Guardian: "Overworked, underpaid and slapped: nannies find solidarity at 'training day' "

National Nanny Training Days across the US connect nannies, who often endure unfair work conditions alone, to a network for advice, legal support and resources.


By Livia Gershon | THE GUARDIAN | APRIL 18, 2016

On Saturday morning, Nida Medeiros stood up in the middle of an MIT lecture hall filled with about 150 of her fellow nannies and asked a question. The family she’d been working for was underpaying her, but before she could confront them, they abruptly told her that things weren’t working out and she shouldn’t bother coming in the next day. Medeiros wanted to know what legal rights she had.

Medeiros, a tiny, meticulously dressed woman, was in the right place to ask. The National Nanny Training Day in Boston – the largest of 32 training days held across the country – aims to help nannies get better at their jobs, learn their rights, and connect with each other.

The International Nanny Association estimates there are 1.2 million nannies in the US, though it’s hard to know the real number since many are paid off the books. Pay and working conditions vary wildly. A small survey done last year by Matahari, the local women workers’ group that organized the training day, found that hourly wages for nannies vary dramatically – some make as much as $30, while others are paid less than $4 – way below the minimum wage. It also found that 75% of those who worked more than 40 hours a week didn’t get proper overtime pay. Matahari organizers also say the isolated nature of nannies’ work makes it hard for them to compare notes about pay or legal rights. >> READ MORE


Boston Globe: "Nannies in Mass. often denied overtime, survey says"

By Beth Healy | GLOBE STAFF JANUARY 11, 2016

A survey of nannies working in the Boston area found a wide disparity in the hourly wages of people who care for children in private homes, and a majority said they are not paid the legal rate for overtime.

The information was gathered by the Matahari Women Workers’ Center, a Boston group that advocates for women and immigrant workers, with a goal of gathering data about nannies’ demographics and employment situations.

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Press Release: "Matahari Women Workers’ Center To Announce Results of Historic Nanny Census"

Survey reveals wide disparity in labor standards for nannies despite decades of existing legal protections

BOSTON, MA: On January 11th 2016, Human Trafficking Awareness Day, the Matahari Women Workers’ Center will announce the findings of its first ever Nanny Census. Matahari will be joined by Ms. Cynthia Mark, Chief of the Fair Labor Division of the Office of the Attorney General. Through the Census, Matahari surveyed over 350 nannies, au pairs, and other childcare providers in Greater Boston about their pay and working conditions. Nannies were surveyed in Cambridge, Brookline, Jamaica Plain, the South End, and other neighborhoods where there are high concentrations of nannies. The press conference will take place on Monday, January 11th, 2016 at 1 pm at the Matahari office, 50 Milk Street, 16th Floor, Boston.

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New York Times: "A Living Wage for Caregivers"

By DAVID BORNSTEIN, THE NEW YORK TIMES | JULY 10, 2015

Marlene Juarez worked as a nanny for a family near Boston, taking care of four children ranging in age from 6 months to 6 years old; she organized play dates, cooked, did laundry and cleaned a large house. Both parents worked full time and in some weeks asked Juarez to work as many as 60 or 70 hours. Juarez had recently emigrated from Honduras, and was afraid to complain. She couldn’t afford to lose her job. But, once, she requested a few hours off to deal with a personal matter — and in response, her employers docked her pay.

“If you’re reducing my pay when I ask to work less hours,” she said, “shouldn’t you increase my pay when you ask me to work more hours?”

“They said no,” Juarez recalled. “They said I had no right to overtime.” Juarez’s experience is common.

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Boston Globe: "Domestic worker law goes into effect today"

By Beth Healy GLOBE STAFF APRIL 01, 2015

A new law protecting the rights of domestic workers became law Wednesday, a measure that could help improve the lives of thousands of people who care for children and clean homes, many of them women immigrants.

The law took years of work by local and national advocates for domestic workers, who will celebrate its adoption at an event in Boston Wednesday night. But enforcement of the law is just beginning, and it is tricky territory for workers, employers, and government officials.

“The law and these regulations make clear that domestic workers have rights just like employees in more traditional workplaces,’’ Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey said in a statement. “These regulations acknowledge the unique environments these workers are employed in and reinforce the responsibilities employers have for ensuring those rights are protected.”

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Letter to the Editor: A thank you to the Lynn City Council adopting the Resolution in Support of Respect and Dignity for Domestic Workers

To the Editor:

I am writing to thank the Lynn City Council for adopting the Resolution in Support of Respect and Dignity for Domestic Workers, last week. Through the resolution, the city recognizes the important work of Lynn’s nannies, caregivers, house cleaners, and other domestic workers, and demonstrates its commitment to help educate workers and employers of their rights and obligations under the Massachusetts Domestic Worker Bill of Rights (“Bill of Rights”). In adopting the resolution, Lynn became the first city in Massachusetts to pledge its support for domestic workers since the Bill of Rights was signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick two weeks ago. The city resolution was brought forth by the organization of which I am a part, MataHari, a member of the New Lynn Coalition and a lead organization in the Massachusetts Coalition for Domestic Workers, and introduced by Lynn City Councilor Rich Colucci.

As a nanny, I have seen children take their first steps, heard them speak their first words, taken care of them when they are sick, and given them encouragement when they have a hard day at school. The work we do as domestic workers is so important, but the reality is that in our jobs, we have encountered many problems, including wage theft, verbal abuse, humiliation, and other forms of labor exploitation.

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