Fair Pay Value
I am a single, retired lady, who would like to find a work-camping exchange situation that is fair and reasonable for the employer and employee. I'm having difficulty understanding how the employer justifies asking for 20 hours a week for living space exchange.
Eighty hours a month at a reasonable $10 per hour would be an exchange value of $800 per month for the RV space. Perhaps the employers are intending minimum wage pay in exchange, which would drop the space value closer to $520 per month. Certainly the work experience of a retiree is worth more than minimum wage.
The no-kill animal shelter that advertises continually in your newsletter, expects 30 hours per week work for married couples (combined), and 20 hours per week for a single person (double that would be 40 hours per week).
Both situations above appear to have unfair pay value. The animal shelter is leaving themselves open to a law suit for discrimination against single people.
Are you able to explain the thinking of the above situations? I'd really like to understand. Thank you.
Coleen, the RVing editor replies:
Volunteer Position or Employment?
Yes, and I hope my explanation will help you understand.
There are two types of work that RVers do. One is paid employment. The other is volunteering. It looks to me that you are confusing the two.
Charitable and educational organizations, non-profits, and government agencies have volunteer programs. The rewards for doing volunteer work within these programs are contributing to society, helping a good cause, and making yourself and your country better. You do volunteer work because it makes you feel good. Sometimes when you do volunteer work you get extra benefits, such as a place to park your RV. Think of the RV site as icing on the cake, not the cake itself.
As for discrimination against singles, I'm no lawyer and don't make any claims to knowing discrimination laws. But, common sense says that a couple living in one RV, sharing one RV space is using fewer resources than two single RVers, each living in separate RVs, and each taking up an RV site. Using the example you gave, why doesn't each person in the couple work only 10 hours a week while the single works 20 per week? Because even though they are only using one RV space, those two people use more electric and other resources than one would.
Looking at it practically, the couple uses more resources than one single, and less resources than two singles in separate RVs. So, the couple works more hours than one single and fewer hours than two singles.
Paid employment is a whole different thing. In some cases there's a barter situation going on, where the employer and employee are trading work for housing and other benefits to the worker. In other situations, living on the employer's property is a condition of the job, for the employer's benefit. I believe the IRS uses fair market value to determine what the RV site is worth. It is also my understanding that regular labor laws apply.
Pay is typically set by the job, not the age of the person doing it. Work experience has value in some jobs and not in others.
Cleaning bathrooms at a campground? The 16-year old with no job experience (and little life experience) can be taught to do that as well as the 60-year old retiree. It is probably a minimum wage position, regardless of the employee's age, experience, education, or other qualifications.