What do you think if your mom makes you work for free?

@Lxandra79 (1536)
United States
April 23, 2009 9:27am CST
My mom has been lying to me! I work with my mother for over 2 years now, but I don't get paid. She says that because I live free under her room and eat for free she doesn't have to pay me. I have a son who lives with me, and I cant buy him anything, he goes to school with 2nd hand clothing n its driving me nuts! I accidentally told my bf about my mom not paying me because when I met him I told him that she did pay me. He is a student and he is studying to be a lawyer and he told me that she is pretty much doing something very Illegal and she could go to jail for this! I am pretty much a slave. What do you think about this??
3 people like this
28 responses
@owlwings (39229)
• Cambridge, England
23 Apr 09
Reading through what others have written and your responses (and having checked that you live in the US), it seems to me that you are well within your rights to demand payment for your work - at least the minimum wage, which I believe varies from state to state but is around $8 an hour, I think. Of course, in return, you should, of course, offer to pay board and lodging to keep it fair and square. Find out what sort of rates you would expect to pay in a hostel or look at the rental rates in your area and work something out between you. It may, of course, be that when you take food and lodging into account, there is not a great deal owing but that is something you will have to arrange between you - and I don't anticipate it being an easy thing to do! The important thing to do is to get your facts and figures straight and to know exactly what you (and your mom) are entitled to. Be strong but not aggressive - remember that your mom has rights too and, by the sound of it, has not had an easy life herself. Nevertheless, she still owes it to you to be fair about your wages and your keep. Taking her to court is really the last resort though you should take all the advice you can get - it is worth speaking to someone from your local Citizen's Advice Center.
2 people like this
@jayrene (2713)
• Philippines
23 Apr 09
your mom does has a point you know... since you are staying with her, and your child too... the expenses are all on her. but it is really unfair of her, she should've have given you some amount for the work you're doing. why dont you talk it out with her, tell her everything, be honest about how you feel with the situation, change may happen. but if it doesnt happen and you're still not getting paid, then in my opinion it would be better for you to move out. but think about it, where will you and your child go?, food, rent, utility bills, you'll be having all these problems to think about too, and what if you cant find a job?
1 person likes this
@Lxandra79 (1536)
• United States
23 Apr 09
I guess you didnt read what I wrote to the others, and what I have posted. I am going to move out with my bf soon. Read before you say something.
@jayrene (2713)
• Philippines
24 Apr 09
ok, sorry, i have one or 2 comments from your post, and i must've missed the one where you said you're going to move out and live with your bf. but by golly, you dont have to be rude, i find your reply as such... you could've included in your discussion that you're going to move out and live with your bf in the first place anyway... that would've made my response a little different. anyway, good luck to you... and i still hope you find a good job for yourself and child.
@jayrene (2713)
• Philippines
24 Apr 09
ok sorry... i have read some of the responses from your discussion and i must've missed that part where you said you'll be moving out with your bf. but by golly, you dont have to be rude, i find your reply as such... you could've included in your discussion that you are moving with your bf, my reply would've been different. and besides, does all the people here read ALL the responses to a discussion started, i bet not. especially when the response are many. anyway, i still hope you find a good job for yourself and your kid. good luck
@nzalheart (2352)
• India
23 Apr 09
Hello Lxandra79, Sad to hear about this. Well you have totally different society than ours. How can a mother behave her child like a slave. This is not fair and I got really amazed hearing this this. In our case, we live together in a joint family. And every family member has love and care for each other. As a guy lived up in these circumstances, I can't suggest you to take action against her going to the court or something like that. I don't how you are living. If you are living in the house together as a family you can't demand for the salary with your mother. It's not fair. But if you are living there like a slave and only to work is also not fair. If you don't have house, then you may live in the same house. But why don't you go to work in other places for your money and simultaneous do some housework. I don't know this sound logical to you or not. But this is what that happens here... The best thing you should do is find a nice job... Keep mylotting...Good luck...
1 person likes this
@Lxandra79 (1536)
• United States
23 Apr 09
We are living in the house together. You say that I should find another job, thats easy to say because Ive been wanting that for sooo long! But she wont let me because she says I have to help her.
