I think it’s time for us to part company!

Yes, as I said in the title, I think it’s time that we part company.  It’s been an interesting run, but I feel like the writing is on the wall, and it’s time to move on.  So, please go now.

Oh… wait… hello LiP readers!  No, I’m not talking to you… I am not ready to move on from LiP, not at all.  Actually, it’s time to… well, read on and I’ll explain!

It happened last week.  It’s happened many times since we lived in the Philippines, probably close to a dozen times already.

What happened?

Our maid quit.

Learn Bisaya/Cebuano

This time, though, was a bit different.  Let me tell you why.

We had another maid, maybe 6 months or a year ago, I don’t recall exactly, but in the recent past.  This maid, after having been with us a week or so, got up in the middle of the night while everybody was sleeping.  She went around the house and grabbed a number of valuables (mostly cellphones) and left.  We never saw her or heard from her again.  To be honest, we did not lose too much in the way of valuable things, mostly just cheap cellphones that were of little true value.  However, when something like that happens you feel violated.

Bon voyage

Bon voyage

When that happened, I had a talk with Feyma and others in our house.  We had been lucky, because if this maid who robbed us had been a little more resourceful, she could have truly hit us a lot harder.  We have 10 computers in the house, most of which are used to earn our income.  We have valuable family heirlooms.  The things that were valuable to her were really minuscule to us, thankfully.  But, when that happened, we decided to re-evaluate our household security, and make a few changes.

  • We started locking up my office at night
  • We have always locked up our outside gates, but now we also kept the keys to the gates in a secure place in the house
  • Generally, we just paid closer attention to the goings on in the house
  • We decided that when a worker, mostly a maid, started talking about quitting, it was time for her to leave immediately.

Last week, I think it was Thursday or Friday night, around 8pm or so, Feyma told me that our maid was talking about quitting.

What?  Why is she still here? I asked Feyma.

Well, she is not really sure yet, Feyma told me.

No, I’m sorry, but she has to go now.  Feyma suggested we wait until morning, but I insisted that it was time for her to leave.

Why the hurry?

Well, in all of my years of employment, mostly as a manager or supervisor of some company operation, it has always been my policy that when somebody quits, it is time for them to leave.  Two weeks notice?  For the most part, no.  Why?  Well, when somebody has decided to leave, they generally do not have the same attitude toward the company any longer.  They may not care as much about the company policies.  They may get the tendency to have “sticky fingers” and pick up things that are not theirs.  Of course, over the years, I have made exceptions to this general policy, but for the most part, when somebody mentioned that they would be quitting, I just have told them thank you for your service to our company, and good bye.

In the case of a maid in the Philippines, I think that this is a very good policy to have.  I mean, we are talking, in most cases, about a person who is not so bright, and also not well to do.  I mean, if a person were smart, she would not be a maid, right?  Rich girls, or middle class girls are not maids.  The poorest of the poor are generally those who seek employment as maids.  So, when they have decided to quit, there is certainly temptation for them to look at all of the nice things that her employer has, and remember just how poor her family back home is.  It’s not a good recipe for a happy parting of the ways, to put it lightly.  Do all maids steal?  Certainly not.  But, I feel that it is a good move to protect yourself.  Of course, there are exceptions, but those can only be determined by you.

So, getting back to what happened last week, our maid, who was from the General Santos City area, had expressed her desire to leave our employment.  Even though it was around 8pm, I told Feyma that the girl had to leave immediately.  We had her pack up her things, we took her to the bus terminal, gave her any money owed to her, and paid for her bus ticket home.  After the correct amount of time had passed, we also verified that she had made it home.  That’s it… to me, all was done.

Oh, one other thing that we always have done when a maid quits…. we let her prepare a note stating that she has been treated fairly in our house, she has been paid all money owed to her and such.  She is asked to sign that note, so that we are all parting company with the same understanding, that nothing is owed, and that the girl has been treated in the proper manner.  We have known others, in the past, who got no such note, and later found themselves accused of  some impropriety with the maid.  She may say that she was not paid in full.  She may accuse you of abusing her by striking her, or verbal abuse.  Perhaps the worst case scenario is that if you are a man, she may accuse you of making sexual advances toward her while she was in your employ.

