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Change of Domestic Helper

Last September I wrote an article about us hiring a Domestic Helper. As I wrote, she was 17 at the time we hired her. There were people who say not to hire someone so young and others who had trouble with all age groups.

If you hire a girl in her 20’s you can run into the trouble of them wanting to go out on their days off to drink or find a boyfriend. If you hire an older woman, you can have problems with their family troubles or members coming to your house.

Well with Mira, our original helper, she was 17 and from the provinces. In all the months here she never made any local friends except with our nieces. She never took a day off to go out except with a niece to do some shopping.

We did have a problem once where she wanted to school. We offered her after a year of employment; we would share in her schooling. There are colleges here that have class on Saturdays and/or Sundays. She agreed to this for the time being.

Well recently, she told my wife she wanted to quit and return home to her family. I am not sure of the reason. Maybe she saved enough from her salary that she feels she can go back home and just enjoy life for a while.

My wife contacted her sister-in-law in Surigao again to help find us a replacement. Linda was the one who found us Mira and girls for helpers and nannies for many of Elena’s friends.  This time Linda found us a new girl and brought an older girl to be a helper for a friend.

This new girl is also 17, but talking to her, this is not the first time she worked as a domestic helper for a family; we are just the first family with a Foreigner.

Mira, our original helper has stayed for a week to train the new girl. I also, from our last experience explained to the girl my rules and advice.  I hope all works out well since we have a house full. Me, Elena, 3 nieces and a helper.

Time will tell and I will report back of any difficulties.

22 Responses to “Change of Domestic Helper”

  1. Bruce, interesting topic! I was staying in Iligan city with a girl and her family and they had a nice helper staying with them in the house. She was reall very sweet and nice. She was 20. All of a sudden she stole some money and then the story was over for her. Not a lot of money, a few thousand pesos. She stole it and then she left and never came back. But it is like everything else, some people are good some are bad. We just hope to find out who is who as good as we can before it is too late. That is all we can do 😉

    • Bruce says:

      It is true, in any part of the world there are times you need to let someone in your home or business. You do not know their motives and do not find out until it is too late.

    • m60man says:

      What is the average monthly pay for these girls? I assume room and board are included.

      • Bruce says:

        We start the salary at 1500 pesos a month. They also receive room and board. I have heard of some people feeding their helpers basic foods and once substandard items. Our helper eats what we eat and sits at the table with us. If the girl stays over a year, we will increase their pay. Some cover medical and dental too, but we have not had that situation yet.

  2. Joe says:

    Bruce, you are out numbered 5 to 1 how do you ever get in the bathroom ? lol

    • Bruce says:

      There is a CR for the girls and a large CR for me and my wife. There has never been a problem for me and if the girls CR is occupied they will ask to use mine. But that hardly ever happens.

  3. Marvin says:

    Good luck Bruce, we’ve had 3 different helpers in less than a year. Just when you think they are happy in their work and you treat them like family, they decide that a couple thousand pesos saved is enough for retirement and want to stop working. Right now our latest helper is downstairs playing cards with our cook and watching Wow Wow Wee. Her job is very simple with lots of free time each day but she has decided to leave after summer and go to a trade school with the money she has saved. She is 17yrs old, 6th grade graduate, slightly handicapped, and has only been here since December. My God, it’s like the 90 day itch for these women. My wife busted her butt for over eight years in Singapore. She says we are just to nice and generous to these girls. I see neighbors with helpers that stay for years and are treated like slaves and paid squat, too afraid to leave I guess, I just don’t understand it. P.S I refuse to hire a relative.

    • Bruce says:

      I have heard of such stories. Our first girl was fine and we not really lazy. She did comment the day she left that she wanted 2 months to rest and then would come back. Elena told her she quit, we have a new girl and she would not be needed. I agree on relatives even though I know some people who have hired such. I think a relative would talk too much for granted.

  4. SteveinDavao says:

    Good morning Bruce, good topic,
    I’m one of the lucky ones (so far). Shortly after we arrived here, my wife asked one of her nieces to come work for us. The rules were simple, be honest, do your work, we will pay you and no secrets. If your not happy, tell me so I can fix it. No lies, no drama, no unannounced guests and NO boyfriends! As it works out, her friends are mostly family and my wife’s friends, so she has no problem with the rules.
    I trust her with our home and belongings. We thought about getting a nanny but I just don’t trust ANYBODY with the care of my daughter, so that’s never going to happen. She does take my daughter to visit the neighbor girls here in our subdivision, but that’s it.
    We have talked to her about school and have offered to send her to the college of her choice (she’s family after all), but she says she’s happy for now and never wants to return to her home to live, only visits. She has all Sundays off and we send her home on holidays and special occasions. I try to pay all her expenses (shampoo, tooth paste and incidentals) and give her movie money for Sunday afternoons (which she always turns down, but I make her take it).
    She’s very hard working and a good girl. She has a pen pal from Australia, who will be here in July, so we may be looking for another girl shortly after that. I would hate to loose her. She has become one of us, but I also hope she finds a good life and has her own family.
    Good luck with your new girl. I hope you have the success we have had!

