What is an acceptable pay rate for an adult family home?

2 answers | Last updated: Oct 17, 2016
Hvnstmpst asked...

Hello, My daughter just started working in an adult family home for people with special needs. She is being paid $66.00 a shift and the shift runs from 5:30 pm to 11:30 am so she is basicly making about 3.66 hour. We live in the state of Washington. Is this legal? Shouldnt she be making at least minimum wage? I mean after taxes she will almost be working for free. Any advice would be great. Thank you.

Community Answers

St in seattle answered...

After a discussion with people in the field, here is what we found out (Please read the entire extract):

The AFH Provider must pay minimum wage, under state law. There is a ton of good information available at the Labor & Industries website, including this document that goes into specifics: http://www.lni.wa.gov/WorkplaceRights/files/policies/esa1.pdf

My guess is that the Provider in question somehow thinks the worker could be exempted under one of the 3 exceptions to the MWA (minimum wage act of 1998): (b) Casual Laborers: Any individual "employed in casual labor in or about a private home" unless the labor is performed in the course of the employer’s trade, business, or profession. Casual refers to employment that is irregular, uncertain or incidental in nature and duration. This must be determined on a case-by-case basis by looking at the scope, duration and continuity of employment. Employment that is intended to be permanent in nature is not casual, and is not exempt, regardless of the type of work performed. Employment of housekeepers, caregivers, or gardeners on a regular basis is not considered"employed in casual labor" and such workers may be subject to the protections of the MWA.


from the same document listed above:

(j) Individuals whose duties require they reside or sleep at their place of employment or who otherwise spend a substantial portion of their work time subject to call.

This exemption encompasses two categories of workers: (1) Those individuals whose duties require that they reside or sleep at their place of employment, and (2) Those individuals who otherwise spend a substantial portion of work time subject to call and not engaged in the performance of active duties.

(1) Reside or sleep: Employees whose job duties require them to reside at the place of employment exempt from both the minimum wage and overtime requirements. Merely residing or sleeping at the place of employment does not exempt individuals from the Minimum Wage Act. In order for individuals to be exempt, their duties must require that they sleep or reside at the place of their employment. An agreement between the employee and employer for the employee to reside or sleep at the place of employment for convenience or merely because housing is available at the place of their employment would not meet the exemption.

So it would appear that if the AFH is having the caregiver sleep overnight, and thus might be exempt from the MWA.

Many of these provisions are on a case-by-case basis, as noted in the L&I document. Anyone concerned ought to contact the nearest L&I office right away to ensure the caregiver is not being taken advantage of. http://www.lni.wa.gov/Main/ContactInfo/OfficeLocations/

A fellow caregiver answered...

Minimum wages are usually required, but more may have to be paid to find good personnel to care for your loved ones.

The situation you describe seems to be below legal requirements. To attract good people you have to pay the $$$$$. $8.50 to 10.50 is not out of line in the southeast, and an agency is appreciably more,