So, to our former maid…. yes, it’s true, it was time that we part company.  I wish you well, and I am glad that you agreed that you had been paid in full, properly treated, etc.  I wish you well in life.

To LiP readers, if you employ a maid or helper, or really any type of employee in the Philippines, remember to keep things on the up and up, and always protect yourself from any false allegations, and also from theft.  You will be thankful that you did.

And now we begin the difficult process of finding a new maid.  It’s not easy to do!

Post Author: MindanaoBob (959 Posts)

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur who is based in Davao. Bob is an American who has lived permanently in Mindanao since May 2000. Here in Mindanao, Bob has resided in General Santos City, and now in Davao City. Bob is the owner of this website and many others.


Comments

  1. willeme says

    Don’t blame you Bob! Better to protect yourself and family. I don’t trust people that much! It’s a sight, but there are bad people out there!

  2. Scott D says

    Bob,
    I can’t find one fault in what you done and I would do the same. I know anytime people say they are quiting where I have worked they are told to go right then. It is so hard to find trustworthy employees. It really makes me sad I cannot trust people. Having your home robbed is bad enough but to have someone you thought was trustworthy do it is to ad insult to injury. This article will stick in my mind when we move there and hire helpers. Thanls and keep the good work up!

  3. Neal in RI says

    Bob (let me check)
    Wow you could have gotten burned big time. So the maid got the keys unlocked the gates of your house and let herself out. I am guessing in that case you had to replace the locks as your keys were not floating around for a future break in.
    Are the maids that you hire educated enough to prepare such a release note or is it something you prepare and have them sign. How about hiring day only maids or would that expose you to more theft?

    • says

      Ha ha… Yep, it’s me today, Neal! :wink:

      Yes, the previous maid got ahold of the keys, got what she wanted and let herself out of the gate. You are right, we got new locks and such, and changed a lot about the way security was in our house at that time. You can never be too safe, I’d say.

      Generally, Feyma or one of our nieces will help the maid prepare a release note, if needed. Finding a day only maid is not very easy.

  4. Opus says

    Bob, how do you find your maids? Are they referred to you by someone you know or through an agency?

  5. says

    My g/f has two maids. One is very helpful, reliable and trustworthy. The other is her niece that my g/f is also paying her way through school. Over the last year everyone in the home at some time has been robbed.. except the niece. The niece does not obey curfews, does not work now that she has her degree and is now getting money from foreigners (two of them that we know of) over an internet dating site.

    I’ve told my g/f before that this niece has outstayed her welcome a LONG time ago. But only recently, while my g/f was here with me in the states, did she finally decide to get rid of the niece upon returning home. Why? Because once again the other people in the house had money stolen from their rooms.

    From my personal standpoint, having a live-in maid is a big security risk. I know it’s the norm in the Philippines, and not all maids are untrustworthy. But making the wrong choice in hiring, for me, just comes with too much liability.

    I’ll be moving to a studio in Cebu next month and my g/f said I could get a maid to come in weekly to clean up the bathrooms, laundry, etc. I really don’t like the idea, no matter how cheap it is. What if that woman says I tried to rape her? What if she scopes out my valuables and has her cousins rob my place while I’m gone? I know, my “what-ifs” are purely speculative suspicion but.. if I’m right, all my stuff is gone. Or worse, I end up blackmailed for letting some young woman into my home. I don’t think I’ll be getting a maid any time soon.

    • says

      Hi Henry – If I were single, I would also be very cautious about hiring a maid. Bringing in a lady into your house, who spends time alone with you is a recipe for problems.

  6. David Heil says

    Thanks Bob. Lots of things to think about. I am a little disappointed to read this, because I was really looking forward to having a maid. However, I guess that it is better to hear the truth now than to get burned later.

    • says

      Hi David – I am not trying to discourage you from having a maid. We are looking for a new maid now. But, I am just encouraging everybody to think about the security side of things. We have had many maids over the years, and have never had more than minor problems like this, with the cellphone thing being the biggest problem I can ever recall. In the scheme of things, that was minor.

    • RandyL says

      David ~ Years ago when we owned a retail business we were potential victims on a daily basis, and more so if we did not pay close attention to what was happening. We made a decision to install a “dummy” camera system (much less expensive than a real system) that kept everyone honest. What they don’t know is always to your benefit. It’s amazing what you can do up front with the implementation of some simple planning and inexpensive things to reduce your risks.

