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Fair pay + board discount?

thanks for the replies

That depends what $16 means where you live. Where I live, minimum wage is now $17.

it’s 14 where I live

How many hours a week, a month, are you working?

That’s a big discount, $300 a month. It’s like being paid an extra $300 per month, regardless of how many hours you work.

Just as an example, if you are working 20 hours per week at $16/an hour, the board discount works out to a extra $3.75 per hour. So it’s like being paid almost $20 per hour.

The calculation can change quite a bit based on your normal work hours. But regardless, a flat $300 per month, no matter how many or few hours you work, is a nice chunk of money. :slight_smile:

Where I live that is a very nice level of pay for ‘unskilled’ hourly work. That is, work that they can teach you to do without previous education in the field.


Are you going to be an independent self employed contractor??.. you will need to pay the government all of your social security and Medicare taxes on the cash wages and the discounted board (15.3%)


From the original post:

So it comes out to an additional $3/hour.

You need to know now if they are going to 1099 you. If so, you’ll have to pay all your taxes on it, out of pocket. At $16 an hour 1099, you’re actually making $13.50 with taxes taken out. It will be about $3200 a year in taxes on those wages alone.

Also, I would have them write a boarding contract for you, for $400, so they’re not crediting you $300 every month. If they agreed to $400 a month, you need a contract that says you’ll pay $400 a month, not one that says $700 with a $300 discount/credit. They could come back on you with that and it could cost you on that 1099.

I’ve been down this road. Advocate for yourself and your fiscal/financial safety. The person I had this agreement with refused repeatedly to amend her boarding contract to reflect the verbal agreement, nor a contract/agreement about wages/hours. I ended up burned bad, and had to leave under bad circumstances, like had to sit in front of my horse’s stall until her ride showed up, because I was afraid the BO would padlock her in her stall, which she was known to do.

CYA and don’t be afraid to say no to the agreement if they refuse to put it in writing in such a way that will protect you.


Can you clarify this, you are getting a discount of $300 off your board AND getting $16 per hour for 25 hours ($400). So essentially you are getting free board for working 25 hours a week?

That $400 would only be for one week. There would still be 3-4 other weeks in the month.

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to add IF you are considered self employed there is the little thing call filing quarterly payments and if a quarterly tax payment deadline is missed/forgotten/overlooked The penalty is 0.5% of the amount unpaid for each month, or part of the month, that the tax isn’t paid .

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$16 an hour is pretty good for barn work.

I’m confused when you say you’re getting 16 an hour cash AND a board discount?

When you say you are being paid cash, is there an implication that it’s “under the table” with no one paying taxes on it?


This actually sounds like a very reasonable to good deal to me when adding up the pay plus the break on board (obviously pay can vary a bit by location). I think $16-20/hr is the respectable range that most workers are getting for basic barn work. Just be cautious regarding the tax implications–when you are self employed you are responsible for paying the employment taxes on the money you earn, and subject to penalties if you fail to do so.

That having been said, I think that fewer and fewer barns are offering “under the table” positions because the penalties for an employer for doing that are pretty stiff.

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I dont think the OP has been back on COTH since this thread started. But there are taxes on both the earnings and the barter .