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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?

Dackyduddles Sun 16-Jun-13 22:07:33 u like her? Are there jobs you think you could let her do and pay for still as a friend rather than actual cleaner? Do u think she's genuinely ill maybe? Who else could do the real cleaning?

RevoltingPeasant Sun 16-Jun-13 22:14:46

I don't have any reason to think she's ill, particularly. I like her as far as I know her, but it is always just a quick chat rather than a heart to heart. I do like her but can't really afford to employ someone for the sake of it.

The other person who would do the cleaning is me! Which is fine, except if I'm paying someone else to....

mummymeister Sun 16-Jun-13 22:18:45

she works for you. it is an employer/employee relationship. I assume you declare her wages or ensure she does? she cannot carry on working for you if she isn't doing the job you pay her for. sorry but you either have to suck it up and keep her on for sentimental reasons or say your circumstances have changed since taking on the larger house/mortgage and give her time to find something else. if you don't want to clean then find someone who will do a proper job for you.

ParadiseChick Sun 16-Jun-13 22:20:18

It's as business arrangement. What does your contract with her day in terms of notice etc?

Oh wait, let me guess, you don't have one, she isn't self employed, you are paying in cash, not through anyone's books?

Yellowtip Sun 16-Jun-13 22:21:48

At her age, if I liked her, I'd do a massive initial clean myself (or get blitz people in) and then keep her on to keep the place ticking over. I noticed your post about the state of the new house - sounds vile, I'm not surprised she's struggling.

ParadiseChick Sun 16-Jun-13 22:21:52

It's not even an employee/employer agreement. Cleaners schools be self employed or through an agency. It's a purchase of service.

RevoltingPeasant Sun 16-Jun-13 22:23:57

No, it is a cash in hand arrangement. We give her paid leave when she wants, flexibility to cancel st short notice, and fund her transport.

I have always felt pretty comfortable with this as I think the arrangement is mutually beneficial but maybe I should declare it!

RevoltingPeasant Sun 16-Jun-13 22:25:02

So Paradise what is your point?

decaffwithcream Sun 16-Jun-13 22:26:08

If you did not have this problem with her for the previous 2 years until you moved to the new house and the new house is filthy as you say then would it not be something to do with that?

Notcontent Sun 16-Jun-13 22:26:41

I think you need to have a chat with her. Try to find out what the issue is.

Yellowtip Sun 16-Jun-13 22:26:41

Paradise steady on, she's not a spring chicken - perhaps she isn't earning enough to get beyond the tax threshold.

RevoltingPeasant Sun 16-Jun-13 22:27:45

Yellow, I am not asking to do any of the vile bits. I would never ask someone else to do that stuff! That's how I know about the gross bits, I've done them myself. I have asked her to do "maintenance" cleaning on bathroom and kitchen I had done myself, wiping paintwork in small loo, and hoovering. Nothing else that involves scrubbing or stooping.

ParadiseChick Sun 16-Jun-13 22:28:16

That you've left yourself wide open to issues like this, and worse (no insurance etc).

Yellowtip Sun 16-Jun-13 22:29:58

decaff quite. Someone should do the first blitz then everything would probably be fine. RP the thing is, you've moved her on to a scale of cleaning which sounds as though it may be beyond that which she originally contracted to do.

pickledsiblings Sun 16-Jun-13 22:30:01

Work out what she is best at and only ask her to do those jobs. Our cleaner was an ace with the hoover and good at cleaning windows but pretty rubbish at cleaning the loo and shower. I asked her to hoover skirting boards as well as floors and also to hoover the sofas etc to fill her time. She was also OK at wiping down things that just needed a wipe over like doors etc.

ParadiseChick Sun 16-Jun-13 22:30:24

Doesn't matter if she's earning enough or not. You have to register as self employed with the inland revenue and do a tax return which would probably actually benefit her by claiming for clothing, materials etc. Not to mention liability insurance.

Never fails to amaze me how many people think these situations are ok.

Yellowtip Sun 16-Jun-13 22:31:11

Cross post. Oh ok RP, I thought that might be the problem.

RevoltingPeasant Sun 16-Jun-13 22:31:27

Decaf I didn't ask her to do any of the bits that were awful. Eg I deep cleaned the kitchen myself, scrubbed cupboards in and out, etc, but now just ask her tomfo normal cleaning, like wiping surfaces and mopping.

She is a really gentle person and I think she would be mortified if I implied there was an issue with her work though sad

roadkillbunny Sun 16-Jun-13 22:31:39

The last cleaner my Mum had when I lived at home came to us in very similar circumstance, forced to retire from her employment at 60, she cleaned my Dads offices. She started great no problems but as the years passed and she got older the slandered of work just dropped and dropped but she was getting older, she wasn't as able but my Mum knew she needed to top up on her pension. By that time she was a loved family friend who we all cared deeply about and there was just no way Mum would have sacked her even though we used to have to tidy up after her on her days as she got to the stage of reverse cleaning!
It comes down to the type of relationship you have with her. I think a gental word would go down fine. Use the new house as a starting point and be very clear about the jobs you want done, spell it out rather then just saying 'can you do the bathroom and kitchen please'.

RevoltingPeasant Sun 16-Jun-13 22:32:57

Paradise if I suggested that to her I think she would probably leave.

starfishmummy Sun 16-Jun-13 22:34:25

If the house is filthy it could just be that it is all a bit overwhelming. For the next couple of weeks can you be specific about what you want her to concentrate on. Our cleaner (when we had one) wouldn't have done paintwork unless she was asked to (and then it would be instead of doing something else).

karatekimmi Sun 16-Jun-13 22:35:32

How would the issue be any different if she was self employed and declaring her income? What difference would that make to the OP? I'm not being argumtative, just genuinely intrigued as to how it would change the situation?
I hire a cleaner and pay her the agreed amount in cash and assume that she is self employed and fills out a tax return and pays tax herself

( I can see that going through an agency would make it easier to talk to them but not sure it would differ if self employed)

Yellowtip Sun 16-Jun-13 22:35:33

Does she have to travel much further to get to the new house?

candyandyoga Sun 16-Jun-13 22:35:43

I think you need to say you no longer need a cleaner and quietly get a new one! You are not a charity for shit work!

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