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Terminating Dishonest Helper - attached toddler

  1. #25
    MommyTo3 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by visitingthemoon View Post
    What? This sort of thinking is why there are so many problems with the helpers. My home is NOT her home. My home is her place of employment. Her home is a place in the Phillipines.

    So my things are her things too? So she can take and use my personal computer without asking? Sit on my massage chair watching TV while I'm at work? No, sorry, but my home is not her home. It's her place of employment. She's here on a temporary contract to fulfil her duties.
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    I find this comment quite shocking. My home is my helper's home, to a certain extent of course, but still. She lives here 365 days a year, is part of our family, supports our family, cares for and about our children. That doesn't mean she's using my personal belongings, she doesn't take things without asking (just as I don't take her things without asking), but this is her home for now. Once you decide on hiring a helper there are certain things you have to accept and live with (obviously stealing, etc. is wrong, no doubt about that).

    My helper takes occasional pictures of my children. She's proud of them, has been with us for 4 years, she shares them with her friends and family when she goes home. Her life is in Hong Kong, not in the Philippines, just as our lives are here in Hong Kong and not in Europe or the US. We are part of her life just as she's part of ours and we still have a normal employer / employee relationship, I am not her friend, but I care about her and respect her. I am grateful to have her. I personally don't see much harm in normal snapshot (non-sexual obviously) pictures. What's she going to do with them? No matter how you look at it, she's been a part of your life / family and you're a part of hers, it's only normal to have a few snapshots. I wouldn't make a big deal out of it ...
    thanka2, elle and satay sue like this.

  2. #26
    visitingthemoon is offline Registered User
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    Howardcoombs, out of curiosity, how many full time live in helpers have you ever employed? For many moms having a helper is the single most frustrating part of living in HK. Our family employs 3 full time live in helpers and the only one we have ever had to fire was this one. The other 2 have been with us 20 years and 30 years respectively. We treat all our helpers in our house with a lot a respect. We are polite but do not include them at the dinner table as part of the family like the previous poster. There are some matters we discuss that are family-only matters and we like to keep that within the family. They have full access to the Oliver's/City Super foods we eat and we give them a stipend of 800 each. But they are still the employees. They definitely eat better in our home than back at their home countries. They get 2 hour lunch breaks (they cook for themselves) and get to rest 12 hours, more than us. They work hard, yes, but so do we. And they never work harder than us.

    We used to have the "our home is your home" mentality at first. However in my experience this backfires in so many ways. If my home is your home, then you are free to chat on the phone whenever you want, even while you are watching my kids? I have found that "home is her home" mentality has made it so that she begins to feel more entitled to chat for most of the day even when we, the owners, are trying to get work done. She is uncompromisingly loud on her phone and simply does not do things we have asked her to do. I did not want to get into the details but she oversteps her boundaries way too far. For example she will smirk when asked to hang up and stay on for another minute willfully. This is clearly a non-emergency gossip call. And if her home is my home then can she use the TV and my personal items she wishes?

    The more you give her the more she takes. Getting her to do a simple task is like pulling teeth.

    My children are taught to call them Auntie and be polite and say please and thank you to them at all times. However, as time passes, you can see she will take advantage and begin to control the house, making you, the home owner, tip toe around the house. Some (not all) are opportunists and do not really want to work here under the guidelines and standards set in place by the HK govn't and by our household. They enter your home with exactly that mentality that "this is my home now" and they take over the whole house. Im not saying all are like that. But a few bad apples are enough for me to change my world view or lens so to speak, and treat them as an employee, not as a co-worker/colleague.

    At work I respect my employer who pays my salary and most people who work probably don't like going to work. It's not supposed to be leisurely. My job is to give them work not provide a home for them. Work is work! They came to HK to work in my home not to score a second home. Yes, life as a domestic helper SUCKS big time. I do agree on that and I feel for her because she is doing job she feels in beneath her qualifications. I don't think I have the tolerance to do what most of them have to do, but I'm in the lucky situation where I don't have to. But that does not mean they can steal, gossip instead of work, spit, and all the other things I have discovered just because they have a chip on their shoulder for the cards they were dealt.

    I can sympathize with their situation but the reality is that having a full time live in helper doesn't mean my home suddenly becomes their home.

    Yes I saw the movie The Help and I thought the daughter was a b****. * She deserved that pie for how she treated her helper. But going the other extreme and having the "my home is your home" attitude where everything is shared creates confusion and problems too. Not with all, but some.

    I am the employer and she is the employee. But we don't mistreat her. We treat her politely, with respect even though she does not reciprocate. We give her all the food she wants, and she takes the best pieces to herself before serving the rest of the family. Her home is in the Phillipines with her family and she is more than welcome to return home at any time.

