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Problems with staff member

(17 Posts)
Sillysarah49 Wed 31-Jul-13 18:26:16

1st time - I'll try to be brief. Started cleaning business several years ago with a friend. Very casual, only a few hours each week, only in term time. Worked very well. Friend moved down south last year, so worked on my own for about 6 months. Through a friend of friend, took on someone else. She is lovely to work with and works hard. However, she doesn't prioritise the business. It appears to me that children (fair enough), gym, nails, hair, birthdays, holidays come first. Through no fault of hers, her children are frequently poorly and need to visit hospital and she doesn't have a brilliant support network. During the last 3 school holidays we decided to work, I asked her first as I realise she finds childcare tricky and explained I would work around her. She got back to me saying what hours she was able to do, I contacted all our customers and then at the very last minute, she said she couldn't work after all as they were going away. This meant I had to rearrange with my customers and work all week. As I said, this has now happened 3 times. There is no formal arrangement, no contract of employment, just a casual arrangement between friends. I am finding it very stressful as this was a lovely little job for me which worked well around my child, but I just don't feel we share the same attitude towards the business. Any advice?

jkklpu Wed 31-Jul-13 18:51:26

If you have "a casual arrangement between friends", does this mean that you pay neither employer's nor employee's taxes? If so, you don't have a leg to stand on. If you want to have reliable employees, you could start by employing them legally.

Sillysarah49 Wed 31-Jul-13 18:59:55

Sorry - didn't realise I was doing anything illegal and we certainly don't earn anywhere near enough to pay taxes.

jkklpu Wed 31-Jul-13 19:11:18

If you're employing people, you have responsibilities towards them - see here. Even if you don't think you make it above income tax thresholds, you might have to pay employer's NI and any payments you or the other person get could have implications for any benefits/tax credits you might be receiving.

If you're running a business, you need to do your homework. The system is designed to contain safeguards for employees and employers as well as customers, potentially.

Sillysarah49 Wed 31-Jul-13 19:27:24

She is not my employee. We receive an hourly rate and split it down the middle. We work approx. 8-12 hrs a week. But thanks for the advice with my problem.

NarkyNamechanger Wed 31-Jul-13 19:30:01

And you called her a staff member?

Sillysarah49 Wed 31-Jul-13 19:37:35

For won't of a better description. I suppose that is part of the problem as it is a tricky balance of power. I assumed when she came to work with me that it would be an equal share/balance, but that isn't how its working, as I take the lions share of responsibility/organising, due to her inability. I would welcome her taking more responsibility. Please bear in mind this is just 2 mums doing a bit of cleaning while their children are at school - not Apple.

Llareggub Wed 31-Jul-13 19:39:19

Just tell her how you feel.

You do need to declare your income too, even if you think you aren't earning enough to pay tax.

Sillysarah49 Wed 31-Jul-13 19:43:03

Thanks - I know and that side of things is all taken care of - quite above board. That isn't a problem - though it appears to be for others. My problem was how to deal with my friend/working parter/member of staff and that fact that I think she is taking advantage of me.

Llareggub Wed 31-Jul-13 20:10:35

Honestly just talk to her and forget talk of her being your staff member. She isn't.

Sillysarah49 Wed 31-Jul-13 20:13:05

Thanks for that - appreciate it. Not sