ever seen any of it...but the big money? No. Not even close.

      December 1, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
      • withkids

        Why in the WORLD would you sign a contract like that??? You deserve what you get when YOU SIGNED THE CONTRACT. Obviously, if the contract said something else, you could have left because of breach of contract.

        December 1, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
      • ncnarrator

        Because I was 19 (remember when you were 19? How good were YOU at conflict resolution back then?). Because there wasn't a written contract. (Again...19. Now? Not gonna happen) And, as someone else has pointed out, I was promised more. I was promised two days off – except the parents never came home long enough for that to happen. I was promised more pay (when I brought up the 24/7 issue), but that never materialized either. At 19, it was easier for me to just suck it up and wait until the end of my contract. Also, I was very very far away from family and completely out of contact, so I didn't feel I had a way to just leave. I felt like I had agreed to the job and I needed to do the job, even though the only thing they'd told the truth about was the gender of the kids. (They'd even lied about their ages!) No one deserves to be abused – and that's what it was. Abusers make their victims feel like they deserve what they're getting (You signed up for this). Abusers isolate their victims (you can't use the phone or computer, and we'll be checking). Not all abusers leave bruises, but people (shall I point a finger here?) who justify abuse by saying, "You should have known what you were getting into," or "If you were that stupid, you deserved it," or "Why didn't you just run away?" are no better than the ones dealing out the abuse. Are you sure you want membership in THAT club?

        December 1, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  33. John Ahearne

    This is Kathryn Stockett's "The Help" revisited. It is unbeleivable that there could be that kind of abuse going unchecked in 2012 America. Although if you stop and think about it, we were privy to that mind-set during the recent presidential election. Mitt Romney reminded us that the elite in this country have no problem dealing with the less fortunate as mere pawns and not worthy of any consideration whatsoever. He simply wrote the poor off as takers and people with no future. We just don't call them slaves any longer.

    December 1, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  34. popeye1128

    "Many, many more work in the homes of busy, middle-class professionals who have sufficient income and wealth to hire help to do the chores that would otherwise consume their limited time."

    Not the middle class if you ask me. Time to look at what the term means.

    December 1, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
  35. J

    For those dismissing this story, it happens! In CA most people want a maid for $35-$40 a day. Yes, that's not $1.27 an hr. but it's sure as hell not minimum wage. These women cook and do all the house work, wash cars. On top of that, some are expected to do laundry and iron, saving the family dry cleaning expenses......ever taken a woman's outfit to a dry cleaner?? That alone is big savings. It happens all the time!!!!

    December 1, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  36. bs1

    The value of room and board in a ritzy part of Manhattan probably puts the true pay at $20/hr. More importantly however, if you don't like the pay don't take the job.

    December 1, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • George

      I can only think of one group of putzes who would employ people at $1.27...lol!!!

      December 1, 2012 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Mark

    It's always the VERY rich that treat these people this way, always the ones that COULD afford help at decent wages. These are the kind of people who voted for Romney. From what I remember, Romney was one of them, he had to clean up some situation like that, saying "NO we can't have any illegals, I'm running for president... (How do you think that one son of Romney's speaks enough Spanish to do that ad he did for him.......HA HA HA)

    December 1, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam

      don't come here illegally and if you don't like it find something else to do! the nannys that get hired thru agencies that do background checks or the nannies that are legal demand more and get it..my co worker pays her nanny 460 wk for 45 hours of work, the nanny is going to college at night so the hours are a good fit

      December 1, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Rick McDaniel

    Does anyone actually pay what it costs to raise children?

    One of the reasons, we have such a tax problem, is too many people get too many breaks on taxes, because of kids they don't don't pay for.

    December 1, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • what?

      Right, because those who can't afford kids can afford to pay for nannies and maids? Might want to learn how the tax code works there buddy.

      I mean. what planet do you live on??

      December 1, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Marie

    Room is not always provided...sometimes nannies share room with children so they can look after them if they wake up at night. Night is many times not their time off as they are expected to get up and take care of the child.

    December 1, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yisrael

      Well Marie, that would also be a case of 'room' provided. The fact that the domestic has to share a room rather than get their own room means that the 'room' has less value.. but not non-existent

      December 1, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Charles

    Regulations with some backbone of penalties is the only way, but the rich hate those regulations, of any kind, for good reason.

    December 1, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • MIJohn

      Yeah. If regulations had teeth most of the rich would be sitting in jails on a slew of criminal charges waiting for their trial because they're behavior is the same that gets an honest crook* labeled a severe flight risk.

      *that being one who doesn't pretend that they're not a criminal.

      December 1, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Frustrated

    In South West Florida, just the opposite is happening. Nannies charge 17.50 an hour. Night nannies for newborns charge the same or more. They also demand pay for holidays e.g. Thanksgiving, even though they do not work on those days. Some of them also want medical insurance. Many of them are getting a sweet deal – supply and demand. Let the free market dictate their fees.

    December 1, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • victor

      Free ,market means work for nothing!

