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Hiring 2 maids, dilemma about days off

  1. #1
    mintycat is offline Registered User
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    Hiring 2 maids, dilemma about days off

    As I am expecting another baby soon, we are looking into hiring another maid. My present helper is very good with my 2 year old, has patience and loves children. We are willing to overlook other things such as the fact that she is forgetful and absentminded. The dishes she washes always still have leftover food on them (we bought a dishwasher recently as a result), she forgets to get the mail everyday, she shrinks a lot of my husband's tee shirts despite having told her how to use the washing machine, she doesn't cook well and she is very slow (takes her 40 minutes to change my bedsheets). I don't complain much as I am grateful that she is so good with my daughter. She also doesn't have an attitude problem which we are grateful for.

    Her contract is up in the beginning of June. I am going back to work for my family in August (I give birth at the end of May) but I have flexibility in hours and days. We want to hire another helper to help her with some of the household chores and also look after the newborn when I am needed at the office.

    She tells me that she HAS to take Sundays off since she plays the guitar at church and she is the only one who plays it at church. I have interviewed a lot of helpers and have decided on one who also has commitments at church on Sundays. The new one tells me she is willing to take 2 Sundays off and 2 Saturdays off. I asked my present one if she can compromise and she said she will talk to her church. She came back to me last night telling me it's impossible as the church will not let her off on Sundays since she is the only one who can play guitar (my mom's maid is friends with her and she told me she doesn't believe she is the only one who plays guitar at church for she has visited her at the church and saw a few people playing guitars there). Anyway, my maid tells me that "to be fair to me and because I have worked here for 2 years, you should tell the new maid that I have preference when to take my day off. She should only take Saturdays off and I get Sundays off." So I said are you not willing to be flexible and she said it's really not possible for her not to take Sundays off. I said what if there is a time when the new one needs one Sunday off in the future, would you compromise? She said, "I don't want to say ok and then I feel unhappy afterwards, so I prefer that only I take Sundays off." What if both me and my husband need to work on Sunday once in a while?!

    To be honest, I was a little mad after I had the conversation with her. I am hiring another maid to help lift some work load off her shoulder and she is the one setting the rules here. I always thought she had no attitude but after last night, I am not so sure. She doesn't like ironing bedsheets and my mom's maid is already helping out with that (my helper says she has no time to do that). Do you think she is taking advantage of us? We increased her salary to $4000 last year so I think we pay her well.

    For those with 2 maids, what do you do with days off? What do you think I should do? My husband said if she is being so unflexible, then we just won't renew her contract.

  2. #2
    kellyst is offline Registered User
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    With our first two helpers, we've asked them to take alternate Sat and Sundays off. Then we had to fire one of them, and we hire another new one to replace her, we gave the helper who was here already the preference, so she chose Sunday, so the other one gets all Saturdays. It worked out for us as
    1) we hired through an agent and part of the form they filled out, they have to declare if they are willing to take days off other than Sundays. so they are aware of that before starting.
    2) the new helper we hired is new to HK, so she gets her Saturday church routine set up when she gets here.
    3) it was a nightmare for me to remember which ones get which days off when they were switching around, it's much easier to remember now

    However, having said the above, they are reasonably flexible when we ask them to switch days off etc. especially on extended long weekends. We need some compromises on both sides sometimes, but they do try to work with us. That's why I feel that you should be a bit firmer with your helper and especially as you're hiring this new one or another one, have the ground rules layout BEFORE they start. It's always easier to lay down these rules on a clean sheet.

  3. #3
    Bizeemama is offline Registered User
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    I have two maids and the second started shortly beofe I gave birth.
    I also work from home but pretty much full time. My husband works long hours and often does not get Sunday off.
    My long term domestic helper continued to have her Sunday off and my new one was employed only on the condition that she would take Thursday off.
    They work out a system so that the public holidays are shared around and sometimes my helper gives the other one Sunday off and a Monday if it is a stat holiday.
    You are employing two helpers for ease in the house and as I see it, they are grown women in a job share situation. They need to sort it and come up with a solution that will work well for you.
    If they can not, you best find someone who is up to the task of job sharing and problem solving.

