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What would you do?

  1. #1
    dbmum is offline Registered User
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    What would you do?

    We are new to having a helper. The first few months went by without many issues to deal with outside of basic directions and getting-to-know-you's, ect. Increasingly in the past few weeks I've begun to notice things begin to slack off. When it seems to need attention called (such as a cleaning issue) I try to address it and it usually is quickly resolved. My question is about the newest concern:
    Our helper is a live in which automatically has brought on things I never thought I'd have to deal with ;) When her contract with us first began, she requested that we suggest the time she was to return home from her day off on Sundays. Being flexible, it was mutually agreed upon that 9pm was suitable for both of us and that if ever a need arose for her to be out past this time, a phone call or quick text with her e.t.a. was sufficient notice. This worked well for five months with no issues. Three out of the past four weeks however is a different story. Increasingly later and later - we're talking over an hour - with no phone call just a quick "sorry ma'am" the next morning after being confronted to see if there was a problem.
    I don't know what to do! I don't feel like I should have to babysit someone and their 'curfew' but at the same time, I feel like I am being blatantly disrespected as an employer who is more than fair and accommodating.
    Any advice/suggestions - I'm at a loss!?

  2. #2
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    maybe you should not confront her about the time, but say,
    "i notice that you seem to be having trouble getting home by 9pm. should we make it a little later, so i dont' worry about yoU?"

    personally, we have never set a curfew for our helper. all i asked her was if she came back later, not to be loud or she would wake everyone up. we've never had a problem. i don't like the idea of a curfew. i didn't like it when my mother tried to impose one on me and i didn't think i needed to have one with my helper (i know, it wasn't imposed, you both agreed to it.). my helper is older than both my husband and myself, i thought it out of line for us to have a curfew with her.

    i do know many others that do not agree and have set curfews for their helpers.

  3. #3
    Editor is offline Administrator
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    I think its best to agree on a reasonable time. my first helper used to come home at midnight, and was a zombie on Mondays, that I was afraid to leave my son with her. my current helper comes home between 9-10pm which I think is fine. If there's something happening at church, that she'd like to stay for, then she'll text and let me know.

  4. #4
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    when we lived in DB it was never a problem. now, she doesn't have much choice as the last bus leaves Sai Kung at 9:30. she would never want to spend $85 on a taxi... so i know that the latest she'll be back is 10pm.

  5. #5
    babymommy2 is offline Registered User
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    I dont' have a helper so feel free to take my reply with a grain of salt, but why does she have a curfew in the first place? Is this common? What time is she expected to "be at work" monday? If she is doing her job on monday morning appropriately does it matter whether she came home at 9 or 10 or 1 am? I just cannot imagine a situation where my employer would ever say to me make sure you are home by 9 pm sunday. What difference would that make to my boss? you as the employer are not responsible to babysit what time she gets home, you are responsible for ensuring she does her work well when she is working, so if she is too tired, then address her tiredness, not what time she comes home.

  6. #6
    spockey is offline Registered User
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    dbmum... I totally understand. My husband and I are both working parents and are out of the door by 6:45 in the morning. We get our helper to return by 9. Most Chinese families in our neighbourhood by 8.

    So, if you need her to be home by 9, just let her know. There's no need to waffle about your needs. There's no need to feel like the Wicked Witch of the West either if you do. Some DH employers will make you feel awful - never experienced it from a local employer though. She's a helper and that's just how it is - She works around your family requirements. Lots of families with one parent at home can cope with a sleepy helper, we can't afford to have one. We need ours to be alert in the morning which is our busiest hour. We've got 3breakfasts to prepare and 2 lunch boxes everyday! She needs it done by 6:45 and either my husband or I need to help out every morning or she'll stuff it up. Like us, she wakes up at 6 a.m. every weekday. If she's all tired on Monday, I get really agro as it is, we help her out every morning.

    I'm sure ours slacks off once we're out the door. That bit I'm not fussed about. But I need her alert every workday morning especially on Mondays! So, for us, it'd be an issue if she's home late every Sunday.

  7. #7
    jane01 is offline Registered User
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    My helper doesn't have a curfew, just like my boss doesn't have a curfew on me. There has been the odd time when my children have been sick, I've been up all night and am obviously tired at work the next day. At the same time, like most professionals, I've pulled many an all-nighter to meet a deadline and it is work that has made me tired. Give and take. It is a relationship of mutual respect.

    If my helper consistently arrived home very late at night and it was affecting her work, then I would speak to her about her performance.

    On the other performance issues, can you give an example? If the standard of her work is not up to scratch, then you are absolutely right to bring it to her attention immediately. What would your boss do if you produced rubbish work? I've been working at my firm for more than 10 years and I can honestly say that every day I try and do my very best. I expect this of my helper as well.

    What you are experiencing is not 'normal'. My helper has been with us for 8 years and still has the same high standards of cleanliness she started with. I'm not saying she is perfect. Sure, she forgets to do things sometimes, but overall, she does a lot better job than I would do.

    One last thing - make sure your standards are not too high. Don't expect every little scrap of dust to be swept up every single day. Don't expect full bed sheet changes every day or every item of clothing to be handwashed. Don't expect her to work unreasonably long hours. As long as your expectations are reasonable, put your helper on notice that her services do not meet your requirements.

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