      December 1, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Jeffy D

    Lets look at this in a different way. Most average married couples work and pay for childcare then come home and take care of their children and their households, cook , clean, do laundry, mow the yard etc etc etc. I question the sincereity of any person who chooses to bring children into the world and expect someone else to raise them. Children are a gift and if you are unwilling to bring them into this world and be their parent then maybe you need to not procreate. Money cant buy everything and it sure cant give a parent back the informative years when a child binds to parents.
    I personally believe that most nanny households are nothing more than the easy way out to being a real parent.

    December 1, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Publuis

    $1.27/hr plus free room, free board, and often free clothing. Most important free will. These domestic nannies have a choice – be a nanny or go work elsewhere. They all choose to be nannies. Often getting to travel, often getting the opportunity to mingle within high society. The job may not be easy. It may not have the money of others. But it is a job the nannies decide to enter and be for themselves.

    December 1, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Common sense

      People like you make me sick...
      They are here on free will, do not like it – do not enter USA. They are offered pay – they always can say no.
      So please stop this liberal garbage – you are not fooling anyone.

      December 1, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
  44. MannyHM

    The working condition and the wages of these workers should be closely monitored by local and federal officials.
    Factored in should be the cost of housing, utilities, and benefits if these workers were to live on their own.
    Let's face it, the reason as to why many mothers and fathers in Hong Kong, Singapore, and other countries can continue working is that they have domestic workers who can fill in the task of caring for the children, the elderly, do errands, etc.
    As long as these domestic helpers are treated and paid properly, it's still a good deal for these nannies.

    December 1, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Sharon Jackson

    This is absurd nonsense. My nanny, who was not a citizen, was paid 250/week, had her own car, health insurance, her own bedroom and I even sponsored her to come to the states for a college education. This is not less than any of my friends or coworkers did for their nannys. And yes, weekends off. Anyone with any sense knows this is the norm.

    December 1, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marie

      It sounds like you hired her through a legitimate au-pair program. Not everybody is willing to do that. Some people just look at their nannies as second class people and don't think they deserve to get paid a fair wage. I think it's disgusting – they trust them enough to take care of their children, but don't think they deserve to get paid.
      You must have liked your nanny – I did the same, my family sponsored me for student visa and also paid for my tuition.

      December 1, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • nursey

      That's great. I don't have the means to do that, and in fact we are lower middle class with very little discretionary income and live paycheck to paycheck. I still manage to pay my home daycare women fifteen dollars an hour because less seems unfair for the work she does watching my kids, even without doing any other type of domestic work because she watches them in her home. The fact that really wealthy people could not understand that these people are working to support their own family and deserve at least minimum wage is piggish.

      December 1, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  46. Walter

    With that kind of mouth, I'm glad you have a dog instead of a child. Maybe you shouldn't even have a dog.

    December 1, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Me

    Does it say in the article that the nannies are kidnapped and sold against their wills?

    December 1, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
  48. N@TuRn3r

    $1.27/hr when she could've made $7.25/hr at the local McDonald's. Or maybe she realized the cost of food, rent, utilities, transportation and other miscellaneous expenses she wasn't paying for those 15 months.

    December 1, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
  49. Marie

    Unfortunately, this story is very real. I used to be a live in nanny myself although I worked for a great family. Yes, maybe I got only $60 a week, but I worked only 25 hours a week during school year, they paid for my health insurance, out of state college tuition, cell phone, car...room and board....and the room was large with an on-suite, and two weeks of paid vacation.
    I had several friends who worked very long hours and were getting paid less than I did. Many of these friends were legal immigrants who just didn't have the support network to find a better place than that.

    December 1, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Me

    19 huh? I remember having a lot of pocket money at that age. Why? Because I lived at home , went to college and didn't have to pay for an adult life. Just wait until you have a house, car, utilities, insurance of all kinds, gas bills, and more. Then see if you can pay $20 an hour at least 40 hours a week for child care.

    December 1, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Michael

    These nannies must be doing something right, the photograph in this article shows and "nanny" with a Coach Purse.

    December 1, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      That's what I was thinking...

      December 1, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • dadomac

      That was an old 'hand-me-down" purse from her employer.

      December 1, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lizard

      That is not a Coach purse, it is a cheap knock-off. Look closely at the logo printed in the bag and you'll see that those are not letter "Cs" at all.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
  52. Me

    No one deserves that low of pay. But as many others have pointed out, nannies often have other perks that add much more value to their positions. A safe place to live with pocket money might be a great choice for someone just starting out.

    Also, remember that the wages for a nanny might also be driven by what a family can pay. Not everyone who hires a nanny is outrageously rich and child care is expensive. Where I live, childcare for a baby is at least 250-300 a week. If I had to pay someone minimum wage to watch my child 45-50 hours a week, I wouldn't be able to provide much in the way of transportation, shelter or food.

    December 1, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jo Ann

      Everyone deserves to be paid at least minimum wage.

      December 1, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
  53. Kingofthenet

    Do you believe the word 'job' has meaning like being able to care for oneself and save a little? Or do you believe in straight, no holds bar definition IF I pay you 10 cents an hour, it's STILL a job?

