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Helper home leave/pregnancy etc.

  1. #1
    forever is offline Banned
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    Helper home leave/pregnancy etc.

    My helper has asked for 3 weeks off to go back to the Philippines to visit her husband. She's young and I think there's a distinct possibility she may get pregnant. I understand of course that they have their own life and family etc., but I have a toddler and a baby and am working full time so cannot imagine having my sole helper getting pregnant and taking maternity leave (all paid, right?).

    Someone told me that I could ask her to get a shot before she leaves so that she won't get pregnant. This sounds a bit shocking to me--does anyone know if this is commonly done? My helper is in her 20s and already has a child, so I'd like to think she should not be in any hurry to have another one (maybe this is just the selfish part of me talking).

    I wonder if anyone has encountered this delicate issue before and what did you do about it? I honestly would rather hire a new helper now than have to deal with a pregnant helper, take care of two small kids while working full time. I don't want to sound horribly mean or anything but I'm just thinking about the various possibilities and what I can do now to make everyone happy.

    Any helpful suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    AmyH is offline Registered User
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    Would you consider it acceptable for your helper to ask you to have a shot to prevent pregnancy as she already had a full work load with taking care of your two small children? Or would it be Ok for your boss in work to ask you to have it as they would rather not pay you maternity leave?

  3. #3
    forever is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmyH View Post
    Would you consider it acceptable for your helper to ask you to have a shot to prevent pregnancy as she already had a full work load with taking care of your two small children? Or would it be Ok for your boss in work to ask you to have it as they would rather not pay you maternity leave?
    With all due respect, comments such as yours are pointless. I hire a helper because I cannot do without the help, so if it is likely that my helper will be out of work for several months, I need to know what I can do. That's all. I hope you are able to understand.

  4. #4
    rebekah is offline Registered User
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    Is she catholic? Because depo would be against her religion, not to mention the myriad of other reasons to not control another's reproductive choice.

  5. #5
    Gracey is offline Registered User
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    Forever -- What you describe is really unethical. Amy H might be harsh, but she's right.
    We all understand why you hire a helper -- for the same reason we do. We know that having a pregnant helper is a big pain in the ***. None of us want that.

    But we take risks and responsibilities when we hire someone -- the same way my company took a "risk" that they would have to hire a replacement for me, pay for medical insurance for me, and pay my 10-weeks maternity, too.

    You can't just randomly threaten to sterilize someone for one month for your convenience.

    You're posting on a parenting website. Don't forget that your helper is also a fellow woman, mother and person.
    She is also an employee, just like any other employee.
    Would you accept any other company or job that forced its female employees to have injections that prevented them from reproducing against their will?
    Would you accept this, if it was done to a Hong Kong or Western professional, instead of a poor domestic helper?

    I wonder if it's legal. It's illegal in HK to discriminate someone on grounds of pregnancy or "family status".

    Anyway, you're worrying prematurely. She's NOT actually pregnant, right? She just wants to go home to see her family, and happens to be of child-bearing age. So she MIGHT get pregnant, the same way that any woman her age MIGHT get pregnant, any month, if she has a husband or boyfriend. What are you going to do? Forever deny her the right to see her husband?

    You should have read the maternity leave details on the contract before you signed it. If you were really concerned, you should have hired an older woman. We turned down a newly married woman in her early 20s, and hired a slightly older woman who already has a school-aged child. OK, she still might get pregnant, but the chances are lower.

    The best you can do is try to talk to her -- to see if she's planning on getting pregnant. Who knows? Maybe she's been on the Pill all these years and you've been worrying for nothing?

    But it would be morally awful -- and, I wonder, borderline illegal -- to force someone to undergo such medical treatment against their will.

  6. #6
    Liquorice is offline Registered User
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    I think people are being a little harsh here. Forever just raised the issue and asked whether asking your helper to take a shot is commonly done, and did mention that she found it quite shocking herself.

    Forever - I think it is a personal thing, to be honest. I have no problem with taking contraception (I am also catholic) and did for a long time. I took it because having a child would interfere with my plans at the time - namely getting ahead in my career. Likewise, helpers have their own plans and for some of them getting pregnant would also be a disaster. My helper is pregnant and it has really turned her life upside down because financially, she needed to work for at least another 1.5 contracts and her husband needed to work at least another 2. Now she won't be able to because she doesn't want to leave her baby again (already left one at home), and her husband will find it hard to get a job without her because his English is pretty poor. She got pregnant right at the beginning of her first contract with me; she was using contraception, just condoms which she thought were fail-safe. She would have used stronger protection had she realised she would get pregnant, but she isn't that educated about contraception.

    So maybe talk to your helper and express your fears. Maybe getting pregnant would be a disaster for her too, who knows. If it would be, then maybe explain different contraceptive options to her. If she is open to contraception and really does not want to get pregnant then she may well welcome the advice.

    These people are so poor and rely so heavily on working here. It is a real shame when their lives/chances are so badly affected because they are ignorant about contraception.

  7. #7
    AmyH is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liquorice View Post
    I think people are being a little harsh here. Forever just raised the issue and asked whether asking your helper to take a shot is commonly done, and did mention that she found it quite shocking herself.
    My post might have seemed a bit harsh so the direct answer is that there is absolutely nothing that you can do to prevent your helper from getting pregnant as it is her right as a human being to make that decision for herself. I am not even sure that you can terminate her contract because you think she might get pregnant.

  8. #8
    lisa88 is offline Registered User
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    Your concerns as an employer are perfectly valid but there is no easy solution. If she falls pregnant, either you keep her or you find a way to get rid of her, legally or otherwise.

    Otherwise you could move to Singapore. Foreign domestic helpers there automatically lose their working visas and get deported the minute they fall pregnant. Humane or not? you decide.

    I am not siding with your helper but I know the dilemma both as an employee and employer of a maid. I was 4 months pregnant when I was offered a job with a HK employer. I disclosed to them that I was pregnant. They agreed to hire me anyway. I joined them when 7 months pregnant, but was not entitled to maternity benefits.

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