Feb 22 2018

Mary Poppins and the FLSA

By: Reese Mitchell

Posted in: Fair Labor Standards Act


One of the all-time great movies is Disney’s Mary Poppins. In the film, Julie Andrews plays the title character Mary Poppins, a nanny living with the dysfunctional Banks family in London, England. Mary Poppins’ job is to watch over the Banks’ two children, Michael and Jane, but by the end of the movie Mary Poppins brings the entire family together. In the final scene, the Banks family goes to the park and flies a kite as Mary Poppins leaves to help another family.

Even though Mary Poppins brought the Banks together and enjoyed watching Michael and Jane, should the Banks have maintained records of the hours Mary Poppins, who was living at the Banks’ residence, worked and paid her overtime if she worked more than 40 hours a week?

According to the United States Department of Labor, nannies such as Mary Poppins are live-in domestic workers. If the Banks were living in the United States and not England, the Banks would have to keep records of the hours Mary Poppins worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).

The Department of Labor realizes that it is impractical to keep track of an employee’s working hours when they reside with their employer. However, the Banks and Mary Poppins could enter into an employment agreement that substitutes for the FLSA’s recordkeeping requirement. The agreement must establish “the amount of sleeping time, meal time and other periods of complete freedom from all duties when the employee may either leave the premises or stay on the premises for purely personal pursuits.”

The Banks do not need to pay Mary Poppins overtime. Under the FLSA, domestic service workers, such as nannies like Mary Poppins, residing in an employers’ home are exempt from overtime pay. However, the Banks must make sure they pay Mary Poppins at least the federal minimum wages for all the hours she worked for them.

If you have any questions regarding your or the Banks’ responsibilities under the FLSA for nannies or other live-in domestic workers, please contact me at 203-873-0240 or at

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