    December 1, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
  54. beachgalone

    ok, we have to separate these arguments. If illegal, tough. if legal, a decent wage is a must. if room and board included minimum wage is fine. Although I will tell you that this job is tough and personal and I would pay top dollar for someone watching my kids. Health insurance is ridiculous since some people aren't insurable until 2014 and a 1 person group can be extremely expensive. I'm sure this person on this wage would qualify for medicaid.

    December 1, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  55. Mauro

    Honest Citizen writes "Freeze their assets, put them off their proprties"... where do you come from? Romney's block? Use your head just a little, it does not hurt.

    December 1, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  56. trollol

    As I understand it, the other option for these 'invisible workers' is that they remain unemployed. The wealthy could hire individuals who demand minimum wage or they could hire these 'invisible workers' for a fraction of the cost. It all comes down to hiring the lowest bidder. Why do you think the corporations like apple outsources so much of it's production to china? It all boils down to MONEY!

    December 1, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  57. Joey dee

    You people confuse equality and fairness. It's not fair to you but it's fair to me. However what is equal for you Is equal for all. If the liberal communist from the Democratic Party understood simple supply and demand domestics could make unlimited earnings. Just cut the supply of people to do the work and the wage would increase. But communists don't think that way. Use the force of government. It doesn't work. Communism does not work with freedom and human choice. So communist socialist liberal progressive must take away are freedom.

    December 1, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
  58. Jon

    I followed the author's hyperlink to her source (another CNN reporter) who in turn linked to a study that shows that 47% of direct-care workers are white and that the median hourly pay of all direct-care workers in 2009 was $10.58. The author cherry-picked the worst-case scenario to drum up interest for her blog post. The study can be found at http://phinational.org/sites/phinational.org/files/clearinghouse/PHI%20Facts%203.pdf

    December 1, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
  59. sharky

    I have a hard time really believing this story. Given nannies fall under the FLSA they can sue their employers for unfair wages. However, they probably are not suing as possibly they are not in the country legally.

    December 1, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
  60. MT

    BULLS*** fake story. We live in NJ and I pay my once a week housekeeper $35 an hour. My husband works in NYC for a fortune 500 company. This is a fake story. I would love to find someone trustworthy for a better price, but it doesn't exist.

    December 1, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • jv

      You pay your maid $280 a day? Sign me up!!

      December 1, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kingofthenet

      Or maybe you shouldn't take something PERSONAL that doesn't apply to you, this is about abuse SOME rich people do, apparently you don't...good for you!

      December 1, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • jv

      Sorry! I had to come back.......you'd like to find someone trustworthy for a "better" price.....like $.1.27????

      December 1, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
  61. Jeebus

    No one should be surprised by this. Do you think the Mitt Romney's of the world give a flying fart about the people who take care of them for every waking moment of the day? Of course not, in their minds they EARNED everything they have, so why should they fairly compensate anybody else?

    December 1, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • TwinsMommy

      The Romney's didn't have a nanny or a housekeeper. Just sayin...

      December 1, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  62. Ann

    Are you kidding me? With no limit as to the amount of hours they can work in a day, and no rights as to what an employer can ask them to do, this is slavery! Even au pairs have a limit as to the amount of hours they can be asked to work and strict living accommodations that an employeer must provide for them. iI's worse then the indentured servant system that my great grandmother worked under to get to this country 100 years ago.

    December 1, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • SGB

      My daughter has never had a nanny who did not have specified hours, wages and duties. I have never had a housekeeper who did not have specified wages, hours and duties. Most of this reporting is probably about illegals who will take any kind of work during the week and go home to live with 10 other people in a studio apt. on the weekends. Illegal immigration needs to be stopped because it amounts to near slavery. On the other hand, I have tried to hire legals through an agency only to be told that if I was "picky" about paying taxes, I would have to pay the whole thing myself. Those women stole from me, didn't want to work ate everything expensive in the house and didn't last very long.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  63. Catherine

    I certainly believe it – if you hire a nanny through a reputable nanny service, that is the going pay rate in many large higher cost of living cities and the agencies require you pay employment taxes and pay benefits. Those nannies also have college degrees and often are qualified to tutor older children as well. I've hired someone at that pay rate as well and that's why I paid what I paid, I wanted someone well qualified to care for my son.

    December 1, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  64. The Judge

    "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.".

    Why "Involuntary"? It should read without that word. So, in its meaning, it's perfectly legal to voluntarily servitude. If you volunteer to be a slave, it's legal.

    It's just disgusting these people can't take care of their own family, then pay someone pennies to do so. PATHETIC.

    December 1, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
  65. fairness

    stealing the fruit of honest days work, aka high finance, is worth tens of thousands an hour.

    why raise the thieves' kids?

    December 1, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
  66. Jason

    This is misleading. Many of these workers aren't exactly "working" 24/7. They have room and board paid for as well. if you take rent and food out of my low wage, i'm not making much either. Also many of these worker have access to vehicles without paying anything.

