Insufficient Funds

opinion 1
Hi everyone... So let me explain my situation. I've been working for this family for about a year and a half and I really enjoy this job and the kids. However within the last couple of days, some things have caught my attention. Yesterday I learned that the paycheck I deposited over the weekend bounced, leaving me in the negative. Then, while I was at the house getting ready to pick up my charges from school, one of the many services that my bosses hire came to the house to let us know that the most recent credit card payment my bosses made had been declined.

Also, on my first day of work this week my boss told me that I would need to use my car for the time being to pick up the children because the car they let me use was being serviced. However, yesterday when I had some alone time with one of my charges he informed me that over the weekend a tow truck came and took the car away, and how his mom had argued with the tow truck guy. Therefore, I'm pretty sure the car is not being serviced. Later in the evening I asked my boss when the car would be back (I'm not really supposed to use my car for work purposes) and she quickly responded "I don't know". Then while (I thought) my charges were distracted I quickly mentioned how I was informed that their credit card had been declined. Immediately, the oldest boy, who has a knack for "overhearing" things, chimed in and said "yea mom, I tried to order something the other day but it said that your card had been declined." Boss Mom replied "oh, I have to check which card is on file, it was probably the expired one," and the boy said "No, I checked, it definitely wasn't the expired one," and then Boss Mom tried to change the subject.

I haven't mentioned the bounced check to her yet because I'd rather do it in person and when my charges are not around. I know it may be just my imagination, but part of me is very concerned. She has her own business but I know that it hasn't been doing too well lately. I just get confused because I'm pretty sure her husband is doing very well financially. Should I be concerned? Should I look for a new job? Thanks!


Nanny who loves her career!! said...

Despite everything- make sure you document all your hours, pay. I hope u have a contract. If not- you better make one. One bounced check is bad enough. It will only go from there. And, if things, don't improve, Not knowing the financial situation, you may want to concern sitting down, talk with them, and be prepared with finding another position. Good Luck!

another nanny said...

The thing is, even if dad is doing well financially, you really have no idea where that money is going. Maybe they have a lot of debt, maybe they are spending outside their means with all these services they hire.
I would ask them to pay you in cash. Try to be nonchalant about it, like it was probably just a fluke that the check bounced, but that you are currently in the negative on your bank account, so you really the funds right away. If they don't deliver, you will have your answer.
If they can't pay you, then yes, you should absolutely look for a new job.

Truth Seeker said...

Whoa!! There are so many red flags here OP.

Since the check bounced and your are in the negative in your account, I would ASAP tell the parents. See what they say. If they are sincerely sorry, they will pay you in cash NOW since you are owed the money NOW. Also, I wouldn't work any more days/hours for them until you get your money from the bounced check or they may soon owe you much much more. From now on, make sure they pay you in cash only or quit.

Another thing is that they are lying to you. That in itself is a huge problem to me. MomBoss is lying to you about this and that, imagine what other things she is lying to you about, etc. I personally couldn't work for a liar, but that is just me.'

I advise you to get your money from the bounced check, have a heart to heart w/MomBoss...then if you think there's hope, try to make things work. However, since they are already lying to you now, all trust is already broken and if I were in your shoes, I would have no choice but to leave.

I hope things work out for you in your next job. This family sounds just too shady to me.

ELam said...

Wow, this is an awkward situation. I'm sorry you're stuck in the middle of it. The parents are probably really embarrassed about not being able to pay their bills, but the fact of the matter is they have a household employee who is relying on them.

You need to bring up the bounced check ASAP and I agree with the poster who said to request cash payment so that the funds are available right away so you can pay your bills as you are now 1-2 weeks behind because of the bounced check.

Don't be surprised if you are suddenly let go due to them not being able to afford you any longer. I'd start looking at more reliable job prospects, good luck!

Manhattan Nanny said...

Why on earth haven't you told them about the bounced check?! You need to tell MB tomorrow morning that the check bounced and because your account is in the negative as a result, you need the money in cash, plus the fee your bank is charging you by the end of the day. If she says she can't get to an ATM today, she is not planning to pay you. That should be your last day.

MissDee said...

While I wouldn't necessary look for a new job right away, I would talk to MB and DB about the check. After speaking to them, I would then recreate the contract clause regarding paydays INSISTING you be paid in cash with a check stub listing the deductions.

A similar thing happened to me when I worked for my best friend's aunt. We were handed our paychecks and told not to cash them at the bank. Instead, we were taken to the check cashing place down the street. (Check cashers are popular in inner city neighborhoods.) The check was cashed and I thought I was in the clear until...