    • RandyL says

      David ~ Years ago when we owned a retail business we were potential victims on a daily basis, and more so if we did not pay close attention to what was happening. We made a decision to install a “dummy” camera system (much less expensive than a real system) that kept everyone honest. What they don’t know is always to your benefit. It’s amazing what you can do up front with the implementation of some simple planning and inexpensive things to reduce your risks.

  7. David Heil says

    I understand, Bob. I’m sure that my fiancee, Judith, will take care of such business, anyway, but now I am little paranoid. I don’t want to have to be careful in my own home. Judith says that we don’t need a maid, and I’m sure with all her relatives that someone will be in the house to help with managing everything. I was just dreaming of living in a clean, organized, well-managed home with a nice yard and pool. Please don’t wake me up. LOL. Thanks for the article and have a nice day!

  8. Ron says

    Hi Bob, Very relevant points about a maid. I have only had experience with one and she was wonderful. Marlou always had to tell me not to treat her like a family member but in truth we all cared for her as more than just a maid. I never lived there with her but I know what kind of person she was. Marlou always left pesos on the counter in a bowl for her to use on whatever was needed. It was always accounted for or a receipt was in the bowl. Marlou’s son could not have had a better nanny or supervisor. She helped with home work and made sure Luigi did his assignments just like a parent. What really endeared me to her was that Marlou had difficulty with her pregnancy and the maid was more a nurse to Marlou than I can describe. When Marlou left a lot of tears were shed between those two. She only met me a couple of times but left me a note which I found in one of my pants pockets that I had left there and Marlou brought here. She thanked me for her employment and was just totally thoughtful. I write this because I read a couple of comments about not wanting to get a maid after reading your article and you said its not all of them that are bad. I could not agree with that comment more. Our’s was as good a human being as you could ever meet. Ron

    • says

      Hi Ron – Nice to hear from you, I hope you and Marlou are doing well! Yes, we have had maids like that as well, and it is really a pleasure. But, we have also had maids who were not necessarily looking out for our best interests too. The labandera (laundry lady) that we currently have has been working for us for like 4 years or so, and she is quite good. I trust her pretty implicitly. I would consider her kind hearted, and trustworthy.

  9. Don says

    We have a stay out maid who comes twice a week and we found her through referrals of other colleagues. Always check references and ask for their ID.

    Your hiring a maid to work and not be your companion. So make sure your not hiring one that is young and has no experience in housework. The older and plain looking is probably the best for single guys who need a maid ;)

    • says

      Hi Don – We have had good luck and bad luck with maids young and old. So, it can really work either way. But, for a single guy, I couldn’t agree more!

  10. peterjoy says

    ho bob a good posting mate

    yes u can well do with out ppl like that in ur home if thay canot keep there hand off ur thinks kick them out mate but if u canot trust them who can u trust mate wow i am sorry to hear about his mate we ahve had a maid a two to help joy but all ways been good ones and we never lost a think from them and we ahve ppl working for us out side but i tell joy never let them in side on there own and this work for us but all the best mate better luck on the new one and god bless to ur famliy too for u do good work down there mate…….peter martin tassie

  11. says

    Well this is certainly enlightening. From my experience though, my family has always hired someone from our extended family who are looking for work. Someone who is a grand daughter, niece or nephew of a trusted relative. This way, when things go bad, it’s easy for us to fix the problem. But then again, this doesn’t guarantee an honest and trustworthy employee.

  12. guenther says

    sad experience.
    I may add, that it may help to ask for a Baranguay or Police Clearance of the potential employee.
    That would establish at least the identity and place of residency of his/her family.

