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Need advice- 1st week with helper

  1. #1
    1stimemum is offline Registered User
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    Need advice- 1st week with helper

    Hi all, I'm due late Jan and i found a helper- my 1st live in who started work a week ago.

    Work wise I have no complaints, she's thorough clean, has experience and I will really only know if she's good with baby when he arrives.

    My problem is that she took a month advance on her salary from us before she went back to Indonesia. Father had health issues, needed surgery. My husband and I both agreed to give her the advance despite all our friends warning that she would do a runner and not come back.

    Well the good news is that she proved our faith in humankind (we are both very naive I think when it comes to helper, hope I'm not proven wrong)

    Bad news? Well she's now asking for another advance!!!! I've said flat out no, if she has to borrow 2 mths salary in 1 wk how will she ever pay back and survive?

    The problem is that she goes on and on about her troubles and I get sucked in and depressed which i really dont need!

    So I"m thinking of letting her go after a month but hubby thinks I"m being hasty. It took us 3 mths to interview/ hire/ arrange for 1 helper, not forgetting all the money for fees, air tickets etc....By the time I do find another and who knows how that will turn out, baby will be here!

    We have absolutely NO family, relatives coming in to help so I do need someone from the get go.

    any advice from people who have helpers?

  2. #2
    1stimemum is offline Registered User
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    need to add. She's mentioned that she will probably need to borrow/ take a loan externally if she cant find another way and I know thats going to be MORE TROUBLE down the road.

    Am i just being scammed here?

  3. #3
    kjg
    kjg is offline Registered User
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    In one week, she has asked for two advances? Not a good start I'd say!

    I'd let her go and find another helper and maybe waiting until the baby arrives is not such a bad idea as you can see how they are with the baby anyway? You do not need the emotional heart strings pulled every 5 minutes she's in financial trouble and already this relationship is tainted in my opinion by not maintaining a professional relationship from the beginning. Think about it, would you go to your boss at work after only one week and ask for a months salary in advance and then come back again and ask for more? NO WAY!

    As for managing when the baby arrives, you will be fine, you are the mother afterall. Babies sleep alot initially and mother-child bonding time is really important. Think of all the women who do it without helpers and family? If you're not managing, ask some friends in your apartment complex if their helpers would be interested in some part time work a few hours a day until you organise another helper. That way you know who they are and their experience with infants.

    Good luck.

  4. #4
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjg View Post
    As for managing when the baby arrives, you will be fine, you are the mother afterall. Babies sleep alot initially and mother-child bonding time is really important.
    very true, but it is also VITALLY important that if you do this you KNOW to sleep when baby sleeps and wake when baby wakes. to hell with the dirty dishes in the sink, the laundry piling up. hubby needs to help out, too.

    i know i was totally exhausted after my first. there were days i didn't get dressed until 4pm. (i was also dealing with the pain of a badly infected incision wound.)

    i would suggest that you stock up your freezer with single or double portions of prepared food (ie. stew, curry etc) that you can easily pop into the microwave after baby arrives. that way you are at least sure of having the time/energy to "cook". scope out a good/convenient laundry and make sure hubby can take laundry on the way to work and pick it up at the end of the day. do as much of the baby essential (diapers etc) shopping as you can now.

    as for the helper bit, it's a very tough call. she could be telling you the truth. many indonesians have to pay HUGE agency fees, some amounting to almost an entire year's wages (so i've read) before they will be offered to employers in hk. if i were you, i would ask your helper if she REALLY wants help. if the answer is yes, then sit down with a little book. write down everything she owes etc. her monthly expenses (loan payments etc) and her earnings. help her figure out a way that she can manage her wages appropriately. perhaps she is having unfair pressure placed on her from her family to send money to them?

    i can totally sympathise with your plight. we are now trying to hire our helper's husband. he, however, was in debt from his last visit to hk (he works in Saudi Arabia currently). we offered to pay his debt (nearing $10k!) before he even arrives in hk. we have done this for a few reasons:
    1) he was honest with us.
    2) he was honest with the person that he borrowed from initially. he didn't run away from the debt, but has been diligently paying it back over the past year. this bodes well for borrowing money from us.
    3) he is the right "fit" for our family.
    4) it would be great for our helper to have her husband nearby and not in the middle-east.
    5) we had the money so that we were able to help.

    there are always lots of factors that come into play when money is involved. if you are otherwise happy with your helper, then maybe there is an alternative to firing her?

  5. #5
    1stimemum is offline Registered User
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    carang, my husband thinks the way you do. She worked 2 wks for us unofficially before going back to Indo and now 1 wk and during that time, her work has been impeccable.

    She's so clean and diligent. He thinks that we can afford to help her and it will all work out.......

    I'm conflicted. I know I will have to make the call at the end of the day. he's wisely left it to me and will support whatever decision I do take.

    I am going to give her till the end of this month (partly so that we at least recover the 1st loan) and to see how this plays out.

    I just hope that we are not being too naive and as kjg mentioned, its not been a great start thus far.

    thanks all and as always I"m happy to hear from everyone.

  6. #6
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    i would then ask if she'd like some help sorting her finances out and then helping her to do just that.

    good luck!

  7. #7
    lisa88 is offline Registered User
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    on maid's money problems, there is an NGO which gives financial literacy classes to domestic helpers. See www.enrichhk.org

    My Indon helper is a good & diligent worker, but ran into trouble because she lent money to other helpers who had money problems. In her 1st month of work with me, she also asked for an advance and I was very skeptical, but told her it was a one-off due to her agency debts. She herself was just managing to keep her head above water on money matters but was under a lot of pressure from others in debt. Long story short, my helper got into trouble with the law (in possession of shoplifted goods lifted by her 'friend') and had to plead guilty. She now has a criminal record due to her attempt to lend money to another maid, who turned against her in the end.

    The financial literary course was a good eye opener for my maid in terms of the sorts of family and peer pressure domestic helpers had to deal with, how to sort out her money priorities and stand firm despite all the pressures. I don't think the course is a 'cure all' as it will depend on the maid and their financial discipline, but that is no different from anyone else regardless of their financial situation.

    Good luck

  8. #8
    Shenzhennifer is offline Registered User
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    1stTimeMum - sorry, I read your first post and am confused - WHAT exactly is the good news?
    It sounds like the whole `give an inch take a mile` thing. Asking for 2 advances, that`s pretty crazy, if you ask me. She sounds like she`s playing you a bit, especially by talking about her financial problems (are they YOUR problems?) and telling you that she will have to get an external loan if you cannot help her. That`s not very nice of her at all, actually.
    I would not be comfortable around her because of this, and I think it would have aready ruined our relationship, regardless of how well she worked in the first 2 weeks before she took off for a paid holiday.
    You can Totally survive on your own when your baby comes - this whole helper thing is pretty isolated to this part of the world and now everyone seems to think they need a helper just to live here. Not so.
    If you have the cash, I would suggest one of those confinement nannies, I believe they`re called. Just someone to cook you and your husband meals everyday. I had a MIL come and she cooked half the meals for 2 weeks and that`s about it, and though it was a help, I could have gotten along without her (and gotten a lot more rest too).
    I think your idea of letting her work long enough to pay off her loan sounds practical. But if it were myself, I would not be too interested in keeping someone on like that. Just my opinion.

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