    WRT the last post, howardcoombs esquire, please cite case law.
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  3. #27
    mummymoo is offline Registered User
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    I must say, I am inclined to agree with the OP. Helpers are not part of the family and the more you propagate this fiction, the more likely you're to develop problems 'good fences(boundaries) make good neighbours' and at the end of the day, it's simply not true. If your home was their home and they are truly 'part of the family' then they should be allowed to talk on their phone at any time, eat anywhere/any time, request special meals, sit and watch telly, take a nap on your bed, share your toiletries - this is what my mum, dad, sister, brother does when they come to visit. Also when they no longer decide to follow your instructions or don't wish to work for you any more, they are no longer welcome to reside at your place or be 'part of your family'.....

    The fact that your home isn't their home does not equate with being an abusive employer and I think that is what most posters are getting worked up about. Not considering a helper a part of your family and not perpetuating the fiction that your home is their home "which is perfectly untrue" for reasons outlined above, and considering your helper an employee doesn't mean that you can't truly care for them, give then great employment terms, treat them fairly ect. I think the OP clearly treats her helpers more than fairly, the fact she is not being fictional and chanting away that they are part of the family does not make her bad employer or person. In fact if anything she is honest as I am, do great work and we will take care of you fairly as an employee, do poor work and you need to get going....

    with regard to the post
    they can't go home at night after a long day at work, only a small room with a bed. They can't fix themselves their favorite food after a particularly trying day with your children. They can't plan a trip home unless it is agreed upon they their employer, sometimes, they can't call either unless it is agreed upon by their employer.
    What about nice clothes and getting dressed up? Mostly they would be accused of be slutty. Having a drink of wine? Oh my, they must be looking to get hooked up with a man.

    they can't go home at night after a long day at work-true they signed up to work in someone else' home as a domestic helper, same way an engineer on an oil rig doesn't get to go home to his family. Sometimes life deals you a crap hand, it is what it is
    only a small room with a bed - gross generalisation, our helpers have a room with a couch, tv, a bedroom alcove and private toilet/shower, another friend of ours has a separate residence for her helper downstairs complete with shared kitchen and toilet
    They can't fix themselves their favorite food after a particularly trying day with your children - who says? They can use their own salary to buy whatever it is they want to prepare or snack on or god forbid, in my home, use their allocated grocery money to do this. My helpers choose their own food, I have enough to do without organising their meals as well (and they like it this way)
    They can't plan a trip home unless it is agreed upon they their employer - you bet, and guess what I can't trip off overseas without negotiating it with my employer and team too, and yes, frequently I can't go
    sometimes, they can't call either unless it is agreed upon by their employer - yep, I'm not allowed to chat for hours at work whilst doing whatever it is I am PAID to do, irrespective of whether it would interfere with my job or not.
    What about nice clothes and getting dressed up? Mostly they would be accused of be slutty - perhaps by you but I like having my helpers look nice and gift them beautiful clothes which they pick out themselves from Marks and Spencer/ Zara for Christmases and birthdays
    Having a drink of wine? Oh my, they must be looking to get hooked up with a man- yes perhaps by you. I've never harboured these thoughts when my helpers have a little tipple fact is they don't want to !)
    Workingmom1975 likes this.

  4. #28
    mummymoo is offline Registered User
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    Moreover, if I understand it correctly google was not allowed/forced to remove images that were taken over the hedges/fences of homes as these are private residences, so my read on this is that yes one can control your own home and who gets to take pictures there ect,

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Street_View_privacy_concerns#cite_note-52

  5. #29
    howardcoombs is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by visitingthemoon View Post
    Howardcoombs, out of curiosity, how many full time live in helpers have you ever employed?
    I dont see how that is relevant but the answer is 3 over 18 years.
    ...snip a whole lot of irrelevant discussion...
    WRT the last post, howardcoombs esquire, please cite case law.
    Thats the whole point, there is no case law. If you need professional advice, see a lawyer and you will get the same answer.

    As for google : their issues came from other jurisdictions. They violated no laws in Hong Kong and were not required to remove anything in Hong Kong. I'm happy to be corrected if you can find&cite *Hong Kong* case law.

  6. #30
    visitingthemoon is offline Registered User
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    I am sorry this thread has turned into this. I was simply asking for tips on how to handle my toddler.

    Howardcoombs, my question is relevant. I say that "my home is your home" is the cause of the problem. You say that "my home is not your home" is the cause of the problem. I think we have correctly identified the issue. You are totally free to disagree as this is a forum and that's what these sites are for. However you have offended me by making an accusation that I will probably continue to have problems retaining help. If you have not hired and lived with full time help you would have no standing to say that. But, on the other hand, if you had personal experience then you would be in a position to say such things. That's why I asked whether you have actually had and lived with helpers. And that's why my question IS relevant.

