When you work at home, you’re often not viewed as “working.” Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom (SAHM) or a work-at-home mom (WAHM) like many bloggers, people assume you are off taking tennis lessons, reading the latest Architectural Digest or having your nails done. Some SAHMs even say (apologetically) that they don’t “work” when in fact that’s all they do.
When I came across a California employment attorney’s list Top Ten Reasons Employers Owe Their Current and Former Employees Money, I could only think all of the ways my family owes me money… big time.
1. Meal Breaks
I remember the days when I could actually sit down for dinner. I’m not talking about eating, mind you, but just sitting down. Now, if my rear end even touches the chair, one of my kids undoubtedly will need something. Immediately.
2. Rest Breaks
When I worked at an office, I used to be able to take rest breaks. Or at least bathroom breaks. Now I have an audience of two boys along with the dog. When did peeing become a team sport?
In most civil situations, if you work overtime you are compensated. Even salaried workers are compensated with the understanding of their hours and level of work. If I say I’m going to play Pokemon cards for a half an hour, when that time is up, I should be done. And yet, these little managers of mine insist on more time. It doesn’t matter if it’s XBOX, reading or playing building blocks, it seems I’m always putting in more time than promised.
Misclassification is when a company treats you like an employee but pays you like a contractor. In the end, you lose out on all of those extra benefits the company owes you. I certainly put in the blood, sweat and tears of an employee. My laundry room, office and kitchen are provided. I am obviously an “employee” of the household. Where is my 401K? Where are my perks, like ½ day Fridays and Nespresso coffee? I’m thinking I may be misclassified even in my own house, not as a contractor or employee but indentured servant.
Discrimination is a serious issue in the workforce, and homes are no different. My boys claim that Mom is the only one who can fix boo-boos, cook and fold their underwear. Why? Because I’m the mom, that’s why? They also understand I’m the one who fixes the toilet, mows the lawn and has a tool bench in the basement, so we’re making progress.
6. Working Off-The-Clock
Working off-the-clock is a sneaky way for employers to get extra work out of you without paying. As a high schooler, I worked at a grocery store where they would round down your time to the nearest 15 minutes. They got a lot of free hours out of me. Once I had kids, I thought I would be “off the clock” when the children went to bed. Not so! Instead I have little leprechauns sneaking downstairs and tiptoeing into my bedroom in the middle of the night for extra cuddles. When do I finally get to be off the clock and not billed for it?
7. Medical & Family Leave
When was the last time you got to take a sick day? A true, honest-to-goodness sick day? This week I was out with a sinus infection while my youngest had a viral infection (aka fever). Oh. And I’m still waiting for school to start for my healthy first grader. Yep. There are absolutely no sick days in this house. Seems there should be a clause written into my contract on that one.
In many states, your employer is required to pay you on time. This requirement is mostly ignored in my house. If the number of times I have to tell my kids to put on their shoes is any indication, I’m in trouble.
Did you know managers and supervisors are not allowed to share in your tips? Now tell me the last time you had an ice-cream cone without sharing. That new nail polish you just bought? Is it on your four-year-old’s toes? Tips in this house don’t go to the worker. They seem to be spread out among all of the inhabitants.
10. Wrongful Termination
I’d managed to avoid wrongful termination for quite some time. But earlier this year, I heard the dreaded sentence. No, not “you’re fired!” It was: “I hate you.” Kablam! There’s nothing worse than being fired over something that (1) you are right about and (2) you are right about. I know it goes with the territory, but still. It doesn’t seem right.
Ah, who am I kidding. As much as I may be a disgruntled employee, I’m not a disgruntled mom at the end of the day. However, a paid vacation couldn’t hurt.
Tell me, how much money do you think your family owes you?
Oh. And if you want to see the attorney’s press release, click here.