Actor Robert DeNiro and wife Grace Hightower settled a longstanding legal dispute with their former nanny, who sued for unpaid overtime and holiday pay. Barry's original court filing in Manhattan in 2009 sought $40,000 in unpaid wages. The $30,000 settlement, agreed to by all parties, represents unpaid overtime alleged to total 750 hours and holiday pay for a 9 month period of employment from 2006 - 2007.
Nannies are non-exempt employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Nannies are paid on an hourly basis, and live out nannies are entitled to the overtime differential (one and one half times the normal hourly rate) for hours worked over 40 in a work week. Nannies are also protected under the FLSA's minimum wage provisions.
Families are advised to document their work agreement with their nanny in a written work agreement, and to state their nanny's wage in hourly rate terms. A written agreement, with contemporaneous time tracking, is critical to avoid s/he said - she said disputes of this nature.
HomeWork Solutions' exclusive Hourly Rate Calculator tool may be used by families to translate an agreed to weekly pay rate into FLSA complaint hourly rate language. Families should also be familiar with their local regulations. New York and Maryland, for example, extend overtime regulations to live-in nannies and other domestics. California calculates overtime on hours worked over 8 in a day.
The DeNiro/Hightower settlement is just another in a long string of overtime disputes between nannies and their former employers. Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder was forced by the courts to pay $44K in unpaid overtime in 2007, and in 2009 a Miami nanny/housekeeper was awarded $125K in back wages in a minimum wage and unpaid overtime dispute.