Awkward situation with cleaner - how would you handle this?

(40 Posts)
RevoltingPeasant Sun 16-Jun-13 22:04:50

2 years ago, DH and I hired a cleaner. She is a lovely lady who got made redundant as a cleaner from where I work when she reached retirement age, even though she didn't want to retire. She took on odd jobs after that, included cleaning for us 2.5 hours a week. We pay her what she asked plus petrol money.

Everything has always been fine - she normally does kitchen (not dishes, I do those night before), bathroom, hoovers living room and hall, mops on hard floors, and has a quick swish round the bedroom. No windows, skirting boards or anything.

But we recently moved house and she seems to be really struggling. The house was really filthy when we moved in, so we agreed she'd just do a couple of rooms till we got more sorted out, but she's not really doing those properly. Eg she was meant to do the bathroom last week but when I was doing some deep clean stuff in there today it was clear the bath hadn't been cleaned for a long time. I asked her to do the small loo 2 weeks ago and there are still mud stains on the paintwork. Other things, too.

She is the nicest, gentlest person and this job is helping her supplement her state pension. I feel like such a shit, but should I say something? Or let it go?

I'm wondering if her eyesight is deteriorating without her realising it...

Mintyy Sun 16-Jun-13 22:38:09

If it is only 2 and a half hours a week I would do everything I could to keep her on and adjust my requirements to suit her capabilities. Ie. could you ask her to do laundry, ironing, putting away, dusting, tidying, changing beds, tidying, sweeping floors? Easy, non-physical jobs.

Get an agency in to deep clean for a couple of hours once a month.

ParadiseChick Sun 16-Jun-13 22:39:46

You would have a contract, an agreement, clear expectations and agreed notice period etc.

zeno Sun 16-Jun-13 22:41:50

It never ceases to amaze me how many people on mn assume that any and every person paid in cash is a tax dodging uninsured liability.

apostropheuse Sun 16-Jun-13 22:45:50

Maybe you're asking her to do too much in two and a half hours per week and she's struggling to keep up with it.

CloudsAndTrees Sun 16-Jun-13 22:47:08

It's up to her to declare herself as self employed, not the OP!

Tbh, if she can no longer do the job you need her to do, I would end the relationship. You don't employ a cleaner out of charity, you do it because you need your house cleaned. I would tell her that you can no longer afford to keep her on, which is pretty much true if she's not able to do what you need.

NatashaBee Sun 16-Jun-13 22:48:15

If she's supplementing her pension then I'm guessing she's fairly elderly and some of the bending/ scrubbing is getting beyond her. You're obviously limited for time, if you don't want to upset her could she maybe do some laundry/ ironing/ cook dinner for you instead?

ParadiseChick Sun 16-Jun-13 22:53:29

That's not the assumption. People can be paid in cash and its still going thought the books.

It people get paid in cash and its not through any books, they aren't employed or self employed, their ability to claim out of work or income related benefits remains unchanged, there's no national insurance being paid for them, or indeed tax, they're not doing tax returns, not getting any of the benefits of being employed or self employed, no contractual rights on either side.

Oh and highly unlikely to have public liability insurance - leaving your both exposed.

It's right to ask, her receipts, see insurance certificates etc

Openyourheart Sun 16-Jun-13 22:59:02

What starfishmummy said.

musicposy Sun 16-Jun-13 23:07:40

I don't think it's the OP's duty to find out if the cleaner is declaring her income; that's down to the cleaner.
I teach privately and am paid cash for almost all of it. Mostly people don't ask, but occasionally they assume that I pay no tax! A friend made a comment that life was alright for me, cash in hand, paying no tax and I was quite insulted and told her so.
Yes, it is all declared, every penny. I don't want the worry of thinking I have anything to hide should the inland revenue come after me. But that is my business and I wouldn't expect the people paying for lessons to want to see proof of that. What am I meant to show them? My tax return showing how much I earnt? I don't think so.

Anyway, that's a separate issue. If I were you, OP, I'd try and have a very gentle word and see what sort of response you get. Maybe start by asking her if she's been finding it harder since you moved house? Then you have a way in without upsetting her too much, and hopefully things can improve.

musicposy Sun 16-Jun-13 23:10:50

If they don't improve, btw, what CloudsandTrees said sounds a brilliant let out. Just say you cannot afford to keep her on. You can always wait a month before employing another cleaner (or hire a firm for a one off deep clean in that time) if it makes you feel better about it.

RevoltingPeasant Sun 16-Jun-13 23:29:04

Yellow no it's shorter. We still pay the same petrol money though - I try to be decent!

RevoltingPeasant Sun 16-Jun-13 23:36:20

Thanks music. That sounds like a nicer way in.

Tbh we can't really afford a deep clean plus a cleaner every month. We spend 120-150 pm on her at least - it is one of our few real luxuries and is in part paid for by me cycling to work and us both taking packed lunch every day.

I am doing a deep clean now bit by bit so I think I'll finish that this week, then see how she is doing, then maybe have a word.

RevoltingPeasant Sun 16-Jun-13 23:38:19

Natasha that's a lovely idea butbDH would never let anyone else in His Kitchen and we don't produce enough laundry to make it worth while.

Openyourheart Tue 25-Jun-13 13:49:15

What happened?

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