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Mother's Helper Not Paid What Was Promised
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amother




 

Post Wed, Apr 27 2011, 1:25 pm
So my teenage DD took a job as a mother's helper over Pesach, helping with a few kids at a large home in a resort community. A lot of reasons, but basically she likes to travel and see new places, so this was a good way to make a little money at the same time. We checked out the family with the local rosh yeshiva, who vouched for them. They offered to pay her $1000 for the week.

DD felt uncomfortable with the family, but the bubbe who hired her never told her that she had any complaints or wanted DD to do things differently. The kids were complete brats, including a 3 yo who regularly hit, bit, and threw toys at DD. The housekeeper and cook also gave DD lots of jobs to do.

After Yom Tov, the bubbe told my DD that they were very disappointed and that she wasn't going to pay her. DD asked for specifics, but the woman gave her a runaround and changed the topic no matter what DD said. Finally this morning, she agreed to give DD $500 so that she "wouldn't go home with nothing."

DH is going to call the woman, but she's a very tough BP businesswoman, and we don't expect to get very far. Should we take this to a din Torah? Does this happen often? My older DDs have done this kind of thing and never had such an experience. I'm also going to let the rosh yeshiva know -- even if he can't do anything about it, I want him to know what happened.

Any thoughts on what to do to get the extra $500 that was promised?

I wouldn't get involved if this woman had told my DD at the time what she was doing wrong or even fired her because it wasn't working out. but it's like they used her all Pesach and then made up how to get out of paying what they promised.
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shoshina




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Apr 27 2011, 1:35 pm
Your DH calling is a good first step. Suggesting small claims court is a second step. Reminding this "tough" businesswoman that undocumented household help is illegal if you do not pay benefits is an interesting third step, particularly depending on the status of the cook and housekeeper.
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jflower




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Apr 27 2011, 1:40 pm
shoshina, you're a genius. I love your last suggestion and hope it works.

OP, pls let us know what happens. I'm so sorry that you're going thru this.
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saraleah2010




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Apr 27 2011, 1:46 pm
I suggest also documenting each discussion with this woman--Have your daughter write down what happened, and have your DH refer to it in his conversation with the woman. Then, after he speaks to her, he should follow on with an e-mail:

"as we discussed today on the phone, here is what you agreed to: $1,000 for the week...

Here is now what you say you will pay..."

Get it in writing so she is forced to dispute it on paper... Small claims court will want evidence.
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o'mom




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Apr 27 2011, 1:50 pm
Did they have a written contract? That would get you places.
Cuz judging from their brazen actions, they may just as well deny the whole story.
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shoshina




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Apr 27 2011, 1:53 pm
Not having a written contract will get them in even more trouble for having undocumented labor. The RY will be able to attest that they were looking for someone and anyone in the community can vouch that she was there. I realize a lot of frum finance IS off the books, but lets remember that it's technically illegal and it can't be used as an excuse to get free labor out of a teenager! The chutzpah!
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1Life2Live




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Apr 27 2011, 1:59 pm
wow, I can't even believe what I'm reading. I feel so bad for your daughter. I *hate* when people take advantage of others.
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amother




 

Post Wed, Apr 27 2011, 2:23 pm
OP here. There was no written contract. It would have seemed like too much at the time. The bubbe checked out DD's references and got really great reports.

We would go through bais din before going to small claims court. The woman owns well-known stores in BP and Flatbush, so we're hoping she doesnt' want the embarrassment of a whole din Torah. She probably doesn't embarrass too easily though!
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Barbara




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Apr 27 2011, 2:25 pm
shoshina wrote:
Your DH calling is a good first step. Suggesting small claims court is a second step. Reminding this "tough" businesswoman that undocumented household help is illegal if you do not pay benefits is an interesting third step, particularly depending on the status of the cook and housekeeper.


They're re going to narc her out to the IRS? Because the tax status of those other employees is completely irrelevant to any claim that the daughter has.

And while we're at it, was the OP's daughter expecting to report the income and pay taxes?

I would have an adult call, and say in no uncertain terms that OP's daughter did the work expected of her, and more, and expects to be paid the full sum. If she's not paid, that she will (I) go to a beit din; (ii) go to small claims court; and/or (iii) ensure that anyone else who might be tempted to babysit for them is made aware that they don't pay.
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amother




 

Post Wed, Apr 27 2011, 2:38 pm
Barbara wrote:
They're re going to narc her out to the IRS? Because the tax status of those other employees is completely irrelevant to any claim that the daughter has.


I doubt if we would do this. There are halachic problems with turning in a fellow Jew. We would go thru a bais din and follow their advice. I know there are times when you are allowed to turn someone in, but you have to get permission from the bais din first.

And while we're at it, was the OP's daughter expecting to report the income and pay taxes?

Barbara wrote:
(iii) ensure that anyone else who might be tempted to babysit for them is made aware that they don't pay.


THis is probably closer to our goal. For sure our daughter should get the money, but even she feels that the biggest thing is to make sure that other teenagers don't fall into the same trap with this family.
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amother




 

Post Wed, Apr 27 2011, 2:45 pm
OP again. I guess I just want to make sure that I'm not being one of those mothers who think her kid is perfect no matter what. My DD has a great reputation as a babysitter and she earns a lot of money because she can handle large groups of pretty wild kids.