  5. Tom Martin says:

    I have had some sickness this year and been home a lot. One day someone rang the door bell and I went to the gate. They were from Jose W. Banzon, Jr. VP Pag-IBIG Fund Southern Mindanao office. They provided me with a cover letter and an employee form. The cover letter stated that Republic Act No. 9679 took effect on August 27, 2009 and makes it mandatory to pay Pag-IBIG on all household help that makes over 1000 peos a month. If the employee makes 1500 pesos or less you must pay 2% of their salary monthly and the employee must pay 1%. If they make over 1500 pesos a month the employer share is 2% and the employee share is 2%. You do not pay on any income over 5000 pesos a month.

    I went to the Home Development Mutual Fund, Davao Branch Office -Marketing and Enforcement Division, Pryce Tower Condo., J.P. Lurrel Avenue, Bajada, Davao City to see if this was correct and found it to be the law.

    I was told the mandatory coverage took place January 1, 2010.

    There is a form you have to complete in duplicate each month.

    Has anyone else been contacted about this new law and is anyone paying it. I was told there are penalties that will strictly be enforced for foreigners that do not follow the law.

  6. SteveinDavao says:

    Is that the Social Security retirement plan or what? never heard of this before, tell me more.

  7. Hi to everybody. I have just been introduced to this site. I currently live in Angeles but seriously considering a move to Davao towards the end of this year. Having read what you all have to say about this city, I must say how useful it is in helping me to reach this decision. I have to say that from what I have seen, read and heard, it is a lovely place in which to live. There must be a downside but up to this point everything has been of a positive nature! Keep it going, as I still have a lot to learn!!
    Thanks to all.

    • Bruce says:

      I am glad you are enjoying my site and its content. Even though Davao is a nice place and has many decent restaurants, it is not like Angeles with the Clark tax free zone and all the American owned businesses. Best of luck to you.

  8. Peter says:

    I had my share with helpers. The first two years we had 2 different helpers, both in their 30’s. They didn’t understand so much and broke to many things in the house. But nr.3 was and still is good, 35 years old, married and 2 children, but not living in our house! She comes every day at 7 or 8 and leaves 5. She’s working over 4 years now for us and we can trust her 100%

    We do not demand that much, just cleaning, washing and tidying. I hear some people demand them to work as a ‘butler’ or slave. I my opinion you have to be lucky and respect one another. At this moment my helper gets php210 per day(!). She works hard, and has never let us down. To keep her motivated, we give a rais every single year. She started at php130.

    And my phillipina wife deals with her, I never do! I have learned its better not to ‘mix’ cultures …. I even had my brother-inlaw work for me as securityguard/driver/helper for 2 years, but it’s better not to have ‘male relatives’ work for you, they seem to be more ‘hardheaded’ and lazy … I know not every one is the same, but that’s my experience.

    I’ll read more parts of your website now, interesting. I’ve been living in Davao for 8 years, it’s so much better than Manila or other cities on Luzon.

    Wish you all the best,

    Peter the sailorman

  9. Xandra says:

    Didn’t know that the average monthly salary for a housekeeper is around P1,500. I pay mine P3,000 a month, stay out and part time, she’d only come to the house every other day or depending on how dirty the house is or if I have guests. She does well, cleans up the house nicely and takes care of the dogs and the garden.

    Finding a really good helper is very difficult whether you are a foreigner or a Filipino. I once had a helper where I paid her P250/day (3 to 4 days a week, 9:00-3:00) but even with a good salary she’d steal from us. She has been with us for about 20 years but during the last days when my mom was dying, she started to steal a lot of our stuff and when my mom passed away she stole $300, a couple of appliances, silverware and some of my clothes when I was away from home. Oh well, at least she’s gone now and hopefully my new helper will not become like her.

  10. rick says:

    We started by having my fiancees younger sister live with us and help around the house but she wasnt very hard working so we sent her back and brought in a “friend of a friend” who was a very hard worker though set in her ways.

    i let my fiancee handle the hiring. overall we’ve had good luck although we do have our fears that one of the girls was stealing from the tip jar at our restaurant.we were paying about 1500 pesos per month in davao for full time live in and about 2000 pesos in cebu for the same girl (bigger house). the girls we have now get about 2500 but they also help as waitresses at the restaurant and my girl shares the tips with them.

    we had one lady in her mid 40s that worked for us for a while, she would come in early in the morning and leave at night to care for her husband who was invalid and their kids. very sweet lady but her personal problems tended to get in the way regularly.

    i suggest looking for a girl that is in good health, no dental problems, parents are working. otherwise you will find yourself paying many times her salary when she gets ill. try to discourage cell phone use during the day. if possible find one that is from a different province. friends in the area can cause problems.

    • Bruce says:

      Fining the right girl is hard since many Filipinos cannot see past the nose on their face. If they have enough money a short time, it is more than they have had before so why work. That is what happened with our first girl. She told us she was quitting. Then before she left she told Elena “I will relax and see my friends and be back in a month or two” Elena told her, she quit, so do not come back. The girl was shocked. They do not realize life.

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