I have just hired a stay in household last week and I spent 2 days orienting her on the scope of work. This is very important to household helpers especially here in the Philippines. We can certainly avoid misunderstanding as well as misconceptions by giving a very descriptive scope of work.
So how descriptive can you go?
I am talking about a list of daily tasks including other details like frequency and the expected result. All these years, I have learned that as employers, we needed to be frank, honest and downright demanding with our hired help. We needed to let our expectations known right away. For example, we needed to create the a focus for our household help. This way, she can effectively address and prioritize her tasks. With me and my children, I have informed my househelp that her focus is meal preparation as well as cleaning and running small errands.
You might have to include explaining her viewing rights if you have a television. Some employers are not comfortable with the househelp using their electronic appliances. I used to have a maid who doesn’t care much about television but loves to listen to the radio once in a while. Let your househelp know which appliances are off limits. My current maid has made the silliest request ever the other day when she asked me if I would allow her to use my computers so she can have an account with Friendster. I was so shocked and I retorted “Day, sorry, hindi puede… ever!” You might have to blatant about things in your house especially when there are instances when hire help seem to think they are close to you and they can do whatever they want.
You should also include the big don’ts list inclusing guidelines on cellphone use and use of household telephone if you have one. Let her know if she is not allowed to make local, domestic and international calls. If you are not comfortable on letting househelp picking up your calls, let her know and get yourself an answering machine! 🙂 When it comes to my maids or house help, I only allow them to receive calls from immediate relatives. I also prohibit excessive text messaging and cellphone use from 8-11 am and 4-7pm. It is indeed annoying to see your househelp toting their cellphones like life lines around the house. Not only that, constant text messaging distracts them from doing their work.
Let your househelp know all possible scenarios including all basis for expulsion. Lying, not being on time and constant violation of rules will be tantamount to dismissal. Boundaries are important and your patience will be tested on a daily basis. When I see a promising househelp and she passes my initial screening, I like preparing Terms of Reference written in her own dialect. I suggest discussing every bullet point with the hire help. I also like to include a clear list of the benefits in the TOR as well. In my case, I usually offer medical assistance to her, including dental coverage. I also take care of her toiletries to ensure that she is hygienic and up to my standard when it comes to personal cleanliness.
On the last part of the TOR, I explain and expound her salary, including payday schedule and other benefits like 13th month pay and Christmas Bonus. I also like to include terms in case she wished to make cash advances. Terms of payment and acceptable reasons for cash advances must be explained to the letter to avoid misunderstanding.
After the blow by blow and point by point discussion, it would be an advantage if you could provide your househelp a copy of the TOR for her reference. Not only that, I suggest you let her sign each bullet point to ensure she understands each one of them. This will later help you avoid future headache and hassles.