So I'm not saying she did everything exactly perfect. Maybe she didn't or maybe she just didn't do things the way they wanted. Whatever. But I really feel they should have told her if she wasn't doing what they wanted or even just have fired her if she just didn't fit in or relate to the kids. It just seems wrong to have kept her all week without saying anything and then cut her pay at the end.
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ora_43




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Apr 27 2011, 2:51 pm
OP, you're not wrong. Even if your dd was doing a bad job, she'd still have every right to the pay they promised. If you don't like an employee's work the only options are to fire them or keep them on regardless, there's no "make them work but you don't have to pay."

I hope your dd gets her money, and that this other woman learns her lesson.
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Isramom8




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Apr 27 2011, 3:00 pm
Ditto. If they kept her and she babysat the kids, she has to be paid. If they didn't think she was good at her job then they should have let her go at that point.

The extra help in the kitchen etc. - I don't think she can demand extra for it, but that is irrelevant. She was promised $1000 for staying on for the amount of time she did, and that is what she should be paid.

The deal sounds like it was: "You will help us out before Pesach (tasks unspecified and unclear) and we will pay $1000." She stayed the whole time and helped out, so she gets paid.
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amother




 

Post Wed, Apr 27 2011, 3:03 pm
I once had a situation where I was working, and being paid hourly for a specific job. When I quit (with notice) the person didn;t want to pay me the remainder of what I was owed and used every excuse in the book to not pay me (that I was over billing, that I acted unethically, that I hadn't been doing a good job etc...) We ended up having an attorney write an official letter threatening further action if the balance was not submitted in full by X date. I ended up getting the money (though not without some back and forth and some serious slander on their part). I don't think anyone wants to risk legal action for such a relatively small amount of money. We didn't even pay an attorney, but just asked a favor from a friend.
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shoshina




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Apr 27 2011, 3:07 pm
Barbara, I wasn't saying the IRS, I was saying to file a complaint to the department of Labor under NY's Nanny Law. This applies to everyone working in someones home, even including illegal immigrants and includes such provisions as 14 days notice of termination (at least the original bill did I do not know if it made it to the law itself). So even if she did a horrific job, legally, she's entitled to 14 days of compensation. The other provision is against "casual" babysitters, but if she was in their home for a full week, that's hardly casual.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04......html

Now, really, a big businesswoman should not make this big a stink over $1000 she owes to a teenager who has ALREADY given up Pesach with her family to be with this person and cannot get that back even if she wanted to!
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chocolate chips




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Apr 27 2011, 3:27 pm
I feel really bad for your dd...she put herself out, through pesach for this family and now they aren't paying her?!!

I was a regular mother's helper when I was growing up and if I didn't get paid the amount I was told I would get my parents would step in but bh it didn't happen often.
I would suggest you speak to the rav who vouched for this family and ask him what step to take next...
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Isramom8




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Apr 27 2011, 3:31 pm
I don't really get the arrangement. The matriarch-bubby-businessperson hired your dd to be a general nanny for all the extended families over Pesach in a big house, and then they asked her to do kitchen and cleaning help too?
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Pickle Lady




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Apr 27 2011, 3:35 pm
Isramom8 wrote:
Ditto. If they kept her and she babysat the kids, she has to be paid. If they didn't think she was good at her job then they should have let her go at that point.

The extra help in the kitchen etc. - I don't think she can demand extra for it, but that is irrelevant. She was promised $1000 for staying on for the amount of time she did, and that is what she should be paid.

The deal sounds like it was: "You will help us out before Pesach (tasks unspecified and unclear) and we will pay $1000." She stayed the whole time and helped out, so she gets paid.


Thumbs Up Thumbs Up
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amother




 

Post Wed, Apr 27 2011, 3:52 pm
Isramom8 wrote:
I don't really get the arrangement. The matriarch-bubby-businessperson hired your dd to be a general nanny for all the extended families over Pesach in a big house, and then they asked her to do kitchen and cleaning help too?


OP here.

Right. They have this home in a resort area and the whole family comes for Pesach. There were two adult families visiting with five kids, including two babies. They had a nanny for the two babies and DD was supposed to watch and play with the other kids. One of the adult families was very nice, but the other was not very nice. The mother had some very bizarre parenting ideas which I won't go into. Her 3 yo was very spoiled and the mother refused to believe that her little princess would misbehave. This is the child who kicked, bit, and threw toys.

Update: My DH called the woman who hired DD, the bubbe, and she claims that DD apologized for doing such a bad job and agreed to accept $500. We're definitely trying to reach the rav.
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amother




 

Post Wed, Apr 27 2011, 3:55 pm
Isramom8 wrote:
The extra help in the kitchen etc. - I don't think she can demand extra for it, but that is irrelevant. She was promised $1000 for staying on for the amount of time she did, and that is what she should be paid.


OP again. DD is for sure not trying to get extra money. She was trying to help out when she wasn't busy doing something else. She thought it showed a good attitude and willingness to pitch in. The bubbe goes back and forth between saying that DD "didn't do anything" and "did a bad job".
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