A few weeks later, I got a notice from the check cashing company that the check with my name on it had bounced. It happened to the other employees too, and the check cashing company was trying to hold me responsible. In the end, her aunt paid the debt off, and it didn't sour my relationship with the bestie, as we have been friends for 9 years this month. :)

In terms of legality, I do believe you are responsible to get yourself out of the negative balance, due to the check being addressed to you and the account in your name. However, if you talk to the bank manager, there may be a way around that. Tell the bank you trusted your employer and thought the check wouldn't bounce. Not sure what they can do, and it's worth a try.

If you do decide to be paid in check, you can go to your bank and ask the teller to contact MB and DB's bank and verify the funds are in the account. Or, go to MB and DB's bank and cash the check there. Ask if the funds are available in the account. If they are not, gather all evidence you have regarding the bounced check and your balance, politely tell them you do not trust them and that it's your last day. Explain to them they are paying in a bounced check, and that you feel they are asking you to work for free, which is what they are doing when you are paid in a bounced check.

Keep us posted!

StrawberryShortKakes said...

Money is always a sensitive topic so proceed with caution but you most definitely should talk to MB about this situation. Clearly she is embarrassed about what's going on but it is your business because 1. you deserve to be paid 2. you need to be able to rely on your paycheck to not bounce 3. the car that you use on the job is now gone and 4. she is lying to you!

Although getting information from the children may satisfy your curiosity, I wouldn't rely much on that because children are notorious for getting things messed up but in this situation it's clear that something fishy is going on.

Concerning your bounced paycheck, that needs to be discussed ASAP. If MB can't afford to pay you back for that money, then you certainly should not continue working for her. And if the car is not going to return, you need to work out some other agreement on that. The only way to get answers is by speaking with MB directly in a business-like manner. Make it clear that you are not simply being nosy about her finances, you have a right to be informed on what's going on! I don't understand why she seems to be avoiding her financial issues. Hopefully things aren't as bad as they seem and get worked out sooner rather than later.

MissMannah said...

I agree with the others that you need to satisfy the bounced check problem ASAP. I can't believe you've been putting this off and you're still working for her! I would have called them the second I found out and told them I wouldn't be coming back unless they immediately paid me for the check and for the fees. If MB tries to weasel out of this, as she obviously has been with the other issues, you need to find yourself a new job. It sounds like they are potentially in some financial trouble, but really that's their problem, not yours and if you keep working for them and keep getting bad checks, you will also be in financial trouble.

OP said...

OP here,

Thanks everyone for the suggestions. Here's an update. My boss agreed to rewrite me a check for the previous week plus the service charge, and she paid me in cash for that current week (though she didn't seem too happy about my request). However, that same day the mailman came to the door and I had to sign as confirmation that we received two envelopes from the "Financial Services" dept of the car company of the car that was towed. Also, when I brought the rest of the mail in I found 4 thick envelopes addressed to my boss from the IRS. I'm not proud of snooping but I feel that I was straight up lied to about the car situation and that I need to look out for myself a bit more.

StrawberryShortKakes said...

So did you ask MB about the car? What excuse did she give you this time? If your agreement was to not use your own car while on the job then SHE needs to come up with an alternative solution, unless of course you are willing to use your own car now. But that is just going to make the situation worse because she is obviously trying to cover all this stuff up.

CONFRONT HER! I disagree with MissMannah when she said it isn't any of your business. It certainly is your business when you don't know if you will be out of the job any day now. Of course you could just quit and be done with it but you aren't even exactly sure what is going on here. Talk to her, get some answers and then decide if it's worth it to stick around. Yes, she is lying (which is wrong) but perhaps there is more to this story than just financial troubles. You won't know until you talk to her and if you aren't willing to do that, get ready to be let go or just quit yourself.

alex said...

wow, I would definitely be concerned. Even if the husband does well financially they may spend well beyond their means and be in dept. Since you saw envelopes from the IRS and the wife has her own business it may also be that she has not been paying the correct taxes on that business. I do feel like it is your business because this is your job and if they will not be able to pay you you should be looking for another job. Keep us updated!

Aubrey said...

Instead of getting involved in this mess w/the family, I would first get what money I was owed, then quit.

This family is not only lying to you, but they have waay too many problems right now and the last thing you need is to be involved with them. It sounds like nothing but drama to me.

Best of luck to you OP. Sorry this happened to you.

AMom said...

Without reading any other replies, yes, you should be VERY concerned!! paychecks bouncing,m credit cards being declined? Cars being towed away oddly?

