Monday, September 17, 2012

Helper Woes

I'm not one to publicize my problems in this blog. In fact, I want this blog to be a source of positivism. But on the other hand, I want it also to be a source of information from my real-life experiences as a wife, a mother, and a homemaker.

The past week, I've been so stressed because of domestic issues. My helper, the one assigned to household chores, asked permission last July if she can go home this September. I asked her why. She said, she wanted to attend her baby brother's baptism who was already 16months old, but wasn't baptized yet because they did not have money.

Just to give a short background.

I got this helper, let's call her ANNA, from my mother's hometown. Her nanay is a go-to errand person in my mother's ancestral house. Everytime they need someone to do laundry, cook for occasions, or what have you, they go to her Nanay who is paid on a per assignment basis. Mind you, they're paid big for the rate usually given in municipalities. Her nanay is a hard worker, but is known to be *excuse me for the word* mukhang pera. Her tatay has no job and an alcoholic. They are 7 siblings, the youngest is 16 months old. Her nanay is 46years old (HELLO RH BILL!).

In my other post, I shared that she was supposed to be Rocco's yaya, but I switched her to the household help because of skillset issues.

She started with us November 2011, and hasn't reached yet the 1st year tenure. Her starting pay was in accordance with the law, as stipulated in the Kasambahay Bill. She had free grocery allocation each month, free medicine, very comfortable sleeping conditions, only worked for 4-6 hours a day. I was supposed to enroll her to SSS and Philhealth but she could not provide a birth certificate. I feel that I've been a good employer to her. We treated her very well.

She was the quiet type, rarely talked, and I thought she was just the shy type. But I guess it's really true. Beware of the quiet person, because they might just stab you in the back without you knowing.

After a few months, her Nanay started making salary advances. I was very vocal that I do not want this setup because Anna would no be motivated to work anymore if she does not receive her pay on a monthly basis because it's been advanced. I wanted to avoid situations wherein she will be forced to steal because all her money went to her Nanay. But my mother told me it's so difficult to find household help nowadays. Still, I disagreed. It was my mother who gave the advance salary to her Nanay. She initially wanted 5 months advance. We only allowed 3 months.

Now come vacation time. I asked Anna if she had budget for her trip home. Our arrangement when we took her in is, she would only get 1 free vacation fare, and that would be for December. If she is to take other vacations, it would be unpaid, and she would shoulder her expenses.

She said if I could pay first for her expenses. Utang nalang daw. I didn't want to argue anymore so I just bought her the cheapest ticket I could get.

She was set to leave September 5. Prior to that, I arranged for her travel. I prepared her food, her snacks, her water. I prepared everything to make her trip comfortable. My husband dropped her off the pier. We gave her ample load allowance so she could text us regularly on her whereabouts.

When she arrived in their hometown, which is the same hometown as my mother, that's when her true colors came out. She made up stories that I did not give her salary before going home.  She went home Sept 5. She was supposed to be back Sept 10. Her salary was due Sept 15. I was told that her Nanay got mad because she did not dole out any money to them.

When it was time for her to come back to Cebu, she said she doesn't want to come back anymore. I asked her why. She had a lot of dramatic reasons. But the simple truth is, she and her Nanay orchestrated everything so I would be obliged to give her another salary increase.  I told her she still had 3months of advance, how would she pay for it? She said she doesn't owe me anything.

They were putting me on a tight edge because they knew I was desperate to have a helper. Of course, I did not give in to their drama. I asked my Tita to look for another helper, and THANK YOU LORD, she found one on the same day, and they arrived in Cebu safely. This new helper is so amiable, always smiling, and I hope she will stay that way for a long time.

Looking back at this recent experience, I can't help but reflect:

1. I am one to help, but I feel more open to help to those who are humble, who does not pre-empt my help and says thank you.
2. Being more well off is not a sin. Why should I be guilty if I can buy a house, or my own beautiful things? I work hard. I pay my dues.
3. Why are those who are less fortunate the ones who are arrogant? It's as if we owe it to them to make their life easier, but they do not even help themselves. The nanay and tatay do not work, while they ship of their children to be human slaves while they wait for the monthly salaries.
4. I really felt really hurt with what they did because I truly cared for Anna, had high hopes for her, and even included her in our future plans.

Oh well, it's their choice to bury themselves to the ground.  I'm just happy because God looks after us. So far, I'm happy and satisfied with our new househelp.

Note: I got a text telling me that my previous helper regret what happened and was just hoping that I increase her salary. Well, it's the biggest lesson learned for her. Nasa huli talaga ang pagsisisi.

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