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Helper wants holiday when not convenient

  1. #1
    mumofone is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Hong Kong

    Question Helper wants holiday when not convenient

    I just want to hear other peoples point of view on this. We have a wonderful helper and has worked for us for nearly 2 1/2 years. My situation is this; myself and the children are flying back to our home country for a period of 5wks during the summer school holidays and during that time my husband says he only needs her occasionally so she is helping out another helper whilst she is returning back home for 3wks. home. The family(employers) themselves whom I know havent even asked if I am happy with this arrangement which whilst I am it would have been nice for it to be communicated directly with me. Nonetheless it means my helper can earn some extra money which I dont have a problem with.

    I questioned my helper about when she would be taking her holiday this year, as it would be most convenient whilst the majority of the family is away. She then mentioned she'd like to go back home over Christmas for a friend's wedding and would like to go for 10 days.

    Taking time off at this time would be so inconvenient for us since I work freelance and would then have to turn down work and equally it would mean hiring babysitters etc to help out during this period, particularly as we do a lot of client entertaining over Christmas.

    Is it so mean to insist she takes her holiday when its convenient to us? Thoughts please.

  2. #2
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Sai Kung

    there are two ways to look at it:

    1) you are the employer, so you should be able to dictate what happens & when

    2) imagine if you are the would you feel being told when you can take your holidays? if your best friend was getting married overseas and you asked for time off and were told that it was refused? i know that this does happen at some places and at certain times of the year.

    my helper's son had his high school graduation 2 weeks after i gave birth to my second. it was VERY inconvenient for me. i had had a terrible pregnancy and a painful c-section, not to mention i had my toddler running around, too. however, i decided to "suck it up" because over-all i was very happy with her performance. i can also relate to the feeling of missing out on all the important things going on "back home". i tried to put myself in her shoes and decided that i would be very resentful towards an employer that would make me miss such an important mile-stone as graduation.

    however, that is me. i don't know you or your situation. only YOU can decide what works best for your family and your helper.

  3. #3
    cheerfulmama is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Hong Kong

    well, I guess you just need to talk to your helper about the situation. It is not mean at all. It is legitimate to let her leave for vacation when the family is not as busy. When you are working, you don't get whatever and whenever you want. When I was working back in the States, I had to miss my brother's wedding in Hongkong as it was during the busiest time of the year. What a bummer! Helpers are no difference from us as employees, so talk to her and let her know your concern.

  4. #4
    AndreaY is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Hong kong

    That means she took a holiday 6 months ago (end of contract), now she is planning to take another in 6 months? Think as an employer, it is within your rights to ask her to go on holiday when it's convenient for you. My husband just got refused for taking holiday too, so it's something that happens across the board. Just tell her of the inconvenience and see what she says, cos she knows that the holidays she is entitled comes at the end of her contract.

    On the other hand, if you think she is doing a good job, ask her when the wedding is, to see if you can work out the dates she can go causing least disruption to you, maybe shorter holiday?

  5. #5
    slamdunk is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    yes, its usually a mutually agreed timing (as for any employment) with final say by employer and certain periods 'no go' if previously indicated.

    maybe compromise and say she can go but only for 5 days and the rest of her leave she takes as odd days off in HK. that way, you're offering the chance to go to the wedding, reducing inconvenience to you etc. She might have a rethink...

  6. #6
    jane01 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Hong Kong

    I can relate to this. I remember when I was getting married (nearly 8 years ago), I had a Christmas wedding and my then boss said to me 'not everyone can take leave at Christmas you know, blah, blah, blah'. He was very clear that my marriage plans had not influence on whether I could take leave. I did get the leave and all was ok, but I was shaken at the time.

    We have had my helper for 8 years and she is very good about fitting into our leave plans. This year she has attended her son's wedding the weekend after Easter (I had to take 1 day off work to accomodate) and now her father is sick and she is gone for about 10 days (which luckily co-incides with some leave I am taking). Selfishly, I'd like to have my helper here this week so my husband and I could go out, so I didn't have to do housework on during my precious time off, etc. But what can you do if her father is sick? She has a life too.

    Our helper always takes leave at the same time we do, no discussion. Given that helpers are entitled to about one week and we generally take 6'ish weeks off a year, I think this works well for her. She gets 2-3 fully paid holidays a year to see her family.

    In your case, you will have to weigh up your needs against hers. If I had to work during the time, frankly, no I would not be happy for my helper to attend a friends wedding. After all, the reason I hire her is so I can work. I would look at other solutions like giving her a long weekend to attend the wedding.

  7. #7
    babymommy2 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2008

    It is a hard situation, In my previous job there was a certain 2 month time period (same time every year, our busiest time) that no one could take time off. Short of a funeral for a close family member, it was refused.One girl planned her wedding for this time and was initially told no, in the end the manager didi let her have time. So yes you can refuse her, and yes there may be resentment. Good Luck!

  8. #8
    Shenzhennifer is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Tsuen Wan

    Unless it is stipulated in her contract (that she take leave during your least busy times, I would think it unfair of you to dictate when her holidays should be. She is, after all, a regular legal employee who deserves the same benefits of other working people.
    I do understand, however, your annoyance that she is going to be working for another family while you guys are away (isn't that illegal also?). Could you perhaps strike a deal where she would agree to find someone to assist you part time during the holidays? That might get a bit complicated though...

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