Monday, October 4, 2010

An update on the X's (score one for the Nanny)

Today, in offices somewhere in the Boston area, Mr. and Mrs. X are bemoaning the sickening way their beloved and cherished nanny left them in a lurch. Perhaps they're calling their friends, asking if they can believe her nerve.

Congratulations, Nanny! You found your back bone, and you did it with Hollywood worthy panache.

Let me bring you up to speed: The X's long suffering nanny found a new job, gave her three weeks' notice and showed up for work as usual last week. Then Mrs. X sent her an email, saying she and Mr. X had decided not to pay her for the last week of work.

She went on about how they agonized over this decision, but felt it was the right thing. For everyone!

Why? Well, those X's reasoned that their nanny, whom they professed to "love like family," should forfeit the paid vacation she took (on the X's schedule) last spring. I guess if they'd known she was going to leave them, they would have never given her that week off.


Maybe the X's aren't utterly shameless. They couldn't bring themselves to tell the nanny of their plans to stiff her directly. Instead they informed her that they would dock her pay in an email. In the last line, Mrs. X fired a misjudged warning shot. She argued that since the nanny had used "unearned" bonus/vacation time, she should be happy to work for free for the final week. After all, Mrs. X said, there could be "an even larger range of dollars on the table!"

I promise you, though, that whatever those X's are doing about their child care pickle, they're not forwarding the nanny's response to their friends.

The Little Grape saw a draft of the nanny's last email to Mr. and Mrs. X, and though she was gracious and forthright, she didn't pull any punches.

Because it's a gloomy day and I suspect you all could use a pick me up, here's an early draft of the nanny's email. I have removed all references to dollar figures, as well as the child's name:

Dear Mr. and Mrs. X:

Thank you for your email.

Indeed there is a great deal more money on the table. I have reviewed my records and our contract, which is silent on the subject of overtime and expenses incurred at your request.

At the minimum, you still owe me my normal hourly rate for the entire ski weekend, including overnights. Furthermore, I have done some research into local norms for hourly child care. I feel you need to pay me double the hourly rate for hours worked on Labor Day, as well as for the hours I spent on the ski trip catering for your guests. As we had agreed in advance, Sunday was to be my time off. When you were too intoxicated to receive your guests, I did so without thanks or recompense from you.

You routinely arrived home late without notice, yet you never paid me for the extra hours. I am checking my records and will provide an accounting of the amounts owing.

You required me to buy pricey restaurant meals. I am gathering those receipts and will submit them for reimbursement. You have repeatedly mentioned the pride you take in conducting yourself in a businesslike manner, yet I know of no other employer who requires employees to attend after hours meals without reimbursement.

As a professional courtesy, I gave you notice of my departure. Since, based on your messages, I cannot feel confident that I will be paid in full, I will not be able to come to work anymore.

It has been a privilege to get to know Junior, and I regret I will not be able to say good bye in person. This saddens me, but I realize that because of his age, he will forget me. Any personal farewell would serve to indulge my own emotions rather than his.

Please know that I wish Junior and you all the best.

I will provide a thorough accounting of amounts you owe me in a separate email. I anticipate you will settle our accounts promptly.

Thank you.

Your Nanny

I confess to savoring a bit of schadenfreude as I thought of the X's, scrambling to secure back up child care for the next day, arguing over which of them would call in sick, and maybe, just maybe, experiencing some small epiphany about karma. Our playground sources reported yesterday that they called the nanny repeatedly after receiving her email, but they never once apologized for behaving like nincompoops.

Instead, Mr. and Mrs. X tried to justify their abusive behavior by relying on their "contract," a single page list of rules they'd agreed upon that fateful day when the nanny agreed to take the job. The contract specified a number of vacation days. The X's told the nanny when they gave her an extra week off, that the week was in lieu of a holiday bonus.

And no, for all you lawyers and bean counters reading, the contract said nothing about bonus repayment in the event of nanny's departure.

I'm delighted to report that the Nanny stood her ground. We'll see if her missing pay materializes. If not, I suppose she could always drag the X's to small claims court. I bet the judge would just love these people.

In case you missed the story of the X's the first time around, here's the link:

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