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To sack the cleaner?

(48 Posts)
Octoberrat Mon 19-Dec-16 09:57:25

I really can't decide if I'm being heartless or not.

She has cleaned for us for just over a year. Positives - she is a good cleaner, and is very cheap for the area (£8 per hour). She is very honest.

The negatives: It's 50/50 if she will turn up. She leads a chaotic life, where there always seems to be a drama. Her kids regularly get ill, she can't come in the holidays, she's rowing with her partner, she's been mugged, her car is broken down...

I was very patient and supportive at first, but it's becoming difficult to work around her lack of reliability. I have two small children, and like to try and get out of the house while she's here - obviously very difficult to plan when she's almost always late, and often doesn't turn up at all.

She's going through a lot of personal problems at the moment, and I have supported her through this for the last six weeks (not coming because of depression, relationship problems etc., or leaving early, or leaving the job half done). But I'm getting to the stage where I think there's no point having a cleaner if I'm getting more stressed about whether she'll come and/or finish the job!

Obviously it's also Christmas and I don't want to add to her money worries at this time of year. I think there's also some guilt - her life is much more complicated and seemingly unpleasant than mine - it feels like sticking the boot in someone worse off than I am.

Thoughts welcomed!

gamerchick Mon 19-Dec-16 10:00:17

None of that is your problem.

You're employing her to do a job and she isn't. Why that is isn't your concern.

Liiinoo Mon 19-Dec-16 10:03:21

When she comes again, tell her you won't be needing her after this week. Give her an extra weeks money in lieu of notice. And I wouldn't worry too much about her financial situation. If people are really broke they turn up in spite of domestic chaos - my cleaner has a history of turning up and cleaning the house whilst having huge screaming matches with her mum/family/boyfriend all on speakerphone. Annoyingly we don't speak the same language so all I hear is the drama, not the detail.

dingdongthewitchishere Mon 19-Dec-16 10:05:47

If she can't do the job, but is honest, you could give her a warning but that could backfire badly when that person comes to your home. I would get rid of her.

That said, we are the 19th of December, so I might wait a week or 2, I find it hard so close to Christmas! My company is making someone "redundant" this week, they don't know it yet, have been there for years, and I think it's shit. A big company could have waited at least until mid-January.

EssentialHummus Mon 19-Dec-16 10:09:39

None of that is your problem.

Yup. I'd give it until January, but then let her go.

TheSnowFairy Mon 19-Dec-16 10:12:04

My cleaner is not great but she is very reliable, I do appreciate that she is here week in week out without fail.

Op like you we make sure we are out (me and 3 kids, DH works from the office that day) so it would be such a pita if she didn't turn up.

I would look for someone else.

AndShesGone Mon 19-Dec-16 10:17:15

I'd leave it til January. Not because of her but because I wouldn't want any possible unpleasantness coming my way. With an arsehole boyfriend I'd be wondering if he'd get pissed and come round shouting the odds because I'd let her go.

DanglyEarOrnaments Mon 19-Dec-16 10:26:33

I think this is a classic case of 'you get what you pay for' not in all cases but with the cheapest end of the industry (which tbh I've actually only heard of the 'tenner and hour' brigade being considered the cheapest end and she has priced herself even lower than that which would usually be an indicator of what's to come) I do have to say that this kind of behaviour is incredibly common for that element.

I think when you are gathering quotes from cleaners, to make sure they are operating professionally make sure they have insurance in place and have alternative payment options in place than just asking for cash in hand. This will not rule out unprofessional behaviour altogether but is a start.

When they come quote assess how professionally they are putting themselves across to you, are they running a real business which they will take seriously and be reliable in every way or are they just after a bit of extra pocket money, the latter will not be too bothered about reputation or how they come across to you, they will just pick up some cleaning whenever it suits them and drop it just the same, easy to get clients and treat them casually and as disposable when you are the cheapest, someone with a real business in place will be building their professional word-of-mouth reputation.

For a new cleaning business owner start-up the number one best way to get clients is by referral until you grow to need a website, anyone in a genuine business will be keen to learn all they can to continue to improve and to represent themselves as professionals and not let you down on any level. The downside is that they will also need to charge what they need to run such a business but the vastly improved service level will reflect this price.

Go with a professional cleaner/service running a legit business, pay a bit more for this and you will be able to rely upon that cleaner/service in most cases.

