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Another AIBU one about cleaners

(23 Posts)
Summertime2 Thu 07-May-20 08:58:48

So I have been paying my cleaner (£150 a week) since lockdown even though she has not been coming to work (we both agreed on this). It looks like things are easing (possibly) next week and it's been drawn to my attention that cleaners are actually allowed to work according to government guidelines:

Work carried out in people’s homes - for example by tradespeople carrying out repairs and maintenance, cleaners, or those providing paid-for childcare in a child’s home - can continue, provided that the worker has no coronavirus symptoms.

So I texted her this morning to see if she would like to come back to work. She's replied that she has gone to the other end of the country to stay with her boyfriend's parents as he has received a letter from the NHS to stay home. They plan to stay there until the government says it's safe to travel and work and "everything is back to normal"

So would I be unreasonable to get someone temporary in, and to stop paying her until she is ready to come back while assuring her that the job is here for her when she is ready? She is a great cleaner and I haven't begrudged the last 6 weeks but I don't feel happy to carry on paying her that much money (for what could be months and months if her boyfriend is vulnerable) when she isn't actually available to work and government guidelines say she can.

I was wondering about offering her £50 a week in the meantime even to show good will?

What do you think?

OP’s posts: |
updownleftrightstart Thu 07-May-20 09:09:05

Self employed cleaners can get furlough pay, can't they?
No way would I continue paying her anything when she can work but is choosing not to, and when she is able to claim 80% of her income.

LeGrandBleu Thu 07-May-20 09:10:49

Hell yes.
Tell her you understand her wish to stay with her boyfriend, but that you can continue to pay her as she declined to come back. You will be looking forward to see her when she resumes her work

LeGrandBleu Thu 07-May-20 09:11:13

you can't!!

Summertime2 Thu 07-May-20 09:51:46

What about a token weekly amount? I didn't know that cleaners could get furlough? I'd have thought if she can work but isn't she wouldn't be entitled to that?

OP’s posts: |
Haggisfish Thu 07-May-20 09:54:33

A lot of cleaners do it cash in hand in which case they can’t furlough.

RedskyAtnight Thu 07-May-20 09:57:43

I don't think you have any reason to keep paying her. She's effectively made herself unavailable to work.

readingismycardio Thu 07-May-20 10:05:49

So was basically happy receiving £150/week for doing nothing and now she wants to keep being paid for nothing when she can work. Hire someone who actually wants to work for money.

Windyatthebeach Thu 07-May-20 10:08:29

£150?? Self employed cleaner here.. Where do you live op???
On way..

Haggisfish Thu 07-May-20 10:11:39

I thought that too!grin

Northernsoullover Thu 07-May-20 10:14:31

I'll clean for you. As for always being allowed to work? Supposedly yes but also no mixing of households. The guidelines have been very poor.

nightimebrowser Thu 07-May-20 10:15:50

£150pw is she cleaning everyday? 😂

updownleftrightstart Thu 07-May-20 10:16:23

Yes from now she wouldn't be able to claim furlough pay, but I imagine she would for the weeks up to now where she wasn't working as per guidelines but you were still paying her as normal.

SmileyClare Thu 07-May-20 10:23:10

£150 isnt that surprising. I work as a self employed cleaner and charge one of my clients £100 a week. That 10 hours@ £10 per hour. The house is enormous and I also do all laundry and ironing.

Op you have been very generous to put your cleaner on full pay for 6 weeks. I think it's reasonable to say that if she is not able to return next week, then you will suspend payment until she returns.
She also needs to give you 2 weeks notice before returning to work. (That allows you to give notice to a temporary cleaner you have in)

There is no guarantee she will return to work for you. It's entirely possible that she'll stay with boyfriend or find work in that area.
Vulnerable people who are advised to stay at home and need shielding are not going to "return to normal" for a long time; likely until a vaccine becomes available. Who knows when that will be. Probably not this year.

You cannot keep paying her indefinitely.

turnthebiglightoff Thu 07-May-20 10:23:58

£150 per week?! That's about 15 hours cleaning!

ANoiseAnnoys Thu 07-May-20 10:26:41

I would just tell her “good luck and goodbye” then I’m afraid.

They plan to stay there until the government says it's safe to travel and work and "everything is back to normal

You have no idea when this will happen. What, in her opinion, is back to normal? That could be a year away!

She is self employed and unfortunately there are downsides to that. If she doesn’t do the work, she doesn’t get paid. You have been more than fair with her.

No way would I pay £150 a week for a service I wasn’t getting. Ok, for the first month or so as a gesture of goodwill but once things start to ease? No way.
Her excuses sound a bit suspect too.

There will be plenty of people willing to work and in need of the money atm. Get someone else.

Blackbear19 Thu 07-May-20 10:27:19

£150 a week for a cleaner - how big is your house???shock

However I think I'd stop paying and look for someone else. Back to normal could be a while away and if she's at other end of country with BF parents, they might decide to make that a permanent move.

I'd maybe give her warning that her payments will be stopped as you aren't paying a retainer while employing someone else.

Keeping the retainer going could give you issues later, you find a new clearer, old clearer wants to come back, which one do you keep?

SmileyClare Thu 07-May-20 10:29:32

Lots of cleaners charge anything up to £15 per hour. It depends on the area and lots of people are prepared to pay more for an excellent service. I don't think 10 hours of cleaning is that incomprehensible. Perhaps it's a large house.

Summertime2 Thu 07-May-20 10:52:31

We are in London if anyone wants to help out!! It's a large house and we have a dog and 2 cats (that shed!), she also washes and irons all our bedding. We pay her £12 an hour so it kind of adds up!

I don't want to just leave her suddenly penniless though I suspect she's no longer paying rent in London (as staying with boyfriend's parents) and so a)has no real means to return to work around here and b)is not having to pay for food and board at all

OP’s posts: |
Windyatthebeach Thu 07-May-20 10:56:37

I have 3 customers still paying and the rest not. Fair enough I say. Imo I am contracted to return to the paying ones-as /when they request and will in time to the rest (1 is housing NHS workers atm)..
Your cleaner sounds a bit piss taking.. Given the guidance says she can work I would pay that money to one who is willing to work now.

Blackbear19 Thu 07-May-20 11:12:10

Summertime2, I totally see your thinking, but her being left penniless is not your responsibility. She's had the opportunity to come back to work and refused.
The BF received the letter to isolate not her. No reason for her to stay in isolation. I might be being harsh but you can't keep paying her indefinitely.

Redglitter Thu 07-May-20 11:16:36

I wouldnt be paying her now. Shes not available to return to work that's her decision. Would you have paid her for not showing up pre lockdown? You've been very generous paying her so much just now as it is

SmileyClare Thu 07-May-20 11:27:55

It's worth having a conversation with her first. I think your cleaner is perhaps being naive in thinking everything will "be back to normal" soon and will soon realise that she can't continue isolating with her boyfriend indefinitely with no income. She may well decide to return. I don't think she quite understands the situation.

It's flippant of posters to assume all self employed cleaners will be fine because they can claim furlough. The self employed grant is based on the last 3 years tax returns and calculates 80% of the average yearly profit in that time. That isn't paid out until sometime in June and will only cover March April and May. For me as a cleaner, that will just about cover the debts/ mounting bills I have accrued while on zero income. I certainly can't live on that money.

For any cleaners who haven't worked as self employed for the last 3 years, the furlough payment will be next to nothing or they won't qualify at all.

I don't think your cleaner is taking the piss. However, it's reasonable to stop retainer payments to her and you are doing enough by keeping the post open for her.

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