    December 1, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • ekio

      Jason, it's true that many of these workers don't pay room and board as you suggested. However, they are expected to be there 24/7 for whenever they're needed. They don't have the freedom to go out and do what they like. So it's not exactly a dream job is it? Only reason they're doing this is that they are probably supporting their starving family back home and have no other choice. And the reason these people are paying as little as possible is because they are fully aware of this vulnerability.

      December 1, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me

      There are usually laws and guidelines that dictate how to pay workers who get room and board from their employers. The bigger problem here is a lot of these workers are illegal immigrants, either willing or unwilling, are paid under the table and don't know their rights.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
  67. Rob

    People having children and then not raising their own children need to have their children taken away from them. If you don't have the time for a child then you shouldn't have a child. I don't care if you think you need to put your career first to provide the child with material goods, you're doing a disservice to your child, and the community.

    December 1, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kingofyourmom

      Do you keep your 19th century wife tied up 24/7?

      December 1, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me

      Yeah! Much better to sit at home on welfare!

      December 1, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
  68. fairness

    if i get paid $1.27 / hour, i will do $1.27 worth of work. only fair.

    December 1, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  69. KG

    I suspect domestic workers are excluded from the state minimum wage laws because most of our politicians have domestic workers in their homes. How can the U.S. populace entrust our nation to a bunch of elitists who abuse their power with such impunity?

    December 1, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  70. everyone_can_be_aCEO

    If you dont like being a nanny,then get SKILLED-up,and find a better JOB

    December 1, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      Sure, because being a nanny requires NO skill....right....

      December 1, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • KG

      It's not that they don't like being nannies, it's that they do not get fairly compensated for doing a job they enjoy. Personally, the fact that these people are willing to risk their children's care to someone who they treat so unfairly speaks volumes about how they feel about their children.

      December 1, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • martin2176

      how much skill you need to be a fool?

      December 1, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
  71. Errr

    I had a Nanny growing up, I called her "Mom" :)

    December 1, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • everyone_can_be_aCEO

      i called her 'women'

      December 1, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  72. What The

    I can't believe this!!! Considering she is a degree holder, what a jackpot! Her employer should repay her the right wage since day one she was hired.

    December 1, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
  73. Kingofthenet

    I have NO problem deducting decent 'Room and board' from an hourly wage, or at least in a FAIR arrangement, but here is the deal NO ONE should get LESS than $5 an hour for work.So IF a Nanny actually works 8 hours she should get at LEAST $40 a day plus decent room and board.

    December 1, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kingofyourmom

      Well, ain't you the cream of human kindness.

      December 1, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam West

      She will be unemployed at that rate. It seems that you wanted to help her. Ooops.

      December 1, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • John K

      Why $5/hour and not $4.99 or $5.01?

      That's what I thought. You must be a liberal with a college degree but little economic sense.

      December 1, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
      • Kingofyourmom

        Like the "sense" that you just made?

        December 1, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kingofthenet

      Look I COULD say they deserve $20/hr and unless they did 'extras' for the man in the house NO ONE of them would get that. This is REAL life, not some joke, where we pick fake 'Feel Good' numbers. Paying a Philippine women $5/hr plus picking up her expenses isn't bad.She get's to eat the same as ANY member of the family, she get a nice little bedroom, and $5/hr which is ALL hers. Sure if your rich or hire someone with a College degree by all means pay more...but not less.

      December 1, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • ducmnstr

      The nanny that killed those kids in that 5th Ave apartment......maybe she went nuts because of her pay which would not be a reason to commit such an act.

      December 1, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
  74. Sam West

    "Do U.S. nannies deserve $1.27 an hour?"

    No. The deserve $10/hour, $100/hour, $1000/hour and $1,000,000/hour depending on whom they can find that will pay that rate. Otherwise, without a customer and unemployed they deserve $0.00/hour.

    December 1, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kingofthenet

      You must be Republican.

      December 1, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
      • Sam West

        Nope. Republicans are the main reason we're in this mess.

        December 1, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
      • Kingofthenet

        Oh Libertarian than...

        December 1, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
      • sharky

        No that sounds more like a Democrat overpaying for possibly shoddy work.

        December 1, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  75. Joey dee

    Truck drivers are also not included for minimum wage and make as much as these domestic immigrant workers. But truckers don't live in a mansion or park ave town home for free. Wait till your supermarket runs out of food or Walmart runs out of toilet paper then maybe America will look at what American truckers earn.

    December 1, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Truckers earn a lot. They don't do much and are protected from over work.

      December 1, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
  76. sfmama

    I am part of the 1% but pay my nanny $25 per hour (on the books). I feel this is a living wage, plus I give her vacation, sick pay and bonus. I am disgusted that a Fortune 500 CEO (or anyone for that matter) would treat his employee as such. I hope workers band together and demand more. This is not right.

    December 1, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elmer J. Fudd

      My name is Elmer J. Fudd. I own a mansion and a yacht. And I pay those people really well.

      December 1, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam West

      I agree that such rate is low but disagree with your conclusion. They should find a better job but until then should enjoy what they get. If they don't like it they're free to leave any time.

