Picking one of the stories that made the rounds on the internet last week, the case of the maid who connived with her lover to get away with her boss’s car while she was away. Can you imagine if she got the maid from an agent and she had a contract that put some responsibility on the agent for refund (even if its part) in the event something happened? She would have still being pained, but there is a level of comfort she will have, knowing it’s not a total loss. That is what writing your own contract does for you. It serves as a cushion that supports and assures you if something goes wrong. I read that she has found the lady though. Thank God!
“A contract can be defined as a binding agreement between two or more persons or parties; especially : one legally enforceable”. -Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
When you have settled for a maid the agent offers you, you are likely to be presented with a contract to sign. This contract usually prepared by the agency will detail certain rules and conditions which you are supposed to agree to. Most of these rules are centered around payment, refund, quit or sack notice, domestic violence and so on.
Many times, it never really gives attention to the everyday experiences you face as an employer. For example, what happens in a case when the maid beats your child? or steals? What happens if she gets pregnant? or you discover she has taken alcohol? What happens if she compromises confidential information on the family, like health status, financial status e.t.c. What happens if you discover she has your picture or children’s pictures on social media? What do you do when she starts giving common nanny complaints like her family members being sick?
These questions and more are reasons why I encourage employers to prepare their own contracts and present it to the agents before final acceptance of their maids. This should be done in the presence of a lawyer. There should be space for all three of you to sign. You, the agent and maid. That is after the maid has been made to understand everything that is written in it. Many employers are not aware they can prepare a contract. It is not enough to make a long list of rules and regulations for your maid when she resumes, which many of us are used to. That will count for nothing if anything happens because it is not binding in any way. I’m aware some people do not even hire through agents or ask for guarantors, so you bear the whole risk upon yourself.
Just like we talked about asking strategic questions before hiring here, there is no rule cast in stone on how your contract should look. List out the areas that matter to you and the values you would never compromise on, then draft out a contract, in simple language, around those things. The agent will now determine after going through it if they still want to move ahead with hiring out to you.
The advantages of writing your own contract are:
- It is proof that any action you take was agreed upon.
- It erases misunderstanding when anything happens.
- It also gives you security and peace of mind, that you have done everything within your ability to protect your end.
- Your maid also already knows the response her actions will get when she offends. She doesn’t have a basis to count your actions as wickedness.
- Your agent is put under pressure to get you the very best hands because he/she does not want to end up with liabilities.
If you have hired a maid and you already feel like you need to secure your end, you can still write a contract. Call up your agent and discuss bringing the contract for signing. For easy reading and understanding, the contract can be divided into categories such as: scope of work, holidays, confidentiality,punishable offences, terminable offences, Health, Security and so on.
If you would like me to draft a custom-made contract for you, Click here to send me a direct message.
Your Maid Whisperer.
P.S MAIDforME is on Instagram as @maidformee and Facebook : MAID for ME. Follow our page to get exclusive tips that will improve your employer-maid relationship.