Domestic workers are mothers too
Do you give your helper time off during the holiday season?
This past December I saw something that didn’t sit well with me: Domestic workers who remain with their employers during the festive season. Why does a family feel that a domestic worker does not deserve to take a holiday during a period where families traditionally get together? You have been with this woman the whole year- what make you think that she does not deserve to be with her family while you are having a good time with yours?
What about the law?
One time at the beach I saw a domestic worker in her full uniform looking after the children while the rest of the family went for a swim. Legislation states the following: Should a domestic employee work on a public holiday that would, but for the public holiday, normally have been a working day (assuming a full day is worked), the employee is entitled to be paid double wages for that day, or one and one-third of the normal wages plus a day's paid leave, within seven days of the public holiday. I am all for that clause in legislation, but still wonder why this woman cannot go on holiday.
I once saw something that surprised me at a music festival that lasted the whole weekend: A lady looking after the kids while mama and papa were getting wasted and having a jol. Is it too much for us that we cannot even manage to spend the holiday without our helpers/domestic workers/maids? This sometimes boils down to “ubuntu” – you might have plenty of money- you know that you can buy her services and she needs this job so that she can take care of her family- but why take advantage of that?
Speaking to a few ladies, I was impressed to hear that they do let their helpers go on holiday during December, because they are also taking a holiday, (unless of course the helper volunteers to stay over during holidays).
Too much holidaying to do housework?
Sometime back I wrote an article entitled “Whose child is it anyway?” and now am tempted to ask “Whose house is it anyway?”- We now fail to look after our homes even when we have the time.
Nwabisa says: If I can take a holiday and have a rest I believe that the same should apply to my domestic worker. This also gives me time to be with the child and get to spend time with her and I enjoy that. She goes home to Lesotho and I am happy to take over my household.
Thami: If she started late in the year then she does not get a holiday in December. She can, however get a holiday during the year. It depends when she started.
Well, it’s different strokes for different folks, but I think sometimes having a good heart and being considerate goes a long way.
Read more by Masanda Peter
Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.
Could you cope without your helper during the holidays?