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role of agencies

  1. #1
    lollipops is offline Registered User
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    role of agencies

    So things didn't work out with my helper after all and now she asks me to let her go (with payment in lieu of notice). I explained the situation to the agency and they told me there's nothing they can do, seems she's already made up her mind and they won't be able to talk her out of it. It's up to me to decide whether to give her 1 month's notice or money in lieu of. Also, they advised that there's nothing to stop her from (for example) staying in her room all day during the coming month if she so chooses and I can't really take her to the labor tribunal because I won't have proof that she's not working (she could argue she is just resting after her chores are completed).

    Now, I can't be bothered with all of this so I choose to pay her to leave. But what I'm annoyed about (apart from suddenly having no helper) is the agency not being more responsible about it or trying to help us to work something out. They told me they can only do their best to find a helper for me but once she's arrived they can't guarantee she won't leave or do something bad etc. The only thing they can guarantee is that all documentations are completed to bring her to HK. I asked if we were to arrange for a replacement (paying all the "documentation" fees again!), how could I minimise the chance of the same thing happening again, they just said they can't guarantee that and if it does happen again maybe I'd need to pay out 1 months salary to ask that new helper to leave also.

    I understand they can't force a helper to stay with an employer for 2 years, but isn't it irresponsible for them to just say their job is to get them here only and whatever happens is none of their business? Or do we really pay them to process the paperwork only?

  2. #2
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    carang is offline Registered User
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    it isn't their job to help you work it out. they are not mediators.

    you pay them to help in finding a helper and for processing the papers to get the helper here. that is all.

    there is no guarantee when you hire anyone, let alone a helper.

    sorry
    Last edited by carang; 02-24-2013 at 12:35 PM.

  3. #3
    lollipops is offline Registered User
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    thanks carang for setting it straight for me
    Another agency I used in the past did give me advise whenever I needed and when things started to go downhill they had a chat with my helper and we worked things out together. So I just assumed all agencies provided similar service and was very shocked to hear such words (that they only process paperwork) from the agency I'm using now.

    I fully understand there's no guarantee but would have thought an agency isn't there to just take your money, process paperwork, and then encourage you to pay out to the helper as if it's normal. (is it normal ??)

    OK so there isn't any "after sales" service at all? Which means the chances of finding a reliable helper doesn't really have anything to do with which agency you use?

  4. #4
    mummymoo is offline Registered User
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    Lollipops, the agencies here have a bit of a scam going and I am certain they make money on the churn rather than keeping helpers in their jobs long term (as if helpers ALWAYS worked out, a large number of them would go out of business as they dont make any money on renewals).

    In terms of your helper 'downing tools' there are some ways in which you could fire her for gross misconduct. I would have an independent person, a friend, neighbour, be at the house and have them witness the helper refusing to work. If you can document that over 2 days, I would say you have grounds for dismissal without notice.

    The other thing you can do is, if she comes in late for work, I would text her asking her to come in, then text her a warning. Then if she does that a few days in a row, again you could fire her for gross misconduct with proof of her conduct.

    Finally, if she fails to show up for work after her day off, I would text her a few times then go to the police to file a missing persons, and then again, 'surprise' fire her for gross misconduct.

    Helpers are like all other people who work. You do not get paid your notice if you fail to work your notice. She can not hide in her room all day with you being unable to do anything about it. Sure if she shows up to work and works at a snail's pace or has s surly attitude, there is not much you can do but if she 'crosses' the line, you do have some things you can and should do.

    Furthermore, I would point out to her that in fact SHE is giving YOU notice and not vice versa. End of the day though, it just might be better to pay her and get her out of your home. Make it hard for her by buying her a non refundable ticket (as naughty helpers ALWAYS want cash, because sometimes if they are able to find an employer they will pocket the cash and hide out in Macau ect)

    In terms of not wanting this to happen again. My advice passed on by a good local friend with tonnes of experience is this, ask the agencies to find for you helpers who have at least finished one contract in Singapore (means they at least are good enough to last one contract at least). This has been wise and sagely advice.
    carang and lollipops like this.

  5. #5
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    in our letter of notice/termination to our previous awful helper, i wrote in it that any dereliction of duty would be considered her quitting without notice and had her sign 2 copies when i gave it to her.

    but i can tell you this: after having her work her notice, i will NEVER, EVER, EVER do that again. i used to think it cruel that an employer could just up and terminate a helper and ask her to leave immediately so long as they paid her.

    after our last helper, that is the ONLY way it will go down in the future.

  6. #6
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    sorry. i just reread my first post. it wasn't meant as a nasty post..... my kids were climbing the walls and i've been sick for 3 days. i don't think i worded it as well as i could have.

    sorry!
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  7. #7
    EarlyYears is offline Registered User
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    Hi Carang,

    Why do you say you'll never ever allow your helper to stay the month's notice again? We are going to let our helper go as well and contemplating whether we should just pay her or give her one month's notice.

    Thank you.

  8. #8
    carang's Avatar
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    it was a nightmare. her already bad attitude was even worse. i didn't trust her with my kids AT ALL.

    i have realised since, that most helpers prefer to be given the $ and leave. it is just as uncomfortable for them working for someone who has fired them as it is for the employer having someone continue living in their home after they have been terminated. paying them out means that they get the salary without having to do the work. they can then use their two weeks to schedule interviews whereas if they work it out, they can only do interviews on sundays.

    the ONLY reason i would have a helper work out their notice now, is if we relocate out of hk and have to terminate our helper for that.

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