ARUNGA: Treat your housemaid well and you will thank me later - Daily Nation

Treat your housemaid well and you will thank me later

Wednesday February 6 2019

By ABIGAIL ARUNGA
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Recently, a legal notice was released that announced the minimum daily and hourly rates, inclusive of housing allowance, applicable to ''general labourers inclusive of cleaners, sweepers, gardeners, children's ayahs, house servants'', etc. The rate in bigger cities is about Sh13,000, give or take, and this figure ensued in a number of discussions on my high school group, mostly concerning the logic in paying someone in Nairobi Sh13,000 to take care of your home.

The argument was, for a domestic manager or a househelp, if you're earning Sh100,000 in Nairobi (which is less than three percent of the population anyway, as is), and you have children, living in a two-bedroomed house somewhere, by the time you're done providing for your household, doing the shopping, school fees, utilities etc., there is really not that much left over to pay your help. And since a large number of us are not earning Sh100,000 a month, the purse strings are pulled even tighter. So does that then mean that only the people who can afford househelps should have them? Because if we're going by these parameters, no one can afford househelps anyway, right?

I think it is important to treat well the people in charge of your house, particularly if you have children. We've all seen the terrible videos of house helps doing randomly-unhygienic mischief in people's houses, or even worse, hurting the children they're supposed to be taking care of.

FAIR TREATMENT

Certainly, some of these people are psychopaths, but sometimes, it is also the people employing them who are the psychopaths. There's a level of human dignity that needs to be maintained, both in the paying of whoever is helping you and the treatment you accord them. Small things like making sure they eat and are clothed properly and that their health insurance is taken care of (because they certainly are not buying their own health insurance with what you are paying them) go a long way in maintaining a solid, stable relationship among between you two. Otherwise, adverse circumstances could see vengeance being meted out on you and yours, simply because you're not considerate.

So yes – pay the people who help you in your house, and pay them well – as well as you and your budget can. And remember that inflation hits their pocket as well as yours. There's a reason you're paying them to do something you cannot or have no time to do – and this is someone you're paying to make your life easier. You should also make their work life easier by not being a horrible person.

Your home and/or your children need not suffer for your own ignorance.

Twitter: @AbigailArunga