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Should I sack my home help?

(15 Posts)
ohIdoliketobebesidethe Wed 29-Oct-08 19:37:13

We have had a lovely girl working for us for 6 months now. She works 5pm-7.30pm helping me feed and bath the kids and cleaning up the huge mess that seems to create. She gets on well with the kids (dd1(3.5), dd2(18)mo, ds1 12weeks)- managing to distract and play with them even when they want me and I'm busy with one of the others. I really rate this skill and so would hate to lose her in a way.

However, there are two issues. The first is reliability. She has been late (up to an hour) in the past. I have had to have words with her about at least informing me if she is running late and she has improved on the informing bit. She once was meant to be collecting the girls from nursery at 5pm and I received a call at 5.50pm (10mins after it had closed) asking who was collecting them. The nursery is 30mins drive away but she turned up 5mins later. Today she told me at 4pm that she couldn't make it. Fortunately ds1 agreed to be fed there and then so we could go (he often refuses until he is really ready - v. annoying).

I am particularly po tonight because the car has been in the garage for 9 days and dh has been in US for 7 days. I am shattered and NEED her help. I also got ticked off for the nursery for bringing dd2 in too late yesterday. It was 11am and I had got them out as fast as I could without hassling them (something I don't want to do unless necessary) but we had to stop at cafe to feed ds1 on the way and I plied dds with chocolate cake to keep peace blush).

The other issue is harder. I have on three occasions now suspected her of stealing money from my wallet. I have never been confident enough to confront her and have always persuaded myself that I must have been unsure what I had or forgotten that I'd spent it on something. This week however, I got £50 out on Monday and my wallet was empty this morning. All I spent is £5 on travel, £5 on the trip to the cafe, £3 on a pumpkin and £13 on some toys in a second hand shop).

To put her side - her mum had a day case op to remove fibroids but has been slow to recover and even went back in for a few hours a week ago because of bleeding (I was left in lurch at short notice again). This time she had appt at hospital and her dad couldn't take her at the last minute.

I know I am utterly spoilt to have help from nursery and a home help but I need them and will need them a lot more soon when I go back to work.

How on earth do I confront her about the money? What if I am wrong (only 90% sure). I hate confrontation and I want my dh back (he's on plane right now - can't wait).

I now have to clean up the shit heap that is my flat - there seems to be playdough mixed in with the fried egg on the floor [sob]...

PhantomOfTheChocolateCakeAvena Wed 29-Oct-08 19:39:50

A mothers help is supposto help you. Get rid of her if she's this bad, it's more stress than help.

RubyShivers Wed 29-Oct-08 19:40:04

you don't have to justify having help smile

anyhoo - there are two issues

the unreliability is awful because it isn't actually taking the strain off you and is actually contributing

the stealing is worrying - but until you have proof that it is her, you can't really confront her

TBH, the unreliability means she has to buck up or go

kittywise Wed 29-Oct-08 19:41:36

let her go

ohIdoliketobebesidethe Wed 29-Oct-08 19:49:52

Ok - I have already warned her that I would sack her if she didn't improve. But how can I let this occasion be the last straw when it is a valid excuse.

iheartdusty Wed 29-Oct-08 19:52:10

what will you do for child-care when you return to work - can you start phasing that in now? (child care, I mean, not work)

ie start lining up a nanny/ child minder/ whatever your plan is, a bit early?

tbh unless you think you may have spent money and forgotten, there isn't really any other candidate for taking it, is there?

PhantomOfTheChocolateCakeAvena Wed 29-Oct-08 19:52:39

Just say it's not working. It doesn't matter if it's a valid excuse or not, it's the icing on the cake. Your relationship has already broken down, do yourself a favour and get rid. She's supposto make your life easier.

nannynick Wed 29-Oct-08 19:53:03

Concentrate on dealing with reliability, punctuality. That you as the employer have full control over. If she is going to be late, she lets you know and you dock the appropriate amount from her pay, plus discuss the reason for being late, taking a written note it which you both sign and date. Being late gets a written warning (as you have done verbal warning in the past). Second time being late gets another written warning, and third occasion they lose their job. You may want to determine a period of time over which you restart this procedure... say restarting at the beginning of each working year - thus it would allow her to be late twice in a year.

See ACAS: Discipline - includes a link to a handbook "Discipline and grievances at work"

nannynick Wed 29-Oct-08 19:56:24

If you want to sack her immediately, look at what is in her contract (Written Statement). Does that detail disciplinary procedure? How far through it are you? Is there grounds to dismiss under Gross Misconduct? (I doubt there is, unless you have Timekeeping put specifically in that section)

nannynick Wed 29-Oct-08 19:58:46

Another option is to make the position redundant. They have only been with you for 6 months, so no redundancy pay issues. Just pay her the agreed notice period.

ohIdoliketobebesidethe Wed 29-Oct-08 20:02:43

Nannynick you have me worried now. It is all very informal nothing has ever been written down. I am pretty certain she wouldn't pursue it if I did sack her though.

ohIdoliketobebesidethe Wed 29-Oct-08 20:03:27

She is studying and this is extra pocket money for her rather than anything major.

nannynick Wed 29-Oct-08 20:08:44

You will have a verbal agreement, even if it isn't written.

If she is unlikely to take any action, then you can just tell her that she isn't needed any more. Legally wrong but if she won't take action against you, then not an issue. Only an issue when she visits/calls the CAB or some other place for advice.

nannynick Wed 29-Oct-08 20:10:45

One thing you could do, is tell her she is no longer needed and pay a weeks salary. Then if she did seek advise, she has been paid a week's notice.

ohIdoliketobebesidethe Wed 29-Oct-08 20:28:49

Thanks nannynick - that's really helpful.

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