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My helper needs a helper? Advice please!

  1. #9
    Gracey is offline Registered User
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    I agree with everyone here. She has it good compared to 90% of helpers in Hong Kong. You seem like extremely fair employers who give her a reasonable workload, decent pay and a degree of freedom.
    She's just testing the boundaries to see how far she can go.
    Doing the housework / childcare for a normal family should not be draining if that's your only task full-time.
    It's not a matter of what she "likes" to do. I sometimes do tasks at work I don't like, but I signed up for my job and get paid a salary for it.
    It's a shame, too, since she gets along with your kids.
    Have you tried talking to her about how serious the situation is? That she could lose her job?

  2. #10
    sea princess is offline Registered User
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    Hi Gracey
    we have talked about it and she has been very honest in telling me her capabilities which has made it hard and why I posted I suppose? She has told me she cannot do the job as it is and she understands if I need to find a new helper or if we decide to take on extra help, she said she does not expect the same salary obviously. So I think she's being pretty resonable and I like to think it's genuine. I suppose that's my dilema? She also acknowledges it's a good job, pay, conditions and she doesnt have to cook (she hates cooking) and knows she would be hard to employ. Aghh, the dilema!

  3. #11
    penelope is offline Registered User
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    Hi Sea princess

    I think it depends on what you re really looking for. I m in a similar situation. My helper is brilliant for some things:perfect english, really imaginative with my 4 years old for play, she taught him a LOT. She s very smart, loves to read(she borrows a lot of my books) for xmas she wanted a subscription to National geographic magazine !!!
    She is the PERFECT nanny

    But she doesn t cook at all, and she does expect a long lunch break(2h)
    She starts at 8 am finishes at 7pm, and her salary is very good ($7000 a month)
    We have 10 months old twins as well so days are long for everybody.

    For me the choice was who do I want to look after my kids??? Do I want someone who doesn't care being treated like almost a slave ( I m generalizing) or someone who is smart who I can trust.
    Yes people might think that she s "using" us but we don t feel that way. she has the same expectations that I would have in a job why is that so bad???

  4. #12
    lisa88 is offline Registered User
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    Hi Seaprincess

    There's no such thing as the perfect employee, nor the perfect employer for that matter. No one in any job situation gets to choose what they like to do, or are good at. However the whining and sulking by your maid is not acceptable behaviour, I would never tolerate it. It's a hassle to find another maid but I would do so before the rot sets in. THere are certainly some good maids out there. Good luck searching.

  5. #13
    zyxwv is offline Registered User
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    Seems you have two issues here: (1) helper wants to do childcare and not cleaning, which is what you primarily hired her for; and (2) helper blatantly disregards your schedule/requests.

    As a SAHM, I'd have a pretty hard time dealing with #1 but might be able to get comfortable with it if I thought she was truly wonderful with the kids. Even 2,000 sq/ft isn't really that much space to clean and probably doesn't need to be cleaned nearly as thoroughly or as often as most helpers are asked to clean. However, there is no way I could live with #2. She blew you off two days after you made a simple request that she treat you as her boss rather than someone she is doing a favor for?! How could she even be a caretaker for the kids when she takes off without telling you during the day? Sounds to me like she actually isn't all that committed to childcare either. I would already be looking for her replacement. Having to start from scratch with a new helper (and having to find one again) is a total bummer and I'm sorry you have to do so, but it probably will be best in the long run.

    Also as a SAHM, I would suggest that you make sure any helper sees you as the boss and not your husband. Everyone runs their family differently, but if it were me, I would have talked to her and not had your husband be the one to do it. The helper should, of course, listen to and take direction from your husband if he gives it, but if you are at home all day, you run the house and she should respect you as the boss. You can also be the employer for immigration purposes even if you are here on a dependent visa (as I am), they just want proof of household income not your personal income.

  6. #14
    sea princess is offline Registered User
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    Hi penelope
    Thanks for your perspective. It sounds very similiar to ours. Yes, I value the child care/nannying very highly even if it is infrequent. My helper is similiar, a reader, very smart. We have similiar university backgrounds. She is different from other helpers and I suppose that was the attraction for me. She was always going to struggle with the house chores, I knew that. I have seen her become more and more tired from it and I want to be a reasonable human being without being a door mat. it's hard to strike the balance. I think she pushed the boundaries as she rally wanted to be caught. She didn't know how to bring up with me the fact she wasn't managing the role. I am a new mum and like most women, have a travelliung husband.
    SAM and zyxwz and lisa88
    I agreee with you that the issue really is the whining about it and ignoring my request. I think I tiptoed around the issue when I told her and you need to be very balck and white with helpers. I have learnt a big lesson there. I have sat down and had a conversation with her regarding this. She has apologised and has acknowledged she was wrong.
    I appreciate everyone's advice and support. I'm not sure what I plan to do now. I am still thinking about my various options and will do the math on havng someone come in for a few hours here and there and reduce her salary accordingly. We can see if it works, if it doesn't, I'll need a new helper.

  7. #15
    TheQuasimother is offline Registered User
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    Sea Princess, you do realise why she's willing to take a pay cut, less duties etc. instead of being fired right? My current helper (whom I have just told that it's no longer working out - with very good reason (long story, not for here) is like yours. I've tried to terminate her before but she begged not to be terminated despite making MAJOR mistakes concerning house and kids that would have given any parent a heart attack and I kept her going. I found out that if a helper is terminated, while she can find another job especially if she needs to, has to pay at least HKD20000 for re-employment.

    But, in our case, we have decided after lots and lots of patience, when she made another MAJOR mistake which put our baby's safety at risk, we've decided to cut all ties. I've been interviewing a lot of helpers and there are LOTS who will be willing to live out (and do a lot more) for their basic salary as long as they are paid for boarding and given their food allowance and transport. We're down to 2 whom we liked (came with references too). I'll be deciding tomorrow so I'll pass you the contact details of the one we didn't chose. Both are willing to do the job for basic wage + boarding + food allowance + transport allowance and work any hour you request.
    “If you want to get to the castle, you’ve got to swim the moat.” Richard Jenkins in Eat Pray Love

  8. #16
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    penelope, while it's fine and good that you pay a very high salary and you get excellent child care for it (good for you!) that is NOT what this helper was hired to do. she was hired to clean the house with occasional childcare responsibilities.

    i don't know about where you come from, but if i had a job and i took a 2 hour lunch without prior consent from my boss two days after being given a warning for exactly the same thing...i have a feeling that i wouldn't last long in the position. just because she lives in your house doesn't change the "rules of engagement".... if what she has done would not be accepted in any other workplace, why accept it in your home, the place that is supposed to be your refuge, your sanctuary?

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