Forums  •  Classifieds  •  Events  •  Directory

 

Advice please

  1. #1
    Trying is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Hong Kong
    Posts
    22

    Advice please

    We've had our first helper for the past 3 months and generally she is very very good. She came from another expat family on recommendation.

    The only thing is, I'm a little concerned that she may not tell me when things get broken. A few weeks ago a friend came to stay and broke a vase. This happened while I was out so the friend hadn't been able to tell me what happened before I came back and noticed it (she'd gone out in the meantime). I knew that it had to be either the friend or the helper so casually asked my helper, since she was around, if she knew what happened - she said it was probably my friend (which was true as I confirmed later). However I know that my helper had cleaned the room while both friend and I were out, and would have hoped that my helper would have drawn my attention to the broken vase rather than leaving me to find bits of glass on the windowsill. Anyway, since I didn't want her to think I didn't believe her, I let the matter drop.

    Today I noticed that 2 glasses are missing from the kitchen cupboard. They're just regular glasses so if they've got broken it's no big deal and I wouldn't think of deducting her pay or anything - accidents happen. But I'm thinking that maybe I should ask my helper if she knows where they are (she might be using them in her room I suppose) or whether they have got broken, so that she knows that I do notice things and to make it clear that I'd much rather be told upfront if mistakes happen.

    Would I be making an unmerited fuss if I talk to my helper about this (casually)? I know this is a little thing and I'm a worrier but I've got two babies on the way so the potential for things to break is about to multiply and I would like an open line of communication rather than finding out that something is not there right when I need it...

  2. #2
    Newbie_hk is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    TKO
    Posts
    216
    It is possible that your helper is not telling you because she is scared because of two things:
    1) you might ask her to pay for damages and take it out of her salary
    2) you might get mad/scream at her

    These two factors are plausible as there may be employers who do make their helpers pay for damages.

    When I hired my helper, I told her we'd prefer she'd tell us of any damages rather than us finding out. We assured her that we will not make her pay. Breakages are an unfortunate part of housekeeping no matter how careful you are.

    As you had pointed out, it's not the breakages that's the issue but the open communication lines. I suggest that you talk to her if it's bugging you that much. If you can reassure her that you won't take it out on her or her salary, then she may be confident enough to tell you if a similar incident happens in the future.

  3. #3
    jvn
    jvn is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Mid-Levels, Hong Kong
    Posts
    347
    Yep, I think you're thinking too hard :-)

    Just bring up the topic of breakages, shrunk washing and all things like that in general, say you don't know what her previous employers did but you know that accidents happen and you'd just like to know if anything does get broken so you can go and get another one if necessary. You may need so say it more than once at different times so that it sinks in.

  4. #4
    lesliefu is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    South District
    Posts
    1,055
    i won't be too hard - the situation you described sounds all too familiar! just casually bring up the topic sometime and tell her your expectations - reassuring her that, though in the contract the helpers should pay up to $300 but that you won't ask her to pay for the damages. it might take more a few times to realize you're serious though! :)

  5. #5
    Gracey is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Hong Kong
    Posts
    534
    Just mention it to her casually. It's not a big deal, but you want to establish that you are not like the majority of HK employers who would scream, yell or fine her for breakage.
    She might also have forgotten. My helper is lovely -- aside from some small road bumps -- but she's not super organized. If I tell her to write things down, or do things in a very detailed way, she sometimes just forgets some of the details. When I ask her, she's like "Oh... yeah."
    Sometimes we have rather unrealistic expectations of our helpers -- particularly us A-type career women. These women are used to being treated like maids, and are generally taught to be subserviant, so it might take some time to teach her to think differently.

  6. #6
    Trying is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Hong Kong
    Posts
    22
    Thank you everyone - I know I'm a bit hormonal at the moment!

    Taking on board all your advice I mentioned the missing glasses today, bringing it up at the same time as other small things (certain things not suitable to put in microwave etc). I didn't sit her down to talk about but just wandered into the kitchen...hope she took it on board, she denied that they were broken or that she was using them in her rooms (saying that they were not there when she arrived) and I didn't push it, but just said IF anything does get broken please tell me so that I can replace it.

    I don't think she's scared of me...straight after this conversation she started discussing the new baby things we brought out over the weekend....suggesting we get a bottle warmer, that our stroller is too small (a surprise this, as we have a gigantic double thing) and asking where the cribs are (we are planning to use Moses baskets for the first few months and not buying cots until a little later)....

Similar Threads

  1. TMI - but really need help/advice
    By MilkMonster in forum Family Health
    Replies: 33
    Last Post: 12-14-2009, 12:53 PM
  2. Need some advice!!!!!
    By h2o in forum Preparing for the Arrival
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 10-07-2008, 03:27 PM
  3. Need advice please!
    By anne01 in forum Hong Kong Pregnancy Forum
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 11-20-2006, 08:49 PM
  4. New in HK - Need some advice!
    By Tulip in forum Everything Else
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 10-07-2005, 12:29 AM
  5. Need DH and some advice
    By NewMover in forum Helper Forums
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 07-28-2005, 12:34 PM
Scroll to top