Philippines Domestic Helper Walks Off Job

Here’s a follow-up to my previous post. One late Saturday afternoon, my wife and I became a bit perturbed. Our pump for our water tank and the pump for our pool room were running simultaneously. Our full-time domestic helper “BingBing” had been instructed on numerous occasions that we did not want both of the pumps running simultaneously.

asian maid

Photo Source: DHGate.com

The Quitter

We didn’t want to strain our “service” provider Guimelco which already has smacked us with over 22 power outages this month of August alone. Occasional low voltage outputs from Guimelco are an ongoing problem.

My spouse and I heard a commotion in the CR, Comfort Room, shared by our niece and “BingBing.” It seems our helper had heard my wife and me complaining and was getting ready to pack her things and walk off the job.

So our helper of almost seven months walked off the job and took a tricycle ride back home.

Don’t Pay in Advance

We had paid “BingBing” a month in advance. She owed us two weeks of work yet. Since my wife and I had paid BingX2’s younger sister in advance, and because she was a relative, we felt she could be trusted.

But how stupid are we, really? After almost 30 years with AT&T, I never received a paycheck until after I worked two weeks prior to receiving that check.

Requests for salaries in advance are a recurring problem we’ve had ever since we started hiring domestic helpers. While I don’t believe that such a practice is common back in the States, we’ve discovered it’s the norm for the Philippines. At least on our tiny island province we call home, Guimaras.

Our Part-timer Helper Goes to Full-Time

We asked “Marge”, our 60-year-old part-time if she wanted to work full-time. She didn’t.

Since “Marge” only worked Friday through Monday, we needed someone to help out ASAP. My asawa is still suffering from occasional gastritis attacks and doesn’t need the stress of taking care of our household without any help.

I was prepared to step in and take on some occasional duties though my previous attempts at housekeeping were not exactly welcomed by my spouse as noted in yesterday’s article.

But, only a couple days after “BingBing” left, “Marge” decided she wanted to work full-time after all, but with one stipulation: she wanted every Wednesday off.

“Marge’s” 5-6 Conundrum

Seems our 60-year-old helper needed to be off on Wednesdays so she could pay off her weekly 5/6 loan interest. 5/6 loans, which are illegal in the Philippines. 5/6 simply means the amount you borrowed must be returned with 20% interest added.

Example: If you borrowed P1,000, then you  should pay it back with 20% interest: 1,000 x .20 = 200. You have to pay P1,200 in return.

With “Marge” taking off on Wednesdays, a school day, that meant our niece and nephew who lived with us and went to college wouldn’t be able to help out.

But since we had no alternative at the time and needed a full-time helper we agreed to the mid-week day off request.

Another Advance Pay Request is Granted

A few days ago my better half informed me that she had granted our new full-timer “Marge” a 1,000 peso advance. Now 20 bucks doesn’t seem like much but we already foolishly given our household assistant her 3,500 peso, 70 US Dollars, August monthly pay in advance.

Now you would have thought we had learned our lesson but our helper’s granddaughter was in the local hospital and we wanted to help out.

I didn’t say anything to our household assistant about this latest 1,000 peso payment my asawa had doled out. However, a few days ago, when we received a text message from our helper’s daughter asking for another 1500 peso advance, I had plenty to say about it.

Anger coursing through my veins, I felt like changing from mild-mannered Bruce Banner to the raging Incredible Hulk.

I still said nothing to “Marge” but I let my asawa know exactly how I felt. So I promptly put out a “Help Wanted” text request among my expat friends and posted a call for help on my wife’s Facebook page.

Advance Payments are not the Only Issue

But the advance payment requests are not the only issue I have with our current full-timer, and I’ve shared my concerns with my wife. Marge’s quality of work doesn’t measure up to our former full-timer, “BingBing.”

Sure, our former helper who walked off the job is half Marge’s age, but I find that she doesn’t do all the chores that her young counterpart did. Either the senior doesn’t remember what all of her household duties are, or maybe she just conveniently forgets. My wife’s standard reply? “She’s old, dear.”

So we’re looking for a new domestic helper in the Philippines. My spouse informs me that I am the one that has to let “Marge” go once we find a replacement. I’ll have to muster up my inner Donald Trump at that point and tell her “You’re fired!”

The Old Softie

But after some inner reflection and much meditation which involved watching all the hype for the upcoming Mayweather/McGregor bout, I’ve decided to keep our senior household assistant .  Marge will not be paid a month in advance, anymore, however, but we will pay her salary at the end of each completed work week.

WWJD? What Would Jesus Do?Mayweather vs McGregor

I’m pretty sure Jesus would give Marge another chance. As far the fight goes, I’m hoping He’s betting on McGregor. I think Mayweather could use a strong dose of humility. Not that McGregor is exactly a wallflower himself.