Before you hire that house help, read this
Recently, I was horrified to read in mainstream media that a house help had murdered her employer together with her (the employer’s) 3-month-old baby boy. It was a murder most foul and it left many Kenyans reeling in shock.
There have been many horrifying stories in the media of house helps mistreating little ones who are left in their care. There are also cases of theft and other crimes committed by domestic workers, including kidnapping of children.
You might have gone through the Employment Act 2007 and wondered how you can afford to maintain a house help in today’s economy. Hiring a house help is out of reach for some Kenyan households, with conditions such as:
- A monthly salary of Kshs. 11,000/-
- 52 weekly working hours and anything beyond that to be compensated with overtime
- 1 day of rest every week
- 21 day annual leave with full pay
- 3 months maternity leave and 2 weeks paternity leave with full pay
- Sick leave
- Pay NHIF and NSSF contributions
If you leave the house by 6.00 a.m. and are back by 8.00 p.m., it means that the hours your house help works are above what is permitted by law and so she is entitled to being paid overtime, which is calculated per every hour worked above the 52 hours per week. There are no salary regulations in Kenya especially among private employers, with many Kenyans earning kshs. 50,000/- and below. It is very possible that you the employer could actually be earning less than or just around what the law requires you to pay your house help, yet you have to meet the cost of housing, transport, utility bills and other expenses that a domestic worker does not incur.
The law might not be enforced as yet but you never know what will happen in future. You might find yourself facing a law suit for not obeying the law.
You may be a mother with young children and you might have faced nightmare after nightmare with house helps. Maybe you are wondering how you can balance your career and parenting. Can you give up your career and stay at home to raise your little ones yourself?
It is terrifying to give up a career and be totally dependent on your husband, especially with many marriages hitting rough patches along the way and some ending in divorce. With courts allocating the matrimonial property based on the contributions made by each spouse in case of divorce, it seems like married women are caught between a rock and a hard place. Probably you are a single mom and can’t afford not to have a source of income. It is important to have the security of a career.
The good news is that with proper planning, you can still run your house hold efficiently without having to hire a house help. The sooner mothers learn how to do this, the better for them. For one, technology has made it possible to build a rewarding career working from home. There is a wide range of careers that one can pursue while working from home. Check out this article about different ways that a mother can earn a regular income working from home.
To earn income working from home requires successful time management skills.
Develop and implement a daily routine
Domestic chores can be very demanding and especially if you have to care for little ones. Many mothers with young children are known to say that they have no free time as their hands are full.
To be able to accomplish your work every day and have spare time to devote to building your career from home, you need to be a good manager of your time.
Establishing a daily routine is a great way to get the most out of your day. You are able to prioritize and cut out unnecessary activities that would otherwise steal time from you. You also enjoy peace of mind that comes with being in charge.
To accomplish all you plan to achieve, having enough energy to last the day is very important. Begin the day with some self-care time in readiness for the day ahead. It helps to wake up earlier than the rest of the family so that you have time to yourself.
Read/watch/listen to something uplifting. Take some time to meditate so that you calm the mind. Engage in some physical exercise and do some deep breathing exercises. Start the day with a balanced meal. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It will give you the energy you need to last you through the day.
There are activities that consume a huge chunk of time for a work from home mom. You need to learn how to manage these activities so that you save on time. One of these activities is washing of clothes. Many households rely on a house help or a temporary mama wa kufua (a woman who is paid to wash clothes) to wash clothes. I have great news for you! With the equivalent of what you pay a house help in a single month, you can buy a washing machine that will take over the task of washing clothes in your household.
Saturn ST-WM1615 portable mini washing machine that has timed wash and rinse cycles is able to handle up to 2.5 kgs of washing. Saturn products are affordable yet innovative and durable too. This particular model does not come with a spinner so you still need to either invest in a hand wringer or to wring your clothes by hand, the way you normally do when you wash by hand. It is small enough to transport in the boot of you car when travelling upcountry. Click on this link to order your Saturn ST-WM1615 portable mini washing machine and have it delivered at your step if you live in East Africa. Type out or copy paste the code: SH20170820002223829922 when making your order.
You do not need to rely on a live in house help. Invest in equipment that will save you time such as dish washers, microwave ovens, food mixers steam irons and vacuum cleaners and you will be able to take care of your household chores without the need to hire a house help. Only hire a temporary domestic worker over the weekends when you are at home. Do weekly shopping for foodstuffs. Do the bulk of the cooking and store cooked grains and chopped vegetables in the fridge, making your work of preparing meals for your family easy and fast. Cut up fresh vegetables like cabbages, kales, cauliflower and broccoli. Dip the cut vegetables briefly in hot water, drain and allow them to cool before packing them in separate tupperware and storing in the fridge. Team up with the temporary domestic worker and do thorough cleaning then all you do over the weekends is to maintain.
Train your children from a young age to clean up after themselves. With teamwork in the family, you can keep the house clean and neat and run smoothly without a live in house help.
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Financial Independence Africa
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