Going wage for day laborers in Los Angeles

This weekend we need to hire a couple of day laborers to help us move some furniture from a storage facility to our home. What would be an acceptable hourly wage? Or is it customary to pay them for the whole day even if you’re only going to be needing them for about half the day?

FTR there’s an officially sponsored laborers’ center where we plan to go to do the hiring, rather than just hire a couple of the guys that hang around the U-Haul facility hoping for work.

One bump…

I really need to know this, so I hope someone chimes in. It does seem like quite a few people have read the OP.

Can you ask them at this official center?

I don’t know about LA but my guy does this on the weekends. He usually asks for eight bucks and hour and only gets paid for the hours he works. But this is Memphis.

You may want to consider paying them by the job, not the hour.


So you’ll be confirming their legal right to work in the country and paying all applicable taxes, correct?

He’s not legally required to do that in this situation. But perhaps the officially sponsored laborers’ center does it beforehand anyway.

Day laborer centers are just gathering places. They don’t have anything to do with the terms of employment or whether the laborers are here legally.

If Spectre pays them directly, and they turn out to be illegal aliens, he is guilty of a felony. He also has to withhold taxes and make employer contributions to FICA and worker’s comp.

  1. I can hire someone today for my business as a 1099 contract employee. I don’t have to withhold anything. Are day laborers different?

  2. If I hire the guy down the street to cut my lawn, am I also, for him, supposed to find out his status and withhold Federal, State, FICA, and Medicare? If not, why are day laborers who are also hired for a one-off job for a few bucks different?

In any case, the requirements for I-9 are only that an employer has to collect them and make copies of the supporting documents. They don’t have to verify them or examine them with a microscope to prove their authenticity, and are almost never held liable if the documents turn out to be false.

In high school I did yard work for Mrs. Reese, a 72-year-old woman who lived around the corner. She didn’t ask me to prove eligibility to work, or do any FICA, or anything else. She just gave me 10 bucks a day. I guess that makes her guilty of a felony, which seems weird to me.

Cite? Your link does not establish that hiring a person to provide services at a private home on one isolated occasion without checking that person’s immigration status is a felony, or even a violation of the law.

The applicable regultions provide:

Even if this one-time hire violated the law, I read 8 USC 1324(a) as providing for a civil penalty only, unless there is a pattern or practice of violations.

Damn. Forgot disclaimer. Even though IAAL, I’m not your lawyer, and this general information and not reliable legal advice. See a lawyer licensed in your state if this is a real life issue for you. I claim no particular expertise in immigration law. If Eva Luna should post anything that conflicts with my above reply, she is no doubt correct.

One time, second hand, anecdotal evidence:

A co-worker of mine went to hire a couple of day laborers to help him move house. He was hoping to pay about 6-8 dollars an hour. The laborers laughed at him. He asked what they usually get. They said $15 per hour. When he tried to haggle, most of the guys left the scene. The ones who stayed to haggle wouldn’t go below $12 an hour. This happened in Northridge, CA last month.

I thought you must be a corp to have a 1099 contract employee.

I’ve paid $10/hr in San Jose, think I could have gotten someone for $8.00.

For that money they hope to work a full day. If it’s a half-day they would be disappointed, because even if you bring them back to the center or Home Depot, after a certain hour they are unlikely to get any more work. So you might pay them higher per hour for a half day. Straight dealing would mean you would let them know in advance what the job is.

If they work a full day, I’d provide sandwiches and Pepsi or something. Or drive them to a fast food source.

And I don’t believe anyone does paperwork.

Random, I am most definitely NAL, but in this case the courts held that a person who hired “day laborers” (the court’s term) was responsible for FICA and unemployment contributions. You might argue that the “day laborers” in question worked over a period of time at a commercial operation, and therefore are not excepted by 8 CFR 274a1 as “domestic service in a private home”, but I doubt whether the guys Spectre wants to hire are, either. They are not providing their service “in a private home.”

Spectre, what are you going to do if one of these guys throws out his back lifting your baby grand piano? Do you have insurance to cover his bills?

As far as the criminal penalty, that only comes if they’re illegal aliens. That was made clear in my earlier cite, which gives a reference.

Yes, I would.

Also, this case has nothing to do with undocumented aliens or criminal penalties, whether felony or misdemenour. Instead, it relates to tax withholding.

(and your prior cite, while it does relate to the statute beinng discussed, does not support your claim that the hiring of undocumented worker(s) on one day, to move household items to or from a private home, is a felony.)

The exception is specifically “in a private home”. It doesn’t say anything about “to or from”. It doesn’t say “for a private individual.” It seems pretty clear to me, but then again, I didn’t go to law school.

I’m going to take back my $8-$10 hipshot. My cousin tells me that he heard from some contractors that the day-labor guys in Santa Cruz are all asking $15/hr for clean-up work on job sites.

Sorry, no solid cite either way.

I wonder if the guys are getting smart and presenting a united front.

As to paperwork and taxes for a one-day deal, I think it’s too unenforceable for the authorities to spend time on it. “De minimus non curat lex.”–the law does not care about trivia.

drat, what was the limerick about de minimus…