What to do when you think your cleaning lady is taking advantage?

I ve had a cleaning lady for about 8 years now. When she first started I thought she was fantastic – best I d ever had. She would clean 6 hours and do an excellent job. While she is still ok, she has gone from cleaning 6 hours to 4.5 hours. My house cannot be cleaned well in that time. I pay her well and gave her

I ve had a cleaning lady for about 8 years now. When she first started I thought she was fantastic – best I d ever had. She would clean 6 hours and do an excellent job. While she is still ok, she has gone from cleaning 6 hours to 4.5 hours. My house cannot be cleaned well in that time. I pay her well and gave her a raise even after my two kids left the house. She has broken many things over the years and I only made her replace one item. She did not replace it with a like item – it was much cheaper. The job overall has gotten much worse, she is starting later and later. She makes about $38 per hour if she only works 4.5 hours. I asked her to really clean our basement before Thanksgiving as I was having about 15 people for dinner and we would be spending most of our time down there. My husband went down the night before – cobwebs everywhere, didn t dust mantel, coffee table, clean bathroom sink correctly, etc. My husband was furious mostly because he had to do it the next day before everyone got here. I texted her to say I was disappointed in the job especially because I specifically asked her to pay particular attention to that area and texted her pictures. I asked her if a checklist would help her. She said yes. However, when I gave it to her and tried to talk to her after the next cleaning, she started crying, wouldn t speak and acted like a 12 year old kid. She would not take any responsibility and said that my texts regarding Thanksgiving were mean, and made her feel small and stupid. My texts were actually nice but direct. She can t take any criticism. Plus she didn t do what was on the list. I have over the years given her bags and bags of clothing, extra money, helped her get better insurance, given her prescription cards, was her daughter s sponsor at church. I am not a mean person and this has really made me angry. She literally wouldn t speak and just sat there pouting and crying. I have taken it easy on her for the last 4 years and haven t really looked at the job she was doing. (my bad) Do I just kick her to the curb? I don t know what else to do. I don t think she can afford her house if I fire her.

Best Answer:

mazhar: If she has been with you for a while it would not be considerate to fire her, people do jobs at start for a certain time and gradually takes less time to carry out, if certain places are not being cleaned and you have asked for to be cleaned, then you are the wage payer, maybe some thing is troubling the cleaner effecting her work performance, making a list is a good idea, and if all jobs carried out on list are complete and satisfactory then you are to judge, but you must not just try to get extra work out of the cleaner, ask her how many hours are suitable and spread areas to be cleaned each time she visits, some kindness has been stated from yourself and with such kindness I do not think she would be trying to generate a complaint from yourself, the wage sounds ok and maybe does not want it publicised, all in all if satisfactory work not carried out or an explanation then I would say you both need to sit down and have a chat.

Other answer:

mazhar:
I don't understand why you can't negotiate her directly about these issues, after 8 years in your employment- why resort to text messages, and after the fact?
It sounds like the communication with your employee has broken down, and that over the years you have become confused about the relationship.
You seem to see her as a 'charity' case rather than a business.You have give her things as if she is a charity, and yet can't discuss directly with her any problems she might be having right now as a human being.

Why not have a honest discussion with her. Try to see that adult women and mothers don't "pout"- that is something that teenagers tend to do, and she cannot be patronised in that way.

Or take responsibility for the 'employer' part of your relationship and decide want you want to do- sack her and take on another cleaner, or resolve the issues. You can't be both an employer and a charity, you have confused the relationship.

Courtney:
if she has been with you for a while it would not be considerate to fire her, people do jobs at start for a certain time and gradually takes less time to carry out, if certain places are not being cleaned and you have asked for to be cleaned, then you are the wage payer, maybe some thing is troubling the cleaner effecting her work performance, making a list is a good idea, and if all jobs carried out on list are complete and satisfactory then you are to judge, but you must not just try to get extra work out of the cleaner, ask her how numerous hours are suitable and spread areas to be cleaned each time she visits, some kindness has been stated from yourself and with such kindness i do not think she would be trying to generate a complaint from yourself, the wage sounds ok and maybe does not want it publicised, all in all if satisfactory work not carried out or an explanation then i would say you both need to sit down and have a chat…
BeatriceBatten:
Tell her that her services are no longer needed, and release her.

It's not your problem if she cannot afford her house. You're not responsible for her finances, especially if she's not doing her job.

If she cries, or begs for another chance, or says she's now in financial trouble, just say, "Sorry to hear that. But your services are no longer needed. This decision is final. Here is your final payment (if applicable). Goodbye." And nothing more. Do not get sucked into an argument or a negotiation. Do not discuss it with her. You are the employer and you get the final say – you've made your decision and it's not up for discussion.

A Hunch:
You and all the answers are about her simply not doing a good job because she isn't doing a good job.

To me, she is acting like every other house cleaner that takes pride in their work but can no longer do the job. House cleaning is hard work. If could be that she can no longer physically do the job. But hopefully it's something much easier to solve like she needs glasses (or new glasses).

i bet your texts did make her feel small and stupid. You are a grown up. You don't manage your "staff" via texts. Pick up the phone and talk to them like an adult.

♠ Merlin ♠:
No room for sentiment in business
She is taking advantage of you, and you are paying her to do so

Its not your issue if she looses her house
if SHE was as concerned about loosing her home as you are, she would do a sterling job and respect you as an employer
She should have been sacked LONG ago

Linda R:
Just give her a 1-2 weeks notice and look for another cleaning person.
shipwreck:
I fired mine it wasn't worth fighting them. First one I expected would see what needed done but she didn't. Next one did great at first working 4 hours and doing great. Then she asked if she could leave 15 minutes early without pay and my ex let her. That destroyed her he let her leave and paid her anyhow so she always came late and left early until she was working 2 hours for 4 hours pay. I told her I couldn't afford her anymore. My ex was in charge of housekeeper and was too nice cost them jobs.
davidlebrun16:
You should fire her on the spot. Never put up with that kind of thing. A cleaning lady should be indifferent, invisible almost.
Erik:
Just be thankful YOU don't have to clean houses for a living.

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