Yes, tell them about the check and say you must be paid in cash from now on, then start looking for another job and when you get one, quit this one immediately!

Village said...

When a check bounces, you call the employer IMMEDIATELY, and make it clear you don't work again until the money owed is paid in cash, AND in the future, only cash payments will be accepted.

What is so wrong with standing up for yourself, and not letting people take advantage of you? Color me confused.

ELam said...

Good for you for speaking up and getting paid in cash, who cares if the MB was unhappy about that. Not your problem. I hope their financial situation gets straightened out soon, but it seems like they are in up to their eyeballs...this could take a while. If it were me, I don't know if I'd stick around.

Are they reimbursing you for gas/mileage with your car?

Privavcy Please said...

Just a few comments: It is none of OP's business why the car is gone and a little far-fetched to say Mom is has "lied" about the reason for the car being gone. Maybe there is an issue over OP being provided with a car, but I don't think it is required for Mom to share every personal family financial detail with a nanny. Maybe OP should want to hold onto her job and see about being reimbursed 55.5 cents/mile instead of worrying about being taken into the family's inner confidences. I would never share just personal details with an employee.

If the nanny can "re-create" a cash clause, seems like this 55.5cents/mile can be done as well, in light of extenuating circumstances. Did it ever occur to OP that she is one of those costly services costing the family a lot of money? If I were Mom, I would fire both the service that drives over to blab to a nanny about declined credit cards and punish my big mouth son as well.

Also, I am not sure how one gets paid in a "bounced check" or a "bouncing check," must be awful hard to deposit at the bank!

Nathan @ My Nanny Contract said...

Most states allow employees, such as a nanny, to file wage claims against employers, such as parents, for unpaid wages due to bounced checks. If you encounter another bounced check, you may wish to consult an employment attorney and consider filing a wage claim. From a practical standpoint, it may also be prudent to begin exploring other employment options.

Relief said...

Privacy Please - The car was part of the contract i'm assuming when OP first started working. To run errands for the children, pick then up/drop off, shopping for groceries, etc. And if the car has been taken and the mother is lying saying it is being serviced knowing darn well it isn't then she is lying and no she doesn't have to tell OP her personal life but she shouldn't be beating around the bush with things that involve OP.

If the check cashed and credit cards are getting declined i'm sure they knew yet still write the check knowing what was going to happen.It's as if they did it to buy themselfs some time without even considering OPs OWN financial issues. Nannies have bills to pay to and OP is also using her own car and mileage.

I think they desperetely need the nanny so are trying to drag it out, beat around the bush and even fib so she doesn't quit because then they would have to take time out of work until they found a new nanny and it could create even more problems for themselfs.

Honesty is the best policy, So with that said, I just farted!

ELam said...

Did it ever occur to OP that she is one of those costly services costing the family a lot of money?

Privavcy [sic] Please, are you seriously suggesting the nanny feel some sort of guilt for being employed by these people?! NO WAY. THEY employed HER, nobody is holding a gun to their head forcing them to have a nanny.

Obviously the family should not have to tell the nanny any private financial details, that I agree with. But it's like a business going bankrupt and not giving their employees any heads up. At the very least they should say "We are sorry for all the confusion while things get straightened out. We will be paying you in cash and reimbursing you for any mileage put on your car for the time being. Thanks for understanding".

SOMETHING! Not just oh la dee dah here's a check I hope there's money in the bank for ya! Oh yea and use your car to cart our kids around, but don't ask us any questions!

workingMom said...

While it's unnecessary for the OP to feel guilty about being one of the services the family cannot afford, she SHOULD acknowledge that fact. This family cannot afford a nanny.

Whatever the reasons (and the reasons are not the OP's business), this family is going downhill financially. The OP should get her pay to current, and get out. Staying "to help the family out" or some other emotional, dramatic attachment will only end up with the OP feeling used and abused. (and she already feels lied to) It is also unnecessary to give notice with some dramatic scene; a simple "this isn't working out for me, so I'm moving on to other opportunities" is sufficient.

Employing a nanny is a luxury. This family cannot afford that lifestyle. The OP needs to find a family that can.

Phoenix said...

I actually do not have a bank account. I have no savings, chcking, equity, you name it.

Thus if people pay me it is either in cash or money order I prefer money order because there is a record of payment.

Phoenix said...

another thing. It doesn't matter whether or not a tow truck comes to pick up the vehicle for service. I've used a tow truck many times. The logic behind that if something is broken, don't drive on it to make it worse.

I'm sorry but their credit situation is non of your business. They should be paying you. That is as far as it should go. Don't you think they are embarrassed by this?

