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I live in California and I have been caring for a wheel chair bound, 95 year old woman with dementia for 3 years, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week . I cant leave her for a second by herself. I tried getting help, because I am burnt out. The girl I hired quit after 2 months of working without pay. (The ladies son wouldnt pay her). Since i live rent free, does that count as my pay for caring for the lady? Should I be getting paid also? If so how much is the weekly minimum pay for 24 hour care 7 days a week in california?

No. Living rent free does not count as pay. It counts as slavery or indentured servitude and neither all allowed anymore.

The minimum pay for any job in this country is minimum wage. Live-ins do not get paid by the hour though. Live-ins are also supposed to get time off. A day off for a live-in is 24 hours. That means they can go and do whatever they like and someone else stays with the client.

Why would you or the other caregiver ever have agreed to a job that has no wages? Or were the two of you expecting pay and never received it? If such is the case get the son in trouble with the state of California and walk away from this job.
My friend, let me give you a good piece of advice if you're planning on staying in the field of in-home caregiving. I apologize if it's long-winded.
Never allow the wages to ever be paid late or short. There must be the Understanding between the caregiver and the people who pay him/her. The Understanding are rules agreed upon with the caregiver and the employer. The rules do not even have to be in writing if you're getting paid in cash. They give their word and you give yours.
The Understanding I've always had with any client or family I took work with is this.

1) I work a schedule. There is no staying later or visiting or anything else. If I agree to cover for another caregiver on the same job then fine. If there's an emergency and I'm available then I'll agree to go to the client after my hours. I always get paid for it.

2) I do not take calls from clients or their families after hours. I let them all go to voicemail. If someone was making a cancellation or it's an emergency, I'd call them right back. I always made myself very clear that I don't take client calls after hours because they just want to talk. I will not take a call from a family member asking me if I could "just go and check on them". Or asking if I'll just talk to the client on the phone because they're bored or lonely.
It's the job of the family to check on them after hours or to take their calls when they're lonely and bored.

3) The Pay. Every care job I've ever worked the people responsible for paying knew they need to always make sure I'm paid on time, in the full amount with no exceptions. Every Friday there'd be a receipt for whoever was paying me with my dates of the week, my hours, and the wages I'm owed. Clients able to pay me themselves did so at the end of my week in person. If a family member was doing the paying, often they'd leave my check and we worked on an honor system that way. Or I'd leave my receipt and a check would be left in its place when I came Monday morning to work. Naturally in the course of many years doing in-home care, sometimes on private jobs something would come up and my pay wouldn't be there. Usually the people paying me would call to explain and apologize. I allowed a one time, two-day grace period for them to pay me in full. It was understood if anyone tried to get cute or stiff me on my money, that I'd get in my car and drive away, leaving their "loved one" to fend for themselves. I never had to make good on that threat. The threat alone was enough and I always got paid. In private care jobs when people know you mean business, they treat you as such. Don't ever let any client or family take advantage of you even one time because it will never just be one time. It will be every time.
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Reply to BurntCaregiver
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You are a domestic slave. You should be getting paid as well as free room and board. Your duties should be spelled out in a contract. You should have "time off." Please notify the authorities. When you do, the woman you cared for will be placed in a facility and you should receive help from social services to find another living and working option.
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Reply to Taarna
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jacobsonbob Jun 22, 2021
Excellent suggestions!
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My dad has live-in caregiver. Paid $3500 a month. Yes you should get paid. Get a notebook and write down everything you do for this poor woman. Date time activity etc. Do you do grocery shopping? Bring to doctors? Record all!! Laundry? Cleaning house? Attach a monetary value to each episode. This does not equal free rent. Get out as soon as you can!!
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Reply to Barbeem
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Yes, you should be getting paid. I'm shocked that you aren't be paid. When I looked into round-the-clock care for my mother, it was $11K per month, believe it or not, about the same as a nursing home. Four different people would stay with her in 6 hour shifts at $16/hour. And that was three years ago.

