Sun | Jan 21, 2018

Tips from Tam: A good helper and a good employer

Published:Monday | March 21, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Tamika Clough

In the last two features, we focused on things helpers do that could cost them their jobs and what a typical job description for a housekeeper would look like.

This week, we will highlight the qualities that most persons look for in a housekeeper as well as the expectations a helper should have of her employer.

Expectations of a housekeeper of his or her employer:

To be shown respect. Do not shout, swear, or curse at your helper.

• Do not accuse your employee of stealing (or anything else) without proof.

• Do not talk down to or patronise your employee.

• Do not overwork or expect your employee to complete tasks you could not complete yourself in the given time.

• Do not underpay your employee. This is the main cause of stealing. We will discuss salaries at length next time.

• Teach your children to be respectful to the helper.

• It is not necessary to parade your helper through the supermarket in her maid's uniform. She should be allowed to wear her street clothes outside of the home as long as she is appropriately attired.

• Always remember that a helper takes care of you and your family. Treat her with the dignity that such an important role signifies.

• It's customary to provide a meal depending on the salary paid.

• Do not treat staff second rate, giving them broken or chipped utensils or crockery to eat from, or make unreasonable demands.





of a housekeeper


Here is a list of things that will help a housekeeper to qualify for her job and keep it.

• Be pleasant and courteous, devoid of negative attitude. You can always leave a job if you don't like it. No need to roll your eyes, hiss your teeth, or grumble at your employer.

• Keep your work life and personal life separate.

• Unless you have become very close to your employer, it is best to keep your personal life private. For example, children are generally not allowed in workplaces. This is in most professions, not only housekeeping. Do not take your child to work, or ask to take your child to work with you. It's not done.

• Do not flirt with anyone in or around your job.

• Try to do your best work at all times.

• Keep yourself neat and your personal hygiene in good order.

• Avoid overpowering fragrances.

• Dress professionally when going to work. Do not wear tight or revealing clothing.

Housekeeping in Jamaica is not seen as a lifelong career choice. It's seen as a stepping stone to a better life. As a result, the role is often demeaned. Expectations in the role also tend to be relaxed or informal. The job is seen as disposable and not given the respect it deserves. It is important to dignify the housekeeping profession by creating boundaries and treating household employees respectfully.

In turn, household employees should maintain a professional image and treat their job seriously. Training in housekeeping is available through the HEART Academy. Executive Housekeeping and Laundry also trains their permanent staff in professionalism and cleaning.

For further information, please contact:

Tamika Clough