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good help is so hard to find...

  1. #9
    Gataloca's Avatar
    Gataloca is offline Registered User
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    Jan 2010

    Oh, by the way. My helper eats what we eat, and we do the shopping by ourselves. We gave her some money once on a Sunday, since she was going out anyway, and asked her to buy spices or whatever she needs for cooking. She bought some stuffs and gave us 2 suspicious looking receipts. It wasn't a lot of money, but we really found it suspicious that she spent it all (no one cent more, no one cent less). And for some of the stuff she bought (like coconut cream), we have an idea about how much it should cost, as we have bought that before for her. We actually expected that she could buy that for a lower price (as probably her Indonesian friends/relatives know where she could get Indonesian products for better price), not higher.

    As for expensive food, we save them for Sunday when she is off, and cook it ourselves.

  2. #10
    elle is offline Registered User
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    May 2010
    hk south side

    We honestly haven't set any rules regarding minute day to day stuff - i.e. what she eats, when she is on the phone, etc., but we have not needed to. From day one our helper has conducted herself in a way that is acceptable to us. If my employer had to give me such silly instructions about normal workplace behaviour I wouldn't have a job and we would not employ someone who did not have good commen sense regarding these things. Our helper does not talk on the phone when she is busy, although I don't mind at all if she answers a call while working - after all I take personal calls at work, time and circumstances permitting.

    Regarding food, she can eat anything in the house (imported and expensive or not) and she gets a food allowance. According to some friends we are "too" generous in this respect and it doesn't seem the norm, but I do not feel right treating her as second class in any way. If my boss ate a steak at lunch in front of me and told me I couldn't have one I would be insulted. However, our helper tends to buy most of her own food out of the food allowance we provide. We also allow her to buy soda, bread, rice and other basics on our grocery bill and her food allowance is mostly spent on meals out in the evenings with friends.

    Regarding receipts, she has ALWAYS given us receipts and exact change for shopping (although I do the majority of the grocery shopping once a week she does pick up items - milk, fresh produce, etc. throughout the week), although I don't think that I have ever asked for them. She highlights anything she bought for personal consumption and specifies whether or not we paid for it or she did. Honestly I don't care if her shampoo or whathaveyou ends up on our grocery bill as I feel we are in a better position to shoulder day to day expenses like this and she has NEVER abused the privilege.

    Anyway, point is, I think it depends on the attitude and background/ previous training of your helper as with any employee. You can't teach common sense and if you feel everything is a bad fit it probably won't work out later, particuarly if instructions aren't being understood or followed.

    TNT likes this.

  3. #11
    mummymoo is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Hong Kong

    I think Thanka has some great points.
    The main thing is to show your helper you are not a pushover and you WILL challenge her when it seems like she is lying to confirm or refute it one way or the other. The bit about the power outage at the shop. You should have tackled that one as soon as it happened, because this sort of aberrant behaviour tends to escalate left unchecked.

    You overlooking it is communicating to her either 1) that you're not aware 2) that you don't care 3) that you're a push-over and even though you do care you won't confront her ....and I would add 4) you need her too much and will just suck it up

    About the phone use. My helper tried it on with chatting in the car on my DD way to school. It lasted for 20 minutes, it had never happened before. After she got off the phone I immediately told her, I prefer you not to speak on the phone whilst you are working or around my children. This hasn't happened before and you've always shown good judgment (she has!) so please don't let this happen again. Later on in the evening, to drive the point home, I had a chat with her to reiterate that the phone was not to be used when she was around my DD and working. If she had some down time like whilst she is waiting to pick my DD up after class then she could use the phone, but not after she has picked up my daughter. We have not had a problem since but I have a great helper and I am sure it was a onetime lapse because something was going on in her life.

    About the grocery bills. You need to monitor this as it is likely to escalate. You must ask for all receipts, even the wet market gives receipts, and tell her not to buy from that particular shop if they won't furnish a receipt. My previous helper was skimming the groceries bills by exactly this method, claiming that the wet market doesn't give receipts. Since she has gone, my current helpers always supply receipts. Usually from the market it is a scrawl in Chinese (so usually the helpers can't fake these as they can't write). I have asked my helper to note down in English what the receipt is for. If in doubt google the word e.g fish in Chinese and see if it matches the scrawl on the paper.
    About buying a few extra things for herself. Well that is up to you as an employer. My helpers are told that they can spend $100 per week on treats for themselves, they buy drinks, crisps, little pastries ect as what they prefer to eat may not be exactly the same. It is up to you to set the ground rules but speak up. Don't just keep letting things slide as you get more and more cross, and after wards the relationship will be irretrievably broken.

  4. #12
    satay sue is offline Registered User
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    Aug 2011

    OP, you have some great advice here, I think you know what you have to do...

  5. #13
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    May 2009
    Quote Originally Posted by Gataloca View Post
    LOL! Stuck in a grocery store!!! Stuck inside???? What store was that? And she was stuck because they didn't allow the people to leave until the power was back, or the door couldn't open? I think the fire department would have intervened in the situation was the latest. Two hours stuck in a store without AC, I would have probably fainted! Agree with Thanka that this is the worst lie ever!
    I ran that one by my helper who is from the Philippines. I don't know where the OP's helper is from but my helper told me, "Oh, power outages like that happen all the time in the Philippines." I guess the OP's helper didn't get the memo about how this sort of thing rarely, if ever happens in Hong Kong. If you're gonna lie, at least have some background info. so you can make it believable! :P
    “Many women have described their experiences of childbirth as being associated with a
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    To such a woman childbirth is a monument of joy within her memory.
    She turns to it in thought to seek again an ecstasy which passed too soon.”

    ~ Grantly Dick-Read (Childbirth Without Fear)

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