Elphame Mon 19-Dec-16 10:31:20

With over 20 years experience of employing cleaners good and bad, I would get rid too. Life happens but constant unreliability is no good.

I'd wait til mid Jan though - I wouldn't want to spoil her Christmas (and gives you time to find a replacement)

DurdleDurdle Mon 19-Dec-16 10:36:42

It sounds like you have been patient with her and I wonder if she thinks you just don't mind. You sound very nice.
I think it would be better and fairer of you to tell her that she needs to start coming in on time every time. I'd be very clear. That way there will be no doubt about your expectations.
Give her a few weeks and see how it goes.

DurdleDurdle Mon 19-Dec-16 10:39:09

My cleaner has worked for me for nearly ten years and is literally never late or sick. She comes a few times a week and always arrives spot on time. She is amazing.

VeryBitchyRestingFace Mon 19-Dec-16 10:45:09

The negatives: It's 50/50 if she will turn up.

You're not the one who posted about SiL and Keysgate, are you?


Pickanameanyoldname Mon 19-Dec-16 10:45:56

She's leaving the job half done?

Well she's not a great cleaner then.

Pay her up till end of December but tell her you won't be needing her back.

GinIsIn Mon 19-Dec-16 10:47:43

We had to let our old cleaner go for the same reason - she was massively unreliable and was failing to turn up without notice more often than she actually came to clean. You should let her go.

SusannahL Mon 19-Dec-16 10:51:54

Op you have been incredibly patient and understanding of her problems, but to only turn up 50% of the time, or to be frequently late is really not on. She is employed to do a job after all.
I agree with the poster who said you get what you pay for in life.
It really is time to tell her you won't be needing her 'services' any more.

DeepanKrispanEven Mon 19-Dec-16 10:53:17

I think you do need to get rid. I thought about giving her a final warning, but I suspect the excuses will then shift to her being constantly ill, which is more difficult to complain about. Tell her it just isn't working for you.

KayTee87 Mon 19-Dec-16 11:09:31

The absolute minimum I would expect is someone turning up on time. The second time it happened I would have let her go TBH.
I can't stand lateness or people being unreliable - height of rudeness if you ask me.

CauliflowerSqueeze Mon 19-Dec-16 11:15:18

Agree - leave it till January. I'd give her an extra week's pay and say that you've decided to call it a day for the moment. I'd make up that my hours had changed so I'd be home more often (I wouldn't want to get into saying about her timekeeping or attendance).

MLGs Mon 19-Dec-16 11:21:05

I had a cleaner who was absolutely exactly like that to the letter. 50:50 if she would turn up, did half a job, came late or at different times than she has said.Could never come in the holidays.

Impossible to plan around someone like that. And if you have kids you need to plan to be out when they come.

You need to get rid but as pps have said, I'd leave it til new year.

Octoberrat Mon 19-Dec-16 11:21:38

Thanks all - seems fairly unanimous.

I did previously speak to her about reliability over the summer, and things improved for a couple of weeks, but then reverted quite quickly to lateness/not turning up.

When I say she leaves a job half done, I mean that she might run out of time to mop the floor, or not get round to the ironing... this too has been happening more and more recently.

I will give it until the new year, when we are going on holiday anyway, and use that as a natural break point.

Miserylovescompany2 Mon 19-Dec-16 11:22:15

Another one suggesting you leave it until January. I think that's the kindest thing to do.

Yes, you pay a person to do a job. Whatever is going on in her life is out of your realm of control. I hope you can let her go in the kindest way possible? Let her have Christmas first.

Optimist1 Mon 19-Dec-16 11:26:28

I'd leave it till her first visit in January then tell her what a great job she does and how you value her ... but ... reliability is really important to you so that you can run your life, so in return for an increase in hourly rate (to £10 an hour?) could you have her promise that she won't let you down in the future? If she can't agree to turn over a new leaf then you've treated her decently and are free to look for a more reliable cleaner. If she agrees and reverts to her unreliable ways you let her go, but if she shapes up you'll still have a trustworthy, effective cleaner.

DailyFail1 Mon 19-Dec-16 11:27:01

I agree in this instance it's you get what you pay for. Get rid, and next time look at mid-range cleaners.

CauliflowerSqueeze Mon 19-Dec-16 11:42:04

She's never going to be trustworthy and reliable I don't think optimist (good username!) - her working habits are such that she doesn't attach importance to that.

WorraLiberty Mon 19-Dec-16 11:53:59

Are you her employer, or is she self employed?

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