      December 1, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
      • Kingofyourmom

        Treat other human beings like sh!t and tell 'em they're "free" to leave anytime. Yup! – that's the American spirit.

        December 1, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • sharky

      The problem is you are thinking the story is true.

      December 1, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ambot ah

      Thanks to all the people like you who pays your nanny well.

      December 1, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • jt

      yeah right

      December 1, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  77. redhatrevolution

    So they're underpaid yet the nanny in the picture is holding a designer hand bag? Uh.. whut.

    December 1, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • What The

      That is not her! That picture is just a picture and nothing nothing nothiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiggggg! If you don't understand!

      December 1, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tytanis

      I'm pretty sure this stock photo is from "Nannies Gone Wild"

      December 1, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Johnjon

      oh yeah.................... she looks hot with that coach bag hanging on her shoulder. probably got it from the donation bag that her employer dropped off at Goodwill.

      December 1, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • tokencode

      It is clearly not a good choice of image given the topic even if it is a stock photo.

      December 1, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ambot ah

      Have you been to Ross stores who sells cheap designers purses and outfit? Plus, that's the only way they can free themselves from all the stress being away from their family and friends back at their own country. By going shopping ;)

      December 1, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  78. Jugi

    How much would it cost for that nanny to rent an apartment in Manhattan? That really needs to be factored into her wages.

    December 1, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • H H

      That's the excuse often used for abuse of workers. It's not unusual for the employer to inform his domestic that she "owes" for room and board, and can't leave until she "works off the debt." The immigrant workers believe this, and the threat that they'll be reported to the police and deported for their "debt" is often utilized as a backup.

      December 1, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  79. Wildfawn

    You can make arguments back and forth that they're still better off than they would be in their home country. Doesn't matter. It's not fair. Being a stay-at-home mom is a lot of work, and a domestic worker is expected to work just as hard. No days off? No medical insurance? Can be fired and turned out on the street at any moment (unlike a true stay-at-home mom)? All unfair.

    Let's face it, they could be covered by laws without losing jobs. How many people who have domestic help are going to give it up if the cost increases a bit? Or even doubles? Not many, I would bet. I don't see that any of the top 1% or even 5% of this country are really going to hurt at having to pay more, and they're not going to start doing it themselves.

    It's about fairness.

    December 1, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  80. Steve S

    Don't laugh.

    The 1%ers would have ALL of us making a $1.67/hour, if their paid minions in Congress had their way.

    December 1, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wildfawn

      Got that right. It's greed, not necessity. They would still invest their money if they had to pay more, but as long as they can get away with paying less and putting more in their pocket, of course they will.

      December 1, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • sharky

      and yet you I am sure champion illegals being in the country that would make that wage to work.

      Spare us all your so called indignation.

      December 1, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
  81. Kathy Webb

    I would further note that the FLSA does not guarantee sick and vacation pay – not for domestics, nor the cashier at the department store or the hostess at a restaurant.

    November 29, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  82. Analysis

    The case of the woman earning $1.67 an hour is obviously a bit extreme as the article mentions the average live-in earns a touch over $6 an hour. However, let's assume they all make $1.67 an hour and work 14 hour days. Are they better off than if they had stayed in their own country? It looks like 100% of their income is savings.. they have zero expenses in the US, and are therefore able to send up to 100% of their wages back home. Alternatively, with two month's savings, she could decide to quit and buy a plane ticket home.

    In the Philippines it looks like the minimum daily wage is $6 a day, and a university profession can earn up to $500 a month. And I bet the university profession doesn't even have free rent and food. Here in the extreme case of $1.67 an hour, the woman is earning roughly $800 a month, net to her. Sounds like a pretty good bargain if you are choosing between staying home in the Philippines and living in a rich person's house in the US. And I am sure that is why countless people choose to do this year after year.... I am sure they are not unaware of what they are getting themselves into.. it's easy to communicate back and forth to the philippines now. So if this is what they want to do, and it's legal (which it said in the article that it is), what's the problem?

    Let's pay them all minimum wage – or even 2x minimum wage – and let them fend on their own for rent and food? That would be far, far worse in a place like manhattan.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:49 am | Report abuse |
    • WhoDat

      It doesn't matter! THEY MUST GET MINIMUM WAGE AND THEY MUST HAVE THEIR OWN APARTMENT. That matters in America! If we don't pay people enough to earn an american lifestyle, like a TV, a cell phone, and being able to eat out when they want, then we are not americans! It should be illegal to hire people and not let them afford a standard lifestyle in this country.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:55 am | Report abuse |
      • sharky

        She is living on PARK AVENUE. What a horrible place to live in.

        December 1, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • eric

      Really...ever hear of a guilded cage? The comparison is not the life they may have left behind whether overseas or not, the comparison is to what we in this the richest country in the world alloow to happen to the least of us. You sound like the typical greedy I've got mine, you try and get yours with my foot on your back.

      November 29, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
      • Analysis

        Okay Eric, let's make it a federal law that nobody in the country can be paid less than 45k a year. These jobs will disappear, the rich will clean their own kitchens, the Filipinos will stay at home in Mindanao. Will everyone be happy then?

