May 14, 2012 - NY Daily News: Worker's rights group says Park Slope moms stiffing their nannies on overtime

By Lore Croghan AND Tracy Connor / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

They're wealthy, socially conscious and obsessed with their kids — but many Park Slopers aren't following the law when it comes to their nannies.

So says a worker's rights group, which is singling out the Brooklyn neighborhood for a re-education campaign on the domestic workers bill of rights.

The state law, which says sitters are entitled to overtime and paid days off like most other full-time employees, took effect in 2010.

But Domestic Workers United points out that a survey by Park Slope Parents shows 44% of families don't pay time and a half if their sitter works more than 40 hours a week.

"This is pretty serious," said Priscilla Gonzalez, executive director of the group, which will announce a hotline for workers at a press conference Tuesday.

Although nearly half of families admitted in the anonymous survey that they skimped on the OT, it was hard to find anyone who would put their name to it.

Carrie Tatum, 36, mother of a 1-year-old son and 3-week-old daughter, said she was aware of the bill of rights before she hired a caregiver in March 2011 and does everything by the book.

"Many do their best to treat nannies fairly," she said.

She said she knows neighbors who don't pay their nannies on the books but do pay overtime, paid vacation and bonuses.

One Park Slope sitter who did not want her name used said her employer cut her loose after she demanded to know why they weren't paying her on the books and giving her overtime. She also balked when they wanted her to clean the house.

"I wasn't getting what I was supposed to," she said.

The state Department of Labor did not return calls about how many complaints it has received since the law took effect or how they were resolved.

Gonzalez said her group has handled hundreds of complaints and settled 75% without government involvement.

She said she is zeroing in on Park Slope because there are about 4,000 nannies employed there — and many are treated better than they might be elsewhere.

"We believe Park Slope employers want to do the right thing," she said.

But Liz Jenkins, 36, said the organizers were picking on the community — known for fierce debates about the geopolitical implications of co-op groceries and the gender-identity of lost hats.

"We're being unfairly targeted," the mother of two said, describing herself as "law-abiding."

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