As non-exempt employees, nannies are protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Let’s look at the applicable requirements.
State minimum wage and overtime requirements: The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has an interactive map describing the minimum wage and overtime requirements of the different states as of January 1, 2011. You can view the map by clicking here. For further information about your state’s requirements please contact your state’s wage and hour division. (Click here for contact information.)
Federal minimum wage and overtime requirements: Whether you pay your nanny by the hour, day or week, federal regulations require you to comply with federal minimum wage and overtime requirements.
Federal minimum wage requirements: the federal government sets the base minimum wage–i.e., the least amount of money that a nanny may be paid for an hour of work. The federal minimum wage currently in effect is posted on the DOL’s website and should be viewable by clicking here.
Please note that many states impose a higher standard for minimum wage on nanny pay. If your state imposes a minimum wage higher than the federal minimum, the state minimum wage controls. For more information please refer to the interactive map mentioned above or contact your state’s wage and hour division.
Federal overtime requirements: Nannies fall under the protection of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Therefore, in most cases (unless exceptions apply), the FLSA sets the floor for overtime requirements — i.e., the minimum pay a nanny must receive for overtime worked. The FLSA requires you to pay your nanny overtime of at least one and one-half times an employee’s regular rate of pay after the completion of 40 hours of work in a workweek. For more information please visit the DOL website — for introductory material please click here.
Please note that federal law exempts live-in nannies from overtime requirements. In addition, federal law does not require overtime pay for work on weekends, nights, or holidays.
As an example, a nanny has an hourly wage of $10 per hour and works 50 hours from Monday through Sunday. The nanny does not live with the family. What is the minimum rate of the nanny’s overtime pay as required by the FLSA? If she receives the minimum rate of overtime pay, what are her wages for the week? First, the minimum rate of overtime pay is $15 per hour ($10/hour x 1.5 = $15/hour). Second, her wages for the week are $550 ($10/hour x 40 hours = $400; $15/hour x 10 hours = $150; $400 + $150 = $550).
Please note that state and federal minimum wage and overtime laws change regularly. In addition municipalities (e.g., San Francisco, CA) might impose higher standards now or in the future. Therefore, in order to remain compliant, we recommend contacting an attorney if your nanny will be paid at a rate close to the federal or applicable state minimum. We also recommend confirming compliance with minimum wage and overtime laws on an annual basis.