    And then i would also report this incident to the Police. Maybe they even find the culprit, but at least it is assured that the Person doesn’tget anymore employment anymore due to bad police records.
    Of course, when one fails to ask forPolice clearance this might be worthless…

    As i read somewhere in a Police Station
    ” Fight crime by reporting it always, because the Police can only be active if they know “

  13. S says

    old & plain maid is better , as been said, i agree, we have a sister of my gf in our house living with us, she steals money, if u dont lock your belongings, which i always do, one time she stole her sister’s (my gf) cellphone, wanted to pawn it, i guess, poverty make people to steal in Phils., “i’ll just take it from them, they r rich anyway” mentality

  14. John says

    such a tricky business, bringing someone into the home, by default they become a part of the family , very least family environment , i generally aspire to find ” a human” i can trust, advance, enjoy, educate and delegate to, to the degree they they are capable. My change, letters, socks , wallets and stuff, are lost and well their job is to help me find my crap, yep its a tricky business as i don’t want to live a life of doubt and cyniscm (sp) nor be so naive. I pay a psychiatrist to interview my helpers and make an effort to see they have some activity outside of the home that brings them balance as well as to understand in what domains their “potential resides” via the Strengths 2.0 exam and also make an effort to facilitate them moving towards some goal ( i try to make that goal keeping me going by finding my stuff and keeping me functional :) , i could go on but it is a tricky business , this culture uses the concept ” to observe awhile” to gather the information they use and i find this is a useful concept, thank you for the article

    • says

      That is so true, John. Basically, somebody whom you don’t know enters into the home, and is by default part of the family. It can be tricky, unless it turns into a very long term thing.

  15. says

    Whew! Ay naku, Bob! My heart dropped to my knees. I thought you were saying good bye to us, your loyal and avid readers. I agree with you, two weeks notice? Yeah, leave now… but I’m also glad they didn’t harm you or your family.

  16. Lee says

    Bob, interesting. I am not qualified to comment on employing a maid in the Philippines, I have not spent a lot of time in the Philippines. I am however very qualified to say that when someone gives a two week notice or even a month notice, to terminate their employment is rude and is also a demonstration of very poor leadership (not to mention probably a BOLI violation depending on the terms of employment). To be honest someone who practices such measures is the kind that needs to place web cams and security cams all over the place, you would need them. Love the Magazine, just expressing my opinion.. Lee

    • says

      Hi Lee.. using your words, partly… To be honest, someone who would say “I am not qualified to comment on employing a maid,” and then go on to criticize me for how I do it is well… comical. Hope you don’t mind, I appreciate you reading my site, but, just expressing my opinion.

      Take care.

  17. says

    We have been away now for four months. We decided before we went to continue to employ our home help even though we were away so that she had continuity of employment. She spends 2 hours a day with us, 5 days a week and to date she has been faultless. Base on the experiences of many of you it will be interesting to see how things stand when we get back. We also live in a compound with others so our neighbours have been keeping an eye on things. Ciao David

  18. James P says

    Hi Bob –
    I’m thinking Filippina French Maid in a family home environment as not listed or recommended.

  19. James P says

    Hello again, Bob. My error, incorrect humor. I do hope soon that you’ll be able to find a good match with help in your home.

  20. Papa Duck says

    Bob,
    Its a risk anytime you hire someone to work and live in your home. You just have to check this person out as thorough as possible. If you don’t feel comfortable with her, it’s best not to hire her or terminate her employment or all you will be doing is trying to keep an eye on her. You are absolutely correct, attitudes change when they are leaving there employer and really some may try to damage there employer before they leave. Take care and have a nice day.

  21. jiji says

    My aunt who’s been doing the household work eversince she got married would easily have hired a maid a long time ago. But the problem is, she does not want her husband to be “tempted” again- and he almost got into trouble before. She just doesn’t want to have additional burden if something happens.

  22. Gerry Gambone says

    Sad to hear what happened, it must hurt more because its somebody you have taken into your home.
    I agree if someone is not happy at work, and talks to you about leaving, then its the parting of the ways. I would not only pay what was due but I would also pay an extra month or two months of pay depending on the length of service, also I would point out before I employed someone that is what I will do. Perhaps the extra payments may stop the stealing, also if they gave good service its also a way of saying thank you.

  23. Dick says

    I agree with your strategy of letting the maid go with no notice after finding out she had plans to quit your employ..as a former hotel manager I did the same on more than one occasion..as far as the release letter goes this is also a good idea but in the US it would mean nothing because the maid could claim that she signed it under duress…in other words…threatened if she did not sign…i know this is not the case with you but could this happen in the Philippines or if she signed such a letter, case closed? I am an american living in Cebu with my gf as of last march, enjoy your site.