@nzalheart (2352)
• India
23 Apr 09
Yes it is easy to give suggestions, but may be difficult to implement. I agree with you. If you can't get a job unless you live in that house with your mother, and if you want a happier life, then you should leave the house. There is no other way. I don't know, why don't you live with your boyfriend. Living in the house just working and working without getting any money and moreover without the freedom of working outside, its just like you are imprisoned. Your mother is the jailer and you are the prisoner. I can't suggest more than this.... May God bless you!!!!!
1 person likes this
@Lxandra79 (1536)
• United States
23 Apr 09
I would live with my bf if he had his own place, but right now he is living with me in my moms house. His dad is going to help us, and we moving to his place in MD....in a few weeks...Hopefully!
@Drumman (305)
• United States
23 Apr 09
Why don't you quit, move out, and get another job?
1 person likes this
@Lxandra79 (1536)
• United States
23 Apr 09
Im guessing you didnt read what I have posted up before u posted on here. I really dont want to repeat myself..and like i told the others...my mom wont let me quit cuz she says I have to work with her till she finds another person to hire. But with the economy so low, she says might as well just have me cuz of course I dont get paid.
@Drumman (305)
• United States
24 Apr 09
Uhhh, well if you're moving in with your bf then what's the problem? Anyway, I don't think you understand what I'm saying. I meant quit...as in right now. What do you mean your mom won't let you? It's not up to her. It's up to you, just quit. Then move out and get another job or get another job first then move out, works either way.
@Lxandra79 (1536)
• United States
24 Apr 09
i understand perfectly, and like I said...I cant.
• Denmark
23 Apr 09
Was it an idear to make an agreement with her that you start paying for rent and food, and that she start paying you for your work? :) Rent, house hold and so on is not cheap :) But maybe you'd be lucky that you would have a little left when you have paid the rent? :)
1 person likes this
@Lxandra79 (1536)
• United States
23 Apr 09
What are you talking about? Who said anything about rent?
• Denmark
25 Apr 09
I believe it is fair if you live at her place that you pay rent... :) Just as fair as she must pay you for your work :) I asume that it is the reason she does not pay you, because you live at her place... or am I wrong? :)
@kprofgames (3018)
• United States
23 Apr 09
Just so I understand this, are you just keeping house, cleaning and cooking meals? OR does your mother have a business and you are working for her and she is not paying you?
1 person likes this
@Lxandra79 (1536)
• United States
23 Apr 09
Yes its the 2nd 1 My mom has a cleaning business and since my parents seperated she has me cleaning. Which i Hate!
• United States
23 Apr 09
Okay, I"m sorry to add to your frustration, but your mother is taking advantage of you. In all honestly, what she is doing is illegal. You can't have a worker working for free. If she wants to enclude room and board in there then she has to file tax credits on that. Is she? I don't think so. What I would suggest is you and your son finding your own place. If she wants you to continue to work for her, she has to pay you for the work that you do. It's a fact and she knows that as a business owner. I'm sorry. It sucks when family is involved, but if you are going to work for her, she needs to pay you or she is honestly subject to a lawsuit.
@earnnings (1299)
• India
23 Apr 09
I am sorry for you. Say no to slavery and move immediately out from the house along with your kid so that atleast you will have the freedom to look over your child according to your wish and you can fulfill your wishes. I think this would be the better way. This case is somewhat peculiar as it deals with you and your mom's relation. So, my advice is don't go to court or cops. Because you feel that you are being treated as slave by your mom its better to put a fullstop to the wrong action taking please. Take a house which is simple enough for you and your kid and start working somewhere else with the talent and effort you have. Initially you may not have money, so take help from your BF and other well-wishers. I hope surely they will help you and you can make your child feel better and also grow in a healthy environment. ALL THE BEST
1 person likes this
@Lxandra79 (1536)
• United States
23 Apr 09
yes thanx, thats what my bf tends to do and take me away from my moms place. So I can start fresh, and give my kids some new clothes :)
1 person likes this
@earnnings (1299)
• India
23 Apr 09
not only clothes you will able to give then better life which every mother thinks of. But i am sad that your mom is very careless and she don't have any heart-feeling towards you..
1 person likes this
@SomeCowgirl (32270)
• United States
23 Apr 09
I don't really know what to say. She gave birth to you and you are under her roof so she has a right to not pay you, but at the same time if you filled out paperwork etc, tax information for her then she should legally pay you, I believe. I think that you need to talk to your mom and tell her how you feel, especially if you have filed paperwork with her / tax information. She could get in trouble (I Believe) if you have filed paperwork as she's not reporting paying you and your not reporting taxes so you could get in trouble... ummm sorry if this sounds really confusing. I'd also mention, and only if your willing to, that you'd pay rent to stay with her if she'd only pay you.