Your only concern is your pay. And you don't need to wait until your audience leaves the room if it is all family. Tell her that you prefer money order or cashiers check. This will save you ass and won't cause bounced checks. Your employer is aslo responsible for the over draft fees.

StrawberryShortKakes said...

I disagree with those who are saying the family finances are none of the OP's business. Of course the nanny should not be able to comb through their financial logs or bank account transactions but she certainly deserves to be able to get some piece of mind from knowing that she will get her next paycheck, or of course be informed enough to be able to walk away from the job before she discovers the family cannot afford her services anymore. MB does not have to explain what is going on with her business or anything like that, but OP deserves MB to be upfront and honest and keep her informed that there are financial troubles. MB also needs to decide if she can still afford a nanny. As several people have pointed out, having a nanny is a luxury and it APPEARS that this family cannot afford it. However, OP has not yet been told this.

I think people are forgetting that she has not actually gotten the truth about what is actually going on with the family. She only suspects that they are in a hole but she has yet to confirm this. Call me naive but maybe this is only a temporary issue and will soon be resolved by MB. Or maybe they really can't afford the OP to stick around. Either way, the least the MB can do is let OP know. A previous poster mentioned that it's like any company just going bankrupt and not tell the employees. To me, that just isn't right.

ELam said...

A previous poster mentioned that it's like any company just going bankrupt and not tell the employees. To me, that just isn't right.

I hope I was clear in my post when I gave that example. It's NOT ok for this family to leave the nanny in the dark, just like it's NOT ok for a business to go down the drain without notifying their employees and giving them a heads up.

Bottom line: this nanny needs a family who can afford her! Then the family can go on Sittercity and put up a listing for 40 hours a week for $100... (saw a listing for this exact amount today in my area.)

Good luck! said...

I know how hard it is to leave a family, ESPECIALLY when you love those kids! But if not getting your paycheck leaves you in the red, you need to start job hunting ASAP. Because any family who pays their nanny w a hot check isn't going to give you the courtesy of a few weeks notice. You could be jobless tomorrow, and it sounds like you can't afford to sit around for a few weeks and job hunt. I have been in your situation before (yay, college!). Right now, I'm far enough into the green that I could have the luxury of waiting it out to see if the family gets it together, but from what you say, it sounds like that would be a financially dangerous risk for you. So sorry you have to make such a painful choice, but keep in mind that if you start looking NOW, then you may have a few weeks time to find another family that you love, not just the first job that comes up because you're broke :(

meghan said...

I went through a similar situation last summer with the family I work for. The dad had been paying me on a weekly basis for a year. All of the sudden he couldn't pay me all of my paycheck at once, and I'm a pretty cheap nanny. So I started keeping track of how much he owed me. Once it got to $500 I was pretty pissed. The following week his check bounced. I then decided that I couldn't take it anymore and emailed the mom. She was completely unaware of what was going on and had her parents step in and pay me from there on out. It turns out that the couple was getting divorced and he was hiding money for when she left him.

I think you need to say something and stick up for yourself. While it's incredibly awkward, maybe an email is the best way to start talking to them about it. Once they know that you know there's something going on, the ice will have been broken and it will be somewhat easier to talk about.

Good luck!

Unknown said...

Agree. Last year I dealt with a similar situation. I had a check bounce, she payed me the next week. Then the next time I worked for her, she handed money to me in an envelope and was getting in a car. She'd underpayed over a hundred dollars and never returned a phone call or email ever again. I realize I could have stalked her apartment but it didn't seem worth it. Make sure you're getting paid and start coming up with a plan. While it's not your probkem... it is.

Alicia B said...

Had a family I worked for pretty much kick me out after they were going to a food bank and working at it for food to feed us all.

They had a 300-400k house, and a brand new van. All the luxuries in the world and 3 beautiful little boys, but they were to busy to see their children past them waking up. The first week I was there, they slept while I went in and took their baby (12 months) from his playpen because he was crying for a good 20 minutes and woke me.

A few weeks into the position, their van was repossessed because.. well. They both sold insurance and when the economy sucks guess what people aren't buying?

Because of them (they also refused to pay me my last month's wages, and NEVER paid me a legitimate paycheck, just random cash here and there) I will never work a live-in position again unless it is in a foreign country. I'm not cut out for the 24/7 live-in job. Live-out 40-50 hours a week, sure!

I hope things go better for you than they did for me! I'd say get paid in cash or direct deposit if possible- at least until you know things have settled. And maybe keep an eye out for good gigs. You never know, and it never hurts to be prepared and keep advertising.