        Even at the ridiculous pay level of $1.67 an hour (we know the real level is north of $6 an hour) we calculated the maid is banking $9600 a year in cash. She sacrifices 2-3 years with no personal life at all (although I disagree that her working conditions are "horrible") comes back home with $25k in the bank, buys a house for her family and starts a business. Previously she could have worked a lifetime at home and not had a chance to do that.

        This doesn't sound dissimilar to the sacrifices our college graduates face today (ask a junior consultant how many free hours they have per month trying to pay down debt, build up savings which will lead toward a more comfortable life), and generations before us faced. If this is a bad opportunity, why are people doing it? People complain there are no jobs in the market, and your solution is to raise wages?

        These jobs are very price sensitive. People seem to believe if you multiply the wages, everyone is better off. They're not – the jobs disappear. What would you advise Ana the maid to do in that case? Learn Javascript and PHP?

        November 30, 2012 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
      • JKHouston

        We have to look at what is fare in this country. Slaves had a better life here than the one they had in their country. Does it make slavery right?

        December 1, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
      • The Low End

        Analysis. Do you really believe that she would come to the US just so she could earn money and back to PI. If so it speaks volumes about your character and perception of immigrants. Working 2 to 3 years with no time off and having to deal with rich kids and their parents that treat you like garbage for pennies is wrong. Not saying we should pay them through the roof but at least give them money worth while i.e. minimum wage and some rights so they can't be abused. I think you would understand this if you spent most of your life trying to scratch out a living on low paying jobs.

        December 1, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • marshamarz

      Analysis - You work for $1.67 an hour - try it for a week - working long hours w/o overtime, healthcare – & let's see you get ahead. This is slaverly & The article should name names of those powerful people taking advantage - FOr God's sake, these are these people's children they have hired these women to take care of –

      December 1, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
      • Loreeeebeeee

        I wonder, if you take out the cost of your rent, utilities, gas, car expenses, food, and subtract that from your pay, what are you making per hour?

        December 1, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
      • Marie

        Definitely more than $1.27 an hour.

        December 1, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ambot ah

      You are right mostly about what you've mentioned that if she stayed in the Philippines she won't get this much of money saved in the bank. But I think there is more illegalities to it that they had to dig on the papers that Anna has signed before she agreed to come to the U.S.. Most of the employers who hires domestic help from other countries has a certain requirements from the government that states on the paper the minimum wage that was signed and agreed upon between the employers and the hired help. Some actually comes with free food and lodging together with whatever the minimum wage that's mentioned in the signed papers. Most employers doesn't go with what's agreed on the papers at all. Hmmmm....

      December 1, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
  83. timmaahhyy

    I wonder how many crimes are committed against these people. They cant go to the police since they are here illegally. I would be there is a lot of unreported rape and other physical abuse.

    November 28, 2012 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
    • timelord7202

      I absolutely agree.

      No, I am not fond of people breaking any number of laws to get here, but that certainly does not justify their being abused by these "job creators", whose sole intention is to drive down wages to artificially inflate their profit margins... the knock-on effect devalues labor for everyone here legally.

      It is indeed imported slavery.

      Didn't our country outgrow this sort of thing 150 or so years ago? Or are influences trying to drag the developed world back that far, if not another 250 years on top of that? Back when anyone could be called a witch and barbecued at the stake and nobody questioned slavery...

      December 1, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
      • sharky

        Then they should not be in the US to begin with.

        December 1, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
  84. joe

    These 'abused slaves' are free to leave any time. Why are they here then, if it's so terrible? Are they being held against their will? Are they being locked in the closet and fed gruel? Doubt it. Just another hit piece on some white guy who happens to have a good job and is paying going-rate wages to an immigrant who came here looking for exactly this situation. Life in a Manhattan high-rise, rent free.

    November 28, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
    • joe

      Madam, you may want to check your spelling. It could be the reason you do not have a job with a Fortune 500 corporation.

      November 28, 2012 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
    • RWM

      What a stunning reply. It's admittedly hard to admit that people are suffering so you don't have to feel the horror of it, but what you're doing by claiming it's not such a bad thing to sleep on the floor of someone else's house and to work for wages and hours that you would find intolerable is to condone something very much akin to slavery. Your assumption that it would be easy to "leave the country" is niave at best and willfully cruel at its worst. I don't care how someone got here or who they are, it is NOT the America I believe in that condones such mistreatment of another human being. If it's your vision of the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, shame on you.

      November 28, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • timelord7202

      "Do unto others". Please try to learn some empathy while you're at it.

      And, in a free country, when freedom is defined by how much money you have, NONE OF US IS FREE.

      Still, try living am oppressed country and work for 50 cents an hour – try saving up the money for a plane ticket under those conditions.

      December 1, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  85. fiftyfive55

    This is just the beginning of that new world order thing,according to businessmen , these folks should be lucky to have a job. This is what the GOP is trying to submit all Americans to because according to big business(GOP) Americans are grossly overpaid,that's why they go overseas.Well how do you like this scenario America ?This is what is in store for us all by means of big business.