I would think that at least something, say, $3000 a month would be fair. When this woman passes, you will have nothing to show for your time in caring for her -- unless you are independently wealthy. If she passes tomorrow, where will you stay and how will you find the funds to move on?
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Reply to ArtMom58
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If I was you I would be making alternate arrangements as this is slave labour if she was to die tomorrow where does that leave you?
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Reply to Taylorb1
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No one should work 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
Especially if you are not being paid. I doubt your situation is legal.
Please, please do not continue to do this, you are being treated like a slave.
You need money for your own life, and future
This is so upsetting to read, please look after yourself
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Reply to FarFarAway
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NO! NO! NO!
It is not legal to have you work for no pay.
I hope that the caregiver that was hired and quit because of no pay is talking to the Labor Board, or a Labor Attorney.
You can also not work 24/7 you need breaks and days off. That is the law.
Since you have access to a computer search the state labor laws on how many hours and days you can work. And there should be information on a live in situation.
4 -5 years ago when I was paying caregivers I paid them $12.00 an hour.
Taxes were taken out and reported.
(I think at this time I would probably pay $15.00 but I would have to do a bit of searching to be sure, this is just off the top of my head.)
I hope your "employer" is properly reporting your wages so it does not later effect your Social Security AND any reporting is done so that the IRS does not come after you later. That is IF you are getting any payment at all.
A quick search I found this.
Live in caregiver wages are between $12.00 and $25.00 per HOUR
Another source Average pay is $687 per WEEK.
And you can not work 24 hours you need time off and if you work more than the legal number of hours (check your state) you MUST be paid overtime.

PLEASE do not let this family abuse you any more PLEASE talk to a Labor Attorney or go to your Labor Board.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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Let me get this straight. You are working for free for someone who is NOT your family member? You made an agreement to move in and in exchange for rent you are there 24/7, in charge of all care and of hiring and firing, but you are not employed by the family of this 95 year old?
There is something strange about this picture. My fear is that this person will die, and you not only will have ZERO money, but also no job history, no money and will be homeless. We actually often see this when family members take on this kind of care. The house goes to medicaid clawback and they go to a homeless shelter.
Do follow the advice in some comments below. As you have lived here even albeit rent free and caring for someone you can under California law, at least, be considered a tenant, so it will not be easy to kick you out without tenant relocation stipend of some amount, but otherwise, upon the death of the person you are providing care for voluntarily, you will be on your own. I am wishing you good luck in addressing this, but it is 3 years after the fact; short of serving notice and moving I cannot imagine what you can do.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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24/7 labor in exchange for room and board is slavery, which is frowned upon in most societies.

Some napkin math says you've provided over $300,000 worth of free labor. Start charging ASAP or get a job. You'll be on the streets if this lady drops dead tomorrow unless you're wealthy.
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Reply to ZippyZee
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My heart always sinks when I read these stories—- her son has been exploiting you I’m sorry to tell you, this is a travesty. When a client requires a caregiver to live in— as you describe he NEEDS the caregiver to live there —- when a client requires a live in, they can NOT count where you sleep in any amount toward your salary - he cannot count it as even part of your salary- you are living as basically an indentured servant, you haven’t earned anything monetarily towards your personal needs or towards your savings. What if she dies tomorrow you would be out of a job with zero savings to fall back on. The son sounds like a real piece of work, what a jerk people like him enjoy treating others in a demeaning manner. Please protect yourself, ( personally I wouldn’t consider working for him anymore even if he decides to pay you he has showed you his true nature to exploit others) but if you want to try and stay the only way you should consider it is to sit down with him asap and I would consider having a friend or support person w you, and let him know you have learned that you can’t work for free any longer- I would phrase it that way, and mention you’ve learned by the way that when a client needs the caregiver ( also applies to nannies) to live in the room you sleep in can’t be counted towards pay, and that you will only be able to go forward if he pays you for this month NOW and will expect to be paid on the first of next month. If he declines inform him you’ll be having to leave in 24 hours and follow through is my advice. If 24 hours feels harsh then think about how harsh it is for you to work for free- you have been paid nothing for 24/7 caregiving by this man— he didn’t have any concern for you this entire time. He has a choice so don’t get suckered into a sob story by him that he needs time to find someone else—- he already has you- he simply like any employer needs to cough up payment and he won’t have to worry about hiring someone else. Phew what a huge jerk— I’m not in the least surprised the other caregiver quit after two months. Pls think of how unfair this is to you and practically speaking, a bed to sleep in doesn’t cover your personal costs and doesn’t reflect the value and importance of caring for a high need senior 7 days a week! If you walk out today he will have a hard time finding anyone to do that - anyone who initially does will likely quit in short amount of time. Live in caregivers earn 20 plus an HOUR. The bed you sleep in doesn’t count. Sorry for the long reply but I’m always incensed at entitled people like him who exploit others
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Reply to Sarah3
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my2cents Jun 22, 2021
I have a feeling this wasn't cut and dry exploiting someone. There has to be a reason someone agrees to do this sort of thing in the beginning - had to be a win in some sort of way. Maybe had no home and someone offered room, board, all the necessities at a time the lady really needed company more than hands on. No one moves in to get free rent without some sort of agreement. Has to be more to the story - from a financial advantage perspective for the person who agreed and moved in.
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