1 person likes this
@Lxandra79 (1536)
• United States
23 Apr 09
She actually puts me on her taxes saying that she pays me, and thats when my bf got pissed because that is WAY more Illegal!
1 person likes this
@SomeCowgirl (32270)
• United States
23 Apr 09
Okay yea, that is really illegal and I think that it's wrong that she does that. She needs to know it's illegal and that she could go to jail. You could get pissed at her one day and then report her, and while you may feel guilty afterwards it wouldn't matter, she'd be in trouble.
1 person likes this
@lingli_78 (12845)
• Australia
23 Apr 09
this is a difficult situation... it really depends on the agreement... if she agrees to pay you from the first and you sign a paperwork and contract for it, then your mum legally must abide by it and pay you accordingly... why you are waiting for so long (over 2 years) to complain about this matter??? why you didn't bring up this matter sooner with her and stop working for her as soon as you know that she is not paying you??? anyway, good luck... i hope things will be sorted out for you soon... take care and have a nice day...
1 person likes this
@Lxandra79 (1536)
• United States
23 Apr 09
I didnt find out that this was illegal untill recently till my bf told me.
• United States
23 Apr 09
It is kind of a trade. She supports you and your son and you help her with her work. If you and your son live free of rent, utility bills, food, etc under her roof, it seems to me that if she paid you plus let you live bill free then you would be taking advantage of her. I do understand that it stinks to be working a job that you don't even like without getting a bit of spending money, but how is she supposed to support both of you if you take a wage from her? I would seriously suggest that you get a regular job somewhere so that you will both have your own money, even if it's only part time. I don't think I would suggest getting all upset about it and trying to just get up and leave if your finances won't support you doing that. Look at it from her point of view. If you lived alone, worked, and paid your bills and food and had a friend and her son move in with you that you paid bills and food for, would you feel good about her working with you and you paying her to work plus covering all of her bills and food?
1 person likes this
@Lxandra79 (1536)
• United States
23 Apr 09
like i said in the other posts, I would LOVE to just leave and walk out and really get a job. But I cant, thats the thing...she wont let me.
• United States
24 Apr 09
I think its kinda a touchy topic. Some moms would agree with your mom and some would agree with you. Yes she did give birth to you and you do live free or have lived free but in my opinion thats what motherhood is, no one pays you to keep your children when they are younger so why when they are older should they pay you?!?! But on the other hand you are working for her so she should be paying you because you are an employee. Its not fair to you to be working just to stay there and eat, if thats they case tell her to start paying you and you can go elsewhere and pay rent. Or both of you come up with an amount that you can pay her to stay there that seems resonable because while your mother is responsible to provide for you she is not really responsible to pay for your child, you are. Let her pay you and then you pay her for living there. Good luck!!
1 person likes this
@wahmivy (778)
• Philippines
24 Apr 09
I think she should pay you, and then you should give some back to her as your contribution. It should be an amount that would cover rent, utilities, food, etc. The thing is, you're an adult and while it's expected of your mother to help you out when you hit a bad patch, you're supposed to do everything you can to be independent again. If she's sustaining you and your son, it would be very hard to demand anything. Obviously, we can't see the complete picture here, but from what you described, it sounds like the solution is to get your independence back. Hope everything works out for you. Btw, there's nothing wrong with secondhand clothes.
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Apr 09
I think that she needs to be paying you something. Surely a room and board deduction is in order, but she must understand that people have other needs. I would say that if it continues, you would be better off moving out and working elsewhere. It will be tough, but at least you will have some money for your child. It is not fair to him to go without things.
