Domestic Help - How Much?
December 26, 2007 3:01 PM   Subscribe

Domestic help? How much? Laundry, dishes, beds, straightening up, occasionally driving the kids to the sports practices.

We live about 45 mins. outside of NYC. This is a 6.5 hour-a-day arrangement for four days a week. She drives approximately 10 miles each way. What's a fair pay? Would you pay for her leaving early leaving for personal reasons, vacation, holidays? Is is better to do a weekly pay scale, hourly or daily? Thx
posted by terrier319 to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
I was in a similar situation, I started reading classified ads in the local paper (Davis County, Utah) to see what other people are offering before we settled on a number.

If it helps, we offered a little more than what most people were paying, and we found some really good help. Craigslist nanny ads may also help you narrow it down.

We are paying $8.50/hr for light housekeeping, the occasional errand or two, and just chasing after our little one. Ours only helps out about 15 hrs/week though.
posted by neilkod at 3:10 PM on December 26, 2007

might just be a southern thing, but i think it's common courtesy to pay your housekeeper full wages even if you only temporarily need them part-time. (you go on vacation, or take a day off, whatever).
posted by thinkingwoman at 3:36 PM on December 26, 2007

When I was a nanny I recieved 10 dollars an hour. I was a live out nanny and would not have accepted less.
posted by thebrokenmuse at 3:51 PM on December 26, 2007

Remember that you will also be legally obligated to pay taxes (Social security and state disability/unemployment, I think) if you are her primary employer. This means that you also have to report her wages, so she will need to pay her taxes. Many people just pay both shares of the social security rather than worrying about trying to deduct it from her pay. Obviously, many people don't pay these taxes but you can get in trouble (usually if she gets angry at you about pay or termination) but also if you or your spouse ever run for political office.
posted by metahawk at 4:08 PM on December 26, 2007

$8.50 might be the going rate in Utah, but in Westchester and the rest of the greater New York area, I don't think that's going to cut it. I was a nanny in Westchester in college and I earned between $12 and $18 an hour, depending on my relationship with the family and the number of kids they had. I think housekeeping generally pays a little less than nannying and I know my wages were inflated because of certain cultural issues, but I'd imagine that something around $10 an hour would be appropriate in your situation-- especially if you aren't paying taxes and all.
posted by chickletworks at 4:49 PM on December 26, 2007

We pay our housekeeper €10, or about $14 an hour, house cleaning only. Were I asking her to drive anywhere, I would absolutely pay her petrol costs, too, if she's using her own car. Expenses like that are important if you're on a low wage, you know? (I'm sure you do, just sayin'.)
posted by DarlingBri at 5:59 PM on December 26, 2007

might just be a southern thing, but i think it's common courtesy to pay your housekeeper full wages even if you only temporarily need them part-time. (you go on vacation, or take a day off, whatever).

Not just a southern thing. My family was based in New York and gave paid vacation & holidays.
posted by astruc at 6:33 PM on December 26, 2007

I'm not sure what you mean by paying her for leaving early? If she cuts her day short voluntarily, you don't have to pay her for the time she's not there. If YOU cut her regular day short, then, yes you should pay her. Also for your vacation time and holidays. Not her fault if you're not there.

metahawk: you have to pay half her SS even if you are NOT the primary employer. Every employer is obligated to pay/deduct this. Check out the IRS website for instructions in getting an FEIN (federal employer id number) It's very easy to do. Deducting and paying in for SS, and filling out year end W2 also very painless process.
posted by nax at 6:37 PM on December 26, 2007

You know how they say good help is hard to find? They're right.

In my experience it is extremely hard to get someone with half a brain to work less than full time on an ongoing basis. That goes double for a job they have to drive to at odd hours and triple for a job that does not reliably pay the same amount of money per week. If this is a long term gig you are going to want the same person to stick around and staff always prefer you to show your appreciation financially! With that in mind I would pay a weekly wage and be accomodating on the personal time issue within reason. Pretty much everyone I know also pays both halves of the SS and generally takes care of the financials for their housekeepers, in many cases up to and including having their taxes done and paying them mileage or driving them to railroad stations etc.

I can't speak to your location but I'd call an agency and ask them what they charge then use 50% of that as your starting point, then ask around to narrow it down.
posted by fshgrl at 6:49 PM on December 26, 2007

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