    November 28, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • n3kit

      I'm from the Philippines, my uneducated cat sleeps on my bed, because i love my cat. It all comes down to love of another human being or another living being. If you do not have love you and those around you are nothing. From your comment that nannies are the most unneeded jobs in the world clearly shows you got nothing. Some nannies know how to love better than the parents of the children they care for.

      December 1, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  86. wasserball

    I would be nervous having a stranger living among us in a family environment who is paid below minimum wage, working long hours, and sleeping on the floor. How can a CEO take advantage of the situation without guilt? I truly find it difficult to believe there are such morally wicked people exist in the USA.

    November 28, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • fiftyfive55

      Even though their decisions affect people lives,these guilty exploiters of man excuse their actions by saying "it's just business".Ruin a life-"it's just business",put your fellow Americans out of work-"it's just business",do you see where I'm going with this? It's not business,it's life.

      November 28, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
    • SkipperSam

      If its true.....Why not name the CEO and his company ?

      November 28, 2012 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
      • timelord7202

        A misguided attempt to protect the guilty without namedropping specifics? Just because the specifics are not fully spelled out doesn't mean it's not true... still, maybe a little more information wouldn't be amiss...

        December 1, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • sharky

      Do you support illegals? There ya go.

      Your so called indignation is funny.

      December 1, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
  87. heh

    companies like Wal=Mart do the same thing to their employees.

    "Slavery was never abolished they just increased the size of the plantation, and exploit the poor of every race now."

    November 28, 2012 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Warvet55

      If you don't like working at Wall-Mart, go look for another job. No one forces you to work there. Free country.

      December 1, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
      • Burton

        It's a free country when I have the freedom to stop paying your salary and pension, you simple-minded "war vet" military pig leech.

        December 1, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
  88. fiftyfive55

    Nannies are probably the MOST unneeded job in the world.People should raise their own kids instead of hiring someone not intelligent enough to earn more than minimum wage,talk about bad exposure for kids.Stop with the racist rants here also about pay,when you consider the cost of room and board included,these uneducated people are doing better than they think.

    November 28, 2012 at 7:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Amanda

      I agree that nannies living in your home should be paid less then the ones living in their own home because of the cost of room and board. However they should have decent living conditions. I do not think sleeping on the floor is decent. They should have their own room and bed.

      November 28, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      My guess is most live in workers have their own room and bed. Many are Au pairs from Europe. Most of us treat our employees fairly well. There is always the 5% who don't. We probably don't need more regulations about this. Interesting that only 9% of employers pay social security for their domestics. It seems to me that several candidates for political jobs like Kimba Woods in the early 1990s were derailed because they did not do this.

      November 28, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Warvet55

      Who says they are all uneducated. Years ago when I worked for the Westin Hotel I had surgeons from Vietnam working as dishwashers. They saved lives back in home but their education was not recognized here.i had a mechanical engineer from china working as a housemaid and the list goes on. They were looking for a better live here. The American dream.

      December 1, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  89. Menachem

    When is america going to rise up and fight like the east europeans did when the soviet union collapsed? Time to wake up, america has become fat and complacent.

    November 28, 2012 at 7:22 am | Report abuse |
    • sharky

      And Europe is becoming bankrupt. Hardly a model to follow.

      December 1, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  90. Yo!

    From my experience, we accepted the nanny as part of the family. She had free rent, ate the same food we did and often the best food we had in the refridgerator, some free clothing, health care and dental care from our pockets, vacation time. I do not know what we paid her because i was not in charge of that. But even then we saw that she became lazy. Now she does not have a job. These articles are very deceptive. These people are free to leave at any time, but often they are fired rather than leave on their own.

    November 28, 2012 at 6:37 am | Report abuse |
    • PJ Paul

      hardly 3 in ten, legals,the others with no paper, at least working for some one, ALL CASH flat monthly agreed amount.
      no other expenses, from tea to beddings, feeding their families back home, remitting their monthly earning right away
      + 225,000 philpinoes, indians, s.aferican domestic workers in and around California, ILLEGALS, working for the alma
      masters, native bus.owners, farmers, residential care homes for elderlies...
      blaming or complaining for and against the employer,hue and cry, court cases hamper new arrivals / with or without
      inspection at the port of entry,future.

      November 28, 2012 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Large and in Charge

      They're not "family"! they are an employee. they are not looking for a "family" either when they go on the job hunt, believe me, they already have a family of their own they love, they are looking for a BOSS. geez. If I borrow ten bucks from my cousin, I may not pay him back. But I always make sure I make payroll. did you take advantage of her, because you were "friends"??? If not, then she started taking liberties because you indicated that you would be cool with that, because well, you're family, right? Family is like that you know...always pulling stunts. Why are you surprised?

      December 1, 2012 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
  91. Regmac

    $1.27 a day, this poor lady makes from a fortune 500 executive. I'm so angry with the greed the 1%ers get away with. I spend more money feeding my dog everyday than this poor lady makes. The greedy rich will not be happy until we're all working for slave labor. Walmart heirs are a good example, the four heirs are worth more money than the lower 40% of wage earners in America. Wake up people, this is the future, for all of us if we don't stand up, unite, and refuse to be treated this way.