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Apr 09
Wow, this sounds like where I might be (minus the kids) in a few years if I don't break away from my mother. My mother owns a commercial cleaning business and she bought it four years ago. When she bought it though, it was not in the contract that I would have to help her free of charge just so that she woulnd't have to pay other people to work for her. Problem is, now I'm stuck with it, and if I leave then I'm putting her in a hole so I understand your problem. I just turned 18 a week ago and now I want to go to a trade school and go to American Idol this year but if I do anything, she always reminds me that I have to help her and that she raised me and sacrificed alot of things just for me, so in other words, I need to sacrifice the prime years that I have to make something of myself, just for her. What I plan to do is just sit down and talk with her. You should do the same with your mom. Just tell her that if she does not start paying you then you will discontinue any work with her and move out with your boyfriend. Remind her that what she is doing is illegal and threaten her with a little number of what the minimum sentence is for what she is doing. Explain to her that you have a life AND a kid that you have to support and provide a good lifestyle and childhood for. Tell her that there is no way that you can become independent and you DO NOT plan to be in her house forever so either she pays you at least half or a quarter of the money she owes you so that you can start saving up and get out on you own, or you will leave immediately with your boyfriend the first chance you get and ya'll relationship could be lost forever. Oh I guarantee you she will be upset, but think about all the time you have been upset and you are just staying in one place not making any progress with you or your son's life just staying there and accepting those conditions. You HAVE to give her an ultimatum. I planned this out with my mother as well so I hope all goes well with you AND myself. I wish the best of luck for both of us lol. God Bless you and your son.:)
• United States
23 Apr 09
I think business is business and your mother should pay you. and you have a son to take care of and you need personal things yourself. and it is illegal for her not to pay you. the hard part is she is your mom, and if she feels because you are living under her roof for free she don't owe you anything she is wrong, maybe she should charge you rent, but she really needs to pay you.
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Apr 09
If you have a son that you have to care for then you should definitely be getting paid. I have a friend whose family takes advantage of her saying that they house and feed her and I to a point think that they have the right but she is also only 19 and does not have a child plus her family allows her boyfriend to stay as well. With a child to care for and especially if she claims to pay you on her taxes - you SHOULD DEFINITELY be getting paid.
1 person likes this
@kareng (7980)
• United States
23 Apr 09
Your boyfriend is correct. You should try to get out from under her roof and find another job! You could try talking to her and tell her that you will be doing that unless she starts paying you, but it sounds like your mother has a chip on her shoulder. Good luck!
@sid556 (31005)
• United States
24 Apr 09
I don't know about it being illegal but it is definitely morally wrong. You need to quit working for mom and get a job that will pay you a decent wage. Then you can pay mom room and board and still have money left in your pocket. Next you need to look into signing up for an apartment for you & your son that bases the rent on your income. I do get that you are living with your mom and if she is not charging you rent or food...she should pay less but still....you should get paid. How many hours a week do you work for her and what do you do?
@Lxandra79 (1536)
• United States
24 Apr 09
It actually is Illegal, everyone else agrees with me. I did find out.
@sid556 (31005)
• United States
25 Apr 09
It may well be illegal. I have some questions tho to help me better understand this. I have daughters that have helped me out in the past in exchange for room and board. I'm just trying to understand. How many hours a week do you work for her? What kind of work do you do? Who watches your son while you work? Who pays for your son's care while you work? How long before you will be moving in with your boyfriend? Does the boyfriend pay for rent, food utilitys? Does the father pay child support? A lot of questions I know and I appologize if you answered them in other posts earlier. I did read thru the posts and didn't see these questions answered but could have missed.
1 person likes this
@pmcepe (194)
• Philippines
26 Apr 09
My culture is different from yours and in our country it is unthinkable to send a mother to jail. Maybe we are just more understanding, even subservient, but we know that if it is really that bad, our option is to leave the situation.... or endure until there is a better option. The topic description is misleading because based on your story I can't say you are working for free, per se.
@Lxandra79 (1536)
• United States
26 Apr 09
well for your info, I didnt say nothing about puttin my mom in jail. I just said that this is against the law and if I did which im NOT! she can get 25 years in jail. why would i even do that to my own mother, thats just ridiculous!
@trina48D (88)
• United States
25 Apr 09
Did you sign a contract with your mother when you started working for her? From what you say she is paying you with free housing and free food. If you didn't sign a work agreement she does not owe you. If you don't like the arrangement get a real job move out and pay for your housing and food. You could arrange for her to pay you so that you can pay her for your rent and buy your own food.
@Lxandra79 (1536)
• United States
25 Apr 09
You dont need contracts to work with someone. And if u didnt know, this is Illegal, even if she is my mom. You say get another job, but it aint that easy cuz she wont let me. And that aint right.