Ways to avoid hiring wrong domestic worker - LiveTimes Online

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Thursday, 16 April 2015

Ways to avoid hiring wrong domestic worker

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Ways to avoid hiring wrong domestic worker


Ugodre Obi-Chukwu
It was just like any other Saturday afternoon for Mr. Dike, as he relaxed in his living room watching football with a few guests when he suddenly remembered his driver was yet to return from an errand after an hour. One hour soon turned into three hours with his driver nowhere to be found. He felt a pain in his stomach when he realised his driver went out with his six weeks old car. He had employed him about a year ago and knew nothing of him except he came to work every morning from somewhere in Ajah. His car now gone was never to be found again.

After months of deciding whether to get a nanny or not Mr. and Mrs. Thomas decided it was time. They hired a nanny through an “agent” introduced to them by a friend. Un known to them and indeed the agent, another couple had just rejected the nanny after she tested positive for HIV. The nanny resumed immediately and six months into her new job is yet to undergo a medical test.

Abdul was fast asleep when suddenly a sharp pain he felt from a cold metal object pressed against his neck woke him up. He soon got tied up, his mouth sealed as the robbers began an operation that saw his employers robbed of all their belongings including cash. It was an ordeal consistent with frequent robberies in the neighborhood where they lived. Security guards are locked up and beaten giving the robbers full access to the main house. However, something seemed strikingly different this time as the victims recounted. The robbers knew their way around the four-bedroom duplex suggesting this may have been an insider arrangement.

These are stories most of us can relate to either directly or indirectly. Domestic staffs are a “necessary evil” (as some like to suggest) and include a large source of employment for most in the rural areas. Considering their relative ease of migration, caution should be taken during employment and post-employment. Had Mr. Dike simply decided to know where his driver lived perhaps things would have been different. Had the Thomas family conducted a simple medical test, they would have known the apparent danger of employing the new nanny.

A human resource consultant once opined that before employing drivers, it is important to get an acceptable reference from them. One of such is from a religious leader or community leader in the neighborhood where he or she resides. It is an important step that is often seen as arduous by most who just want to employ quickly. “If one can take reasonable care in employing office staffs isn’t it more important to replicate such with domestic staff” he said. Ensuring that they have a valid drivers’ license and occasionally sending them to driving school is also one essential routine most fail to imbibe.

Nannies and house helps who work and live with their employers even deserve more scrutiny before employment. Apart from ensuring proper reference is obtained from them, background checks should regularly be made. Most of them come from villages and towns hundreds of kilometers away from their place of employment making such checks quite onerous sometimes. With lack of proper national identification in Nigeria verifying social security status of most domestic staff is nearly impossible.

As such, most should endeavour to recruit nannies and helps who live and come from neighboring towns where they reside to make background checks easy. It is also advisable to recruit them from your village or neighbouring towns as your relatives can easily help with background checks. For example, if you are from Onitsha in Anambra state and reside in Lagos, then getting a housekeeper from Onitsha or its environs seem more logical and easier for background checks than recruiting one from another country or a far distant state.

Apart from mandatory pre-employment medical test, domestic staff must also be provided with proper medical care. It is important for you to assess the medical condition of your to be domestic staff in relation to the job you want them to perform. No points employing a house help with a heart condition when he or she is expected to perform rigorous chores. Most medical insurance in Nigeria cost as low as N30, 000 per annum and with just N100, 000, three domestic staffs can be insured. This also provides the benefit of avoiding unanticipated cost, which may even be more expensive and burdensome than insurance.

For domestic guards who are referred to you by their kinsman, which is typically the case, ensure that the employer of the kinsman is aware. Most employ guards through the help of fellow guards living within the same neighborhood. Guards with a “live in” family are often preferable as they provide stability and continuity. In the absence of the above then a corporate guard may just be the best option. It probably cost N10, 000 more but not more than your safety.

The principles highlighted above apply to most domestic staffs however it is not exhaustive. Endeavour to make necessary inquiries before recruiting.

What has been your experience so far with domestic staff? Why not share with me via my email address ugodre@nairametrics.com or tweet at me @ugodre. You can also visit my blogwww.nairametrics.com for more personal finance articles.

Culled from Punch

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