Avoiding nanny drama in 2022

Avoid doing these common mistakes that most employers do that can cause conflict between you and your domestic worker. 

Domestic worker
Domestic worker/ iStock

According to Statistics South Africa, there are just over one-million domestic workers in South Africa.

Having a good relationship with your domestic worker is important, especially because domestic workers are employed to take care of the most precious things in your life – your house and family.

Nanny drama is very common. Social media is flooded with both domestic workers and employers’ complaints about each other.

Maphuti Photo, a domestic worker agent for over ten years, says there are certain things employers can do that can minimise drama occurring.

Poto says ground rules should be set from the get-go.

“When you neglect teaching your domestic worker things from the beginning, later they will say you have changed and that might cause conflict to arise,” says Poto.

She says the first step to minimise conflict is to teach them how you want things to be done.

READ: Employer deducts jelly babies, toiletries, and bread from domestic worker's R3,000 salary

“Orientate a person. Treat the helper how you are treated at work,” say Poto.

She says every workplace has its own rules and culture. It might be the same job title, but each employer will orientate his/her employees on how things should be done and that is how it should also be between the domestic worker and her employer.

“Set a timetable and outline the duties. The timetable will speak for itself, so you don’t have to argue about why this or that is not done.

“Some people, if you don’t tell them to wash windows, for example, they never will. So, tell her when she should do which task,” says Poto.

She also warns against assuming that a person knows how to use your cleaning detergent etc.

“Not everyone cleans or uses things the same way. So, don’t assume a person knows how to use your equipment or products,” warns Poto.

Another common cause of conflict is behaviour.

“Be firm on what is acceptable and not acceptable in your house. For instance, let her know that when visitors come, you want to be excused or where your children are allowed to play etc.,” says Poto.

Other people prefer to be given space when they come back from work, and this should be communicated. Don’t assume that your helper will know that you prefer her to give you space.  

“Some people don’t mind their domestic workers making friends with other domestic workers in the neighbourhood, while others mind. Let your domestic worker know how you feel,” says Poto.

She also warns against lack of communication.

“If it happens that your plans change, for instance you have to work extra hours at work and that might affect your domestic worker’s hours, communicate. Don’t expect her to just change her plans without communicating,” she says.

She also says employers need to be considerate and not abuse their domestic workers.

“Give a person a break. Don’t expect your nanny to sleep with your children, especially babies who will need attention even during the night. That is making a person work 24 hours and the next day you will be expecting her to function well.

“If you come back from work tired, be considerate that she was also at work and has been working the whole day and is tired. As much as you need rest, she also needs to rest.” 

WATCH: Domestic worker of 20 years receives penthouse after losing home due to COVID-19

Image courtesy of iStock/ @AndreyPopov

Show's Stories