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AIBU or have I talked an elderly lady into paying me for not working?

(297 Posts)
AutovillaGirl Wed 13-Mar-19 09:07:42

I work as a cleaner and I've been cleaning this one particular lady for 2 years. She's 85, very sharp, very active, very wealthy. She's moving house in 2 weeks but she told me yesterday that she was getting a cleaning company in to do the final clean of her house and so she didn't want me to clean that week and so I will not get paid. She said it would be "too much for me" - as well as the whole house she wants the empty cupboards cleaning, etc. I'm put out by this as A) it wouldn't be too much for me - I've known about the move for months so each week I've been doing extra 'deep' cleaning in certain rooms and moving what heavy furniture I can to clean behind to make it easier for myself (I thought) to do the last clean. Instead I've been making it easier for the cleaning company who will get paid, not me. B) also put out that I won't get paid for that week, I rely on my money and can't afford to miss that money.
So when I said to her that I was concerned about losing my money that week, she went on to say that my usual day was not convenient anyway as she had removal men coming in that day to start packing crockery and paintings. When I said I didn't mind working around them she said well maybe I could move one of my other clients and come a different day (but why should one of my other clients be put out?). Anyway, after a while she said for me to not come that week but grudgingly agreed to pay me for that week. Then as I was going she said "by the way, when I move house, my new house is smaller, so I'll only need you for 2 hours not 3" which I was surprised about as it's only a tiny bit smaller. My husband said I shouldn't have really asked for the money as it's up to her whether she wants me to come or not. But none of my other clients have ever done that to me, I'm reliable, thorough and punctual and rarely have a day off and they let me know they appreciate me. But have I talked her into paying me when she didn't really want to?

ShirleyPhallus Wed 13-Mar-19 09:09:44

To my mind cleaning is a service rather than employment.

So if I didn’t go to my hairdresser one month, i wouldn’t expect to pay them. If my cleaner didn’t come one week, I wouldn’t expect to pay them.

If you were a housekeeper who I had employed, I would pay you.

In the situation above, I wouldn’t pay you no.

gamerchick Wed 13-Mar-19 09:13:09

Well you've lost an hour a week so in time you'll see if it was worth prodding that particular beastie nest. I would have sucked up the loss for long term harmony.

Really you should have told her to were gradually deep cleaning in anticipation of her move, she wouldn't have noticed.

IceRebel Wed 13-Mar-19 09:14:05

She's 85, very sharp, very active, very wealthy

The last 2 words of this are very telling. hmm

It''s simple

She wants you to clean - You clean - You get paid

She doesn't want you to clean - You don't clean - She doesn't pay you

RestingBitchFaced Wed 13-Mar-19 09:14:36

I can see both sides. You should not have assumed that it would carry on as normal while moving house, she should have told you sooner about the changes. So really, you should have asked what the plan was. But I don't think she should be paying you for work your not doing no

dementedpixie Wed 13-Mar-19 09:14:56

I think you were very cheeky tbh. It's up to her if she needs you and how long for. Sounds like you railroaded her into paying you for doing nothing

gamerchick Wed 13-Mar-19 09:15:57

To my mind cleaning is a service rather than employment

A lot of people think like that, I certainly don't. I don't have a contract with my hairdresser for a regular set time.

needanappp Wed 13-Mar-19 09:19:15

I wouldn't pay you for not working no and I think it's really cheeky that you asked. I can understand you rely on your wage but whether or not the client wants your services or not is entirely up to them. In such a job I'd assume you'd have to prepare for the eventuality that, say, one of your clients decides they don't need you any longer?

With regards to the new house, if she says she only needs you for 2 hours then again that is her choice. Whether you agree with her reasoning or not is neither here nor there. Again, it is an eventuality you should have prepared for, knowing she was moving that it could affect your hours.

Also the fact that she's "wealthy" is neither here nor there. It would have been a kind gesture for her to offer to pay you for that week despite you not working however she was not obliged to.

Luglio Wed 13-Mar-19 09:19:54

YABU.

Sounds like she's trying to phase you out, but you're not taking the hint.

I rely on my money and can't afford to miss that money.

Tain't your money. She's not your employer.

Luglio Wed 13-Mar-19 09:21:36

If I were that old woman's friend I'd be keeping a close eye on you, frankly.