    • says

      Yeah, I understand what you say about such a letter being worthless in the States. I believe that here in the Philippines, though, such a letter offers pretty good protection. At the very least it would make the girl think twice about making any false claims.

  24. says

    An old saying regarding maids or other servants is: when you mention them more than twice in a conversation it’s time for them to go? seems to ring true. I agree that when any employee decides to quit or even shows signs they no longer value their job it’s best to get rid of them, “send them on vacation” ASAP as you wish them and their family all the best. We have accepted having ” a revolving door” situation with employees be it maids, counter staff, construction workers etc. over the last 25 years of being employers here in the Philippines. Sometimes we get introspective wondering if one of both of us have some sort of flaw in regards to the employee / employer interaction but realize it’s comes to simple statistical truths; maybe as high as 50% of the Philippines’ “work force” those old enough to work are completely unemployable. Even the skilled constructions workers with 5 or 6 children to support and have worked on and off for us for 5 to 10″ years average working only 8 months a year. When you consider the 12 million Filipino workers who have either emigrated to countries seeking a better life and those who are classified as OFWs and then those who work for the major Philippine corporations who need to show up on time, do their job, get employment benefits and limited annual vacations, us small business owners have only the leftovers to employ. So what can I say other than we’d LOVE to pay our employees double but they need to progress within each of their occupations,be eager to learn the next higher paying skilled job, show up on time, and allow us to count on them so we can focus on expanding our businesses and investments. And they need to do this for at least 6 months to one year before they get rewarded and continue rising only after 2 to 5 years. So enough said except that these unemployable masses of Filipinos can be smart, quick to learn and FREE ( to be poor ) thereby passing their attitudes and habits to each new generation which adds to the forever increasing numbers of the impoverished masses.

  25. James P says

    What I think you need and are looking for Bob, can only be commented on after years, and usually many years in what is necessary for the basic standard of your home. It would not be out of the ordinary in reverse for inquires to seek employment with you.

    Everything is done as it is and there are a lot of base-line tests concerning theft and how comfortable you can feel. But what an ideal situation it would be 20 years forward with nothing to report.

    A very small but important part of Live in the Philippines.

  26. Murray says

    I had my girlfriends niece in my house as a ya ya. She is a lovely girl just graduated from high school and wanted to be a nurse. I was paying her 3000 a month plus bed and food and she sent most of the salary home to her mother. One day I sat down with her and told her I would be happy to pay for nursing school if she continued the good work for us but I would no longer pay a salary. Her mother hit the roof, and demanded she come home. Her mother sacrificed this girls education for her own personal needs. The girl is now forcibly engaged to a rather well off Filipino.

  27. Paul Thompson says

    Bob;
    Mayang and I have never had a maid, my wife figured with two daughters living at home she had enough help. When she took sick three years ago I wrote an article on how we had the problem of needing someone to help out as both our girls were gone. We hired her twin sister Clara, who worked from 0800 to 1500 everyday. When Mayang was better we never stopped, and Clara has been here everyday for the last three years (Sundays Off). They still get along, as nothing can break that twin bond, and we help take care of school needs for her daughter Shay-Shay, who I love with all my heart. There is always a way to make it work, but as you stated, be careful and keep your eyes wide open.

    • says

      Hi Tom – Wow, what a great question. Very profound! It’s hard to answer too. I suppose that in my opinion, a big part of the reason is that so many Philippine families these days are supported by others in the family who are working overseas. Even though the family is still poor, they can get by with what the OFW sends home. So, why work? Know what I mean. I am sure there are other reasons which are not coming to me now, but I do know that it is indeed very difficult to find good employees in the Philippines these days.

      • says

        I absolutely believe you, but it certainly seems counter-intuitive. You would think in a place with so many people living in poverty, that there would be people clamoring for jobs.

        That being said, I have heard what you have said about employing people in the Philippines from others as well.

  28. sugar says

    Hi Bob – Well, good riddance to helpers who steals! Happened to us too. We stopped having maid when I turned HS. We only have a laundry lady since 1988. Yep that long! :). Even up to now she still comes to the house and bring either her sons or daughters to help if there’s occasion or for general cleaning, she does everything and I mean everything even going to the bank to deposit money, etc. Very trustworthy! Bob, I’d recommend her. You and Feyma would like her she but she’s from Bulacan and old now. Like 60’s. He he.