    Besides, this is a free open forum - not a courtroom - so a question doesn't even have to be relevant to be asked.

    And the "rest" of the discussion is relevant because I was answering another posters question about how I treat my helpers. Not everything is directed towards you. There are other people in this discussion too.

    Now if "that's the whole point" about there being no case law, then why are you stating the law yourself? Who gave you the right to legislate? Your second post was purporting to state the law itself. You drew distinctions between public and private places and then stated what is and is not allowed under those circumstances. That sounds like the law to me!
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  7. #31
    HappyV is offline Registered User
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    Because 'case law' is a legal term that is not usually applicable in Hong Kong, for a number of reasons.

    As you said, we are all free to disagree on a forum - so here is my two cents.

    Whether you like it or not, your home is your helper's home. You can choose to set boundaries on what she can and cannot do and use, but it is her place of residence while in Hong Kong. I find the comment about using your computer etc quite strange - I am sitting in my home at the moment, but I know that this doesn't give me the right to go through my husband's personal things.

    By all means, fire her for dishonest behaviour (although the behaviour you have described sounds like it's her attitude, more than dishonesty that bugs you? Or did I miss a post?) - but please do not start making huge generalisations and then saying "some, not all" - which really reads as "most, bar a very few".

    In my experience of hiring helpers, it's always a unique relationship, and there are few generalisations.
    thanka2 likes this.

  8. #32
    howardcoombs is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by visitingthemoon View Post
    I am sorry this thread has turned into this. I was simply asking for tips on how to handle my toddler.
    I think you've already gotten a number of good responses on that issue.
    Thieving helper == terminate
    attached child == tell the child auntie has gone and they will forget quickly.

    Howardcoombs, my question is relevant. I say that "my home is your home" is the cause of the problem. You say that "my home is not your home" is the cause of the problem. I think we have correctly identified the issue. You are totally free to disagree as this is a forum and that's what these sites are for. However you have offended me by making an accusation that I will probably continue to have problems retaining help. If you have not hired and lived with full time help you would have no standing to say that. But, on the other hand, if you had personal experience then you would be in a position to say such things. That's why I asked whether you have actually had and lived with helpers. And that's why my question IS relevant.
    By irrelevant, I was suggesting that your points and questions were irrelevant to the discussion regarding amateur photography. I see that you wish to have a discussion about helpers and homes, lets do.

    My personal experience comprises of residing in Hong Kong for 18 years during which time, I have employed 1 part time and 3 full time helpers. At the same time, I've been friends and colleagues with dozens of people who have employed dozens more helpers and I've heard all manner of stories over the years. Since you made some generalizations, allow me to make a few of my own based on my observations.

    There are 3 types of helpers and their numbers roughly follow the patterns seen in regular populations.
    There are very few "angels" who go above and beyond no matter the situation. There are also very few "bad apples" who cause all kinds of mischief and misery. The rest, the vast majority are decent, honest, hard working people who are motivated and demotivated by their circumstances and the way they are treated; this being no different than any employee in any job situation.

    Have you noticed around you how some families always have problems with their helpers. No matter how many times they change helpers they are never able to keep "a good one", they just keep changing and changing all the while moaning about it? Well, I've observed that this has nothing to do with luck of finding a good one but it has more to do with the attitude of the employer and how they treat their helper. There are some employers that bring out the best in their helpers and there are others who do not.

    When I saw you writing for the first time, I saw a hint and thought "she writes like one of those...."
    When I saw your next 2 posts, my gut told me "she is one of those...."
    Your lasts 2 posts have confirmed it. I'm certain, based on my observations and experience, that you are one of those employers and I predict that you will continue to have problems with their helpers unless you change your ways.

    This is not meant to be offensive nor trying to attack/accuse you. It is my observation based on my past experience. If you dont like it, feel free to ignore it and listen to others who agree with you instead. I know there will be *many* that will agree with you. You can all band together and complain collectively how horrible helpers can be.

    Now if "that's the whole point" about there being no case law, then why are you stating the law yourself? Who gave you the right to legislate? Your second post was purporting to state the law itself. You drew distinctions between public and private places and then stated what is and is not allowed under those circumstances. That sounds like the law to me!
    Now, lets change the subject and talk about photography.
    I did not state any law - such laws do not exist in Hong Kong.
    I do not legislate anything - I'm attempting to help you by letting you know there is no law to help you compel your helper to delete her pictures. Dont bother trying to call the police. If you dont believe me, then get professional opinion. There is no shortage of lawyers in Hong Kong.
    You should ask her nicely (she might do it), you can also put gentle pressure on her to persuade her but do not think for a second that the law gives you any rights in this instance because you would be in the wrong.

    HAND
    Last edited by howardcoombs; 03-02-2012 at 08:33 AM.

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