    November 28, 2012 at 6:09 am | Report abuse |
    • OBumser

      Before expressing your righteous anger about this, calculate her monthly pay: $850 ( if you think that she has 24hr work day, or $550 if you think that she has 16 hr work day). Now, please call ANY living in nanny agency in NYC and if you manage to find one that is willing to work for a check for 2,000 please send us her information – I will hire her instantly.

      December 1, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  92. Hmm

    What a sensational story. Did nobody do the math and calculate that the maids are actually saving much more money than they would than in another job because they're not paying for rent, food or utilities? The story of the poor woman working from 6am – 10pm every day sounds horrible (although those are roughly my working hours) but the reality is most of these jobs are structured as: wake up – take care of the kids, get them off to school, cook breakfast and clean up.... and then you're free until everyone comes home. So it's not even an 8 hour job. You're living rent free, you not the type of food you'd afford at a minimum wage job, but whatever the family eats, you're not paying for transportation, and your commute to work is zero minutes. You're probably not even paying taxes. I am able to save less than 10% of my gross income – - so the maid is making the equivalent of $60 an hour by that metric. Sign me up.

    November 28, 2012 at 5:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      Perhaps, you didn't think these maids have families elsewhere they support. As in the case in Hong Kong where Filipinos stay with their employers and have family to shelter, cloth and feed in their home countries. I guess you see it as a privilege, right? Under-paid, yet they have the same responsibilities as every average Joe. Also, you say you they don't work up to 8 hours in the 6 am to 10 pm span, go tell that to a full-time housewife! Unless you're thinking of the lack of freedom of phonecalls, TV, internet, outings, friend time and, oh, sleeping in the master bedroom. You need to do more than give myopic views.

      November 28, 2012 at 7:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Traxus

      If someone can afford a live-in nanny/maid, they can afford to pay them more than minimum wage.

      November 28, 2012 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Melanie

      Go ahead, sign up and then shut up!!

      November 28, 2012 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  93. Troy

    What is speaks to is the pure greed by the 1%, such greed that they consider the people they pay, barely pay, as animals.

    November 28, 2012 at 3:48 am | Report abuse |
  94. Justin Murray

    So this is what the 1% means when they refer to themselves as "Job Creators"?

    November 28, 2012 at 2:18 am | Report abuse |
  95. Marquise

    Greed! Selfishness! This is the true face of the trickle down theory. It doesn't work. The job creators as Romney calls them won't be happy until we are all working for beans and rice.

    November 28, 2012 at 1:21 am | Report abuse |
  96. Dave

    Rich people are most often the epitome of evil. The worst humanity has to offer. That they abuse and underpay workers in their own homes should come as no surprise to anyone, seeing as it happens just as often in standard places of employment. It's almost expected anymore.

    November 28, 2012 at 12:56 am | Report abuse |
  97. fonseka

    /////////////////////////////

    I thought only Saudi Arabian "Muslims" treated women domestic maids badly. Now even in the so called "free world" slaver is common it seems and taken as normal. Shame Shame.

    //////////////////////////////

    November 27, 2012 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • willknutsen

      Name these creeps...THEN shame them! The report says one of these "slave owners" is a Fortune 500 member. Name the person! Arrest the criminal! We cannot live on a planet that has anti-social behavior such as this report shows us. How can a person of great wealth not be proud to pay his helpers well? I do not get it; it is as if these types who pay slave wages are not human...or do not see poor people as human. It is strange behavior, and needs to be fixed. Where are the police when they are needed? It is a crime to not pay minimum wage, right? It is a crime to hold slaves, right. It is a crime against humanity to treat others as personal property, right? So where are the law enforcement folk? Please, America: Make an out cry, keep it going to this evil system of slavery is ended. Name and shame the offenders. Then arrest them. This has to stop!

      November 28, 2012 at 2:11 am | Report abuse |
      • Menachem

        They won't name them because corporate america controls the mainstream media like cnn.

        November 28, 2012 at 7:24 am | Report abuse |
  98. JonJon

    I am getting tired of this "women of color" thing. While most domestic helpers are not white, many eastern European women are abused also. There is no evidence that other races suffer a worse treatment than the eastern European women.
    Another thing they failed to pick up on... As a Filipino myself, I know that the abusers are often "people of color". We even had one incident of a Philippines Embassy officer enslaving a Filipina maid. Kabayan are just as bad as white people.

    November 27, 2012 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
  99. Martha Ireland

    Oh, my God.

    The 1% again.

    Evil.

    November 27, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • jv

      Yes, poor things. Let's give 'em a tax break.

      December 1, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  100. Fred

    This is imported slavery. Nothing more, nothing less. Other countries show the same pattern, but in the mid-East throw in rape and death threats. It is no new phenomenon. Ask any migrant worker from the Philippines how domestic help is treated abroad, and they will give you an earful you won't want to believe.

    November 27, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
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