  29. Bruce Michels says

    Bob,
    The way you release your helpers is ideal it protectes both you and your helper from any backlash. When I get there thus time it will be alittle different when hireing helpers. Last time I got recommendations from other service members when they left. But now where flying solo. So I think I’ll require a NBI Clearence and a health check up for personnel safety. Besides going through an interview with my Asawa wil be hell on earth. If they pass that they will be luckey. Leaving the helpers to the Asawa thats TABOO for me don’t need no rumours getting started. :)

    • James P says

      You know Mr. Michels, it is a little sad that the value of a handshake or nod or understanding of any simple agreement can well come to nothing. This is how things work.
      Is anybody really complaining?

      • Bruce Michels says

        James P,
        A handshake or an understanding is fine for most matters. But when it comes to opening your home where a stranger has access to your personal life, and material goods and to a point finances one needs to be careful. I have had helpers before when I was in the Philippines some where good and others were lets say not so honest.

        • James P says

          I understand what you are saying, Bruce, a lot of trial and error and also for yourself an of understanding of limited engagement.

  30. Bryan G says

    Hi Bob – just arrived in Manila after a 6 month absence.Over the years have had many maids – mostly good hard working kids that we had good experiences but we also had some real funny cases – the maid that was told by a hilot that she should not get her hands wet was an example as you can imagine that was the end of her tenure. One left us due to pregnancy – taking my camera with her. That was the only dishonesty we ever had.
    Just an aside – spent the day at immigration in Intramuros made my report 3 months late paid a fine of 800 pesos. Found that it is possible to make an early renewal of my I card so killed two birds with one stone – my renewal is due in August. It all went very easy – it is a much better place to do business these days.The only thing that spoiled the day was being pulled for lane changing the finding I had left my licence on the dressing table – cost 500 pesos lagay!

  31. jonathan says

    Hi Bob,

    It’s very difficult nowadays to find a maid who is honest and trustworthy. Industriousness would come in second if you know that the person is really trying to get the work done in the house coz really it’s not that easy. In the span of almost 3 years, we had a quick succession of changing of the maids (sorta changing of the guards lol). For one thing, it’s really expensive to find a maid thru agencies so we always depend on referrals by friends and relatives. We had young maids, not too young and recently an old lady who left abruptly saying her husband was sick but never even bothered to call us on what the situation is if she’s ever going back. With the young maids, mostly they are concerned with their day-offs worked grudgingly inside the house (mind you we are not a big family) and decided to leave, so we let them. Until now, we don’t have any maid.

  32. PalawanBob says

    Never had a maid in my life.
    Would never hire one here neither. People are not motivated at all.
    It must be the lack of decent salary because in Canada I have never seen a Filippino who is not motivated.
    If you don’t believe me, just go to a local hardware store and ask what’s the difference between FOCUS and FIREFLY light bulbs.
    Nobody will know the answer.

    • says

      Probably your life and mine are different, which is a reason why I have a maid and you don’t. Personally, I don’t like having a maid, but it is a necessity with 5 kids in the house.

      • RandyL says

        Bob, the only difference between a necessity and luxury is simply the ability to pay Bob. A majority of the population in the RP, and all of Asia for all that goes, does without maids and or domestic helpers. Even in Guam (where America’s day begins) it is uncommon to employ domestic help and the trend there has always been to raise large families. One of the advantages in the Asian culture of having the large family (strong family) is the inherent nature of having built in help to perform daily chores and the running the household (a character trait that should be on the endangered morals list in America). As one of 6 siblings in my family, we were raised to be responsible for many of the daily chores that were assigned to us and our parents managed the household to their best ability. Don’t get me wrong- for a busy family in the RP, it is helpful to have someone perform the everyday mundane tasks just as it is an important contribution to society and the well-being of the local community by providing income for some who would otherwise never have an opportunity to work. Something though that has always rubbed me the wrong way are those people who employ maids simply for the sake of ego or social status. As for my asawa and I…will we employ domestic help? Well, I guess we’ll just wait and see how lazy we feel when we get there.

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