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Letting my helper go

  1. #1
    peainpod is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Mid Levels

    Letting my helper go

    My current helper has been with us for just over a year and to be honest, we have never been that happy with her. Just over a month ago, a friend told me of a helper (who is currently in the PH) who seemed better suited to our needs. I had a frank talk with my current helper (first week of March) and it turns out she is very homesick and wants to go home to her kids anyway. I told her I'd be happy to process a replacement but would need her to work until that person came. Around the last week of March, she started packing her things away to go home and told me she spoke with her family and was prepared to leave end-March.

    At the point, I explained that I was not expecting the new helper until at least the middle of April (the agency processed the contract around the second week of March) and if she was prepared to stay until HK Immig issued the new visa, I would pay her a month's pay in lieu of notice at that point. However, if she really wants to leave end-March, she can go but I would consider that she is resigning and I would not be prepared to pay her the extra month's pay. I figured I was being more than fair as technically, she is already getting the "notice" and I was also prepared to give her a month's pay in lieu since she was leaving at my convenience. She seemed okay with that.

    Easter break came and I gave her Friday and Monday off but asked her to work Tuesday (technically, only Mon is a hol). Then on Thurs, she told me she was sick with a cold (she was a bit sniffy and could have caught it when she went to disneyland on her hol) and went to see the doctor (but came back without seeing him as his clinic was closed for the Easter break until Sat (today). Since I was home that day, I gave her some cold meds and said I would take care of my 2-yr old son and she could sleep in. I worked 1/2 day Friday morning and again took care of my son while she slept in the afternoon. This morning (Sat), she asked to see the doctor again. (Honestly, I really did not feel that she had a cold any longer but I said fine.) She came back with a doctor's note saying she had "back pain" and she should do "light duties" for a week.

    I have never heard her mention this back pain. She now says she doesn't want to pick up my son (my son is quite heavy but he is already 2 so he does walk around, although outside, sometimes he whines to be carried.) She only takes care of him Mon, Wed and Fri mornings which are the days I work. At home, my son just runs around by himself and I normally ask her to take him by taxi to a gym class on Mon and a soccer class on Wed.

    I dont' know if she is being completely honest with me anymore. I know she wants to go home and I am doing my best for let her go. But I can't until HK Immig gives me a visa.

    Now I am not sure if I was smart in being honest with her. Sigh... sorry for the long vent, just feeling a bit frustrated.

  2. #2
    fingerscrossed is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Tin Hau
    It just sounds like one of those typical situations where being honest may backfire. I just find that a lot of the helpers are fine when they're doing their everyday routine but once something comes up and needs discussing, they tend to try to 'protect' themselves and get a little defensive. We try to accommodate and do the best we can for them but they may not always view it that way. Good luck and I hope things don't get any more complicated.

  3. #3
    carey is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    I can't really give you any suggestions because hiring helper in the Mainland is a different procedure than in Hong Kong. There is only verbal agreement on the amount of salary and number of days off per month. Bonus is paid at the employer’s discretion.

    There is no contract or any common practice to apply labor law to protect helper’s rights. I wish there is then. With a contract, I would know for sure how long a helper is supposed to be with us and if I treat her fair and square according to the book. Then I wouldn’t fear if I don’t give her extra money, she would not treat me son well when I am not around. But it looks like even when there is, there are loopholes.

    But I sympathize with you because I was in a similar situation. Anyway, my previous helper left us with only one day notice with back pain as excuse. She claimed that she would return once she feels better but she never did. It was easier for me to handle because I am not working. I went without a helper for about two months. We were only able to hire a helper after Chinese New Year. My conclusion with that experience is that you really can’t trust your helper based on what they said. To solve the leaving with little notice problem, I would try to hold an amount for their salary

    She was always homesick. She went home for a ten day visit one month into her work here ( I offered to pay for her bus fair to show good faith). Then one day, on the morning of her paid day, told me that she had a terrible back pain from carrying my then 7 month bud. I let her rested and slept in for the day while I looked after my son.

    I paid her that month salary anyway. The same evening, she told me that she is only feeling worse with her back and she can't really carry my son.

    She proposed that she would go back to her hometown to rest until she feels better. She would then come back and because of this time going home, she would stay and work Chinese New Year holiday. I thought it was not a bad idea and I do need help with my boy with so much celebration to go to during Chinese New Year.

    She packed most of her things and left a few of her old clothes behind. I had inkling that she might not want to come back but I trusted her. She called my Mum (My Mum helped me to hire her) 3 days after she went home that she won’t come back because her husband ask her to stay at home. My Mum asked how her back is. She said it’s a lot better now.

    I felt hurt for a while because I thought she lied to me and I then ask myself why she left us and if I’ve treat her fair or good enough.

    Well, I am getting longwinded now. I hope things would turn out fine for you.

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