IceRebel Wed 13-Mar-19 09:21:59

Sounds like she's trying to phase you out, but you're not taking the hint.

I agree with this. It sounds like she doesn't actually want a cleaner going forward, but feels too worried to say this to the OP.

Bubblesgun Wed 13-Mar-19 09:22:21

I think you were right and she was cheeky.

I have always had cleaners that are self employed. They usually come for 8/10hrs a week over 2 or 3 days. So I have a rather extented experience in the matter.

The rule is if the cleaner is self employed when SHE doesnt come, i dont pay her. If I dont need her to come I ll pay her normal hours.

Christmas and summer bonus on top.

When I am away i usually ask her to come anyway as she can do stuffs she usually doesnt have time to do.
Yes cleaners DO rely on their weekly income.

If you can afford 3hrs a week it is cheeky to not give her that. I would have asked you what would be your preference last clean or not and up your hours.
Unless I am moving out of a rental property and it is on my lease I have to get professional cleaners ie. agency

Mrsmadevans Wed 13-Mar-19 09:22:49

She sounds awful. I would finish and get another client. Good luck Op 👍

Fishwifecalling Wed 13-Mar-19 09:23:46

Even if it is quite a big house, I would have thought 2 hours would be ample for one very old lady. How unclean can her house be?

ShirleyPhallus Wed 13-Mar-19 09:24:45

A lot of people think like that, I certainly don't. I don't have a contract with my hairdresser for a regular set time.

I don’t have a contract with my cleaner either?

SileneOliveira Wed 13-Mar-19 09:26:21

You seem to be confused about the client and self-employed relationship.

She is not obliged to offer you any work whatsoever. She pays you for what you do.

Pinkbells Wed 13-Mar-19 09:28:14

It's hard to get removal people organised. They probably couldn't come any time and she won't want you all there at once. It sounds as though she wants a quick deep clean which would mean more people there at the same time. It's not surprising for her to be wanting less cleaning for a smaller house, either. Maybe one of the reasons she downsized was to save money? I would just suck it up and hope that she gives her glowing recommendations for you to her new neighbours.

AndItStillSaidFourOfTwo Wed 13-Mar-19 09:28:26

You're self-employed. The risk of clients not needing you falls on you. The only exception is if you have a contract which states you will clean and be paid each week and your visits can only be cancelled within a certain timeframe, which she is too late for.

I work for myself too (different field) and it does happen that jobs I have been expecting (but haven't started yet) get cancelled due to reasons of the client's. It's my risk to suck up. It's one of the downsides of self-employment.

ShatnersWig Wed 13-Mar-19 09:28:43

When you go on holiday for a week and therefore not clean her house, do you get paid?

OlgaArsenievnaOleinik Wed 13-Mar-19 09:29:22

What does your contract/terms and conditions say?

Idliketoteachtheworldtosing1 Wed 13-Mar-19 09:30:05

I think you are BU, you have taken advantage of an old lady regardless of if she is very wealthy or not.
She clearly didn't want to upset you and she's probably quite stressed as moving is so stressful so she probably decided that to keep the peace she will still pay you.
If I were that lady's friend or relative then I would not be impressed, it morally very wrong imo.

Crimebustersofthesea Wed 13-Mar-19 09:30:38

I'm really surprised by the comments on here. I would pay if I asked my cleaner not to come in one week. If she cancelled I wouldn't but if I do it only seems fair to me.

NuffSaidSam Wed 13-Mar-19 09:31:13

'The rule is if the cleaner is self employed when SHE doesnt come, i dont pay her. If I dont need her to come I ll pay her normal hours'

I agree with this.

It's not analogous to the hairdresser's unless you have a regular appointment booked and then cancel at short notice. In that case I think you would be charged. The hairdresser can't fill that slot now, she's kept it for you.

The OP can't fill those three hours for one week with another client. This lady has reserved those hours, on that day. She has to pay for them whether she uses them or not.

NotPennysBoat Wed 13-Mar-19 09:32:30

You are being very cheeky and like PP have said, exploiting this woman's wealth. If she was moving out of the area, would you be pissed off that she wasn't having you to clean at all? SHE is the client, she tells you what she wants and pays you when you complete it! How dare you be dictating to her?

Itssosunny Wed 13-Mar-19 09:32:50

You were a bit pushy to be honest in a not attractive way.

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