  4. #4
    jamesandsimo is offline Registered User
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    I understand your situation and it can be difficult i am sure having to go back to work again after having a baby. The only defense i have for the helper is that often Sunday's are when all their other friends have days off so for them i could understand why they would want to have sunday's off so they can hang out with their friends, often they don't get a chance in the week because they work so many hours so their time with their friends is very important considering their families are often back home.

    I only take that view becuase i would hate it if my husband's work asked him to work on sunday's when that is our day to be together as a family so i think i couldn't ask my helper to do the same.

    Could you come to an agreement about the hours, maybe she gets the morning off for Church and comes home a littler earlier in the afternoon and then you could also give her a half day another time?

  5. #5
    mintycat is offline Registered User
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    jamesandsimo ~ My present helper is already getting Sundays off. I am asking her to compromise with the new maid and each of them get 2 Sundays off and 2 Saturdays off per month. I am not asking them not to take Sundays off at all. If I let the present maid take all Sundays off, then I am not being fair to the new maid since she has been in HK for over 6 years and she has friends she would like to see on Sundays, right?

    kellyst ~ I am hiring directly so there are no papers to fill, so I want to make sure this holiday problem is sorted before I sign the contract with the new maid.

  6. #6
    josoo is offline Registered User
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    Hiring 2 maids dilemma about days off

    I have two helpers and thank god for them as I work. The first one has been with us for over 3 years. She introduced her sister-in-law, to work as the second maid. I gave the first helper priority to take Sundays off, therefore the second had to take Saturdays off. There was no way out of this and even though my second maid always says "I wish I could take Sundays off, because all my friends do", I respond by saying that was what was negotiated in the first place and agreed upon. There's no point talking past-tense.

    Go find a helper that is willing to take Saturdays off. You shouldn't compromise with them, as having two helpers is supposed to give you extra flexibility, and give them additional support so tasks can be shared. You can't work them to death and must give them a day off, but its all a matter of communication/negotiation. Why hire two maids if it doesn't convenient you?

    Another issue you will come across are public holidays, there are those that fall on the weekend. I pay them to take turns working public holidays and they love it, as its extra money for them....

    Good luck!

  7. #7
    aussiegal is offline Registered User
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    This might sound extreme but I would get rid off her. There are plenty of helper's around that are good with children AND do housework properly. You shouldn't have to buy a dishwasher because your helper can't do dishes! That's ridiculous. And the shrinking shirts thing would really annoy me. Sometimes I get the feeling that they think money grows on trees for us and don't care if things get ruined.

    I think it's also a bit rough that she won't compromise at all. It's not fair for anyone. The new helper has a right to have Sunday's off every now and then too as it really is the day they all get to hang out. And if you're hiring two helpers it really should afford a greater amount of flexibility. If she were any good you probably wouldn't need the second helper anyway!

    Why don't you get two new helpers at the same time so they start out on equal footing and no one gets bullied into doing anything they don't want to do.

    Sorry, you probably didn't want to hear that but I honestly believe you don't have to compromise to the extent that you are doing. 40 minutes to change your sheets. What's that?

  8. #8
    mintycat is offline Registered User
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    Aussiegal, I don't think it's extreme at all. My husband wants to get rid of her because he thinks she is having the upper hand here. The fact that she will NOT compromise is an indication. I've spoken to a few friends too and they think I should get rid of her too. I have a feeling she will bully the new helper into doing the things she doesn't like to do, like laundry, ironing and changing bed sheets.

    She takes 40 mins to change the bed sheet because she keeps putting the blanket in the duvet cover the wrong way. I told her that the blanket is not a square so the tags should be at the end of the bed and the blanket will fit nicely into the cover. She never remembers this and therefore has to do it a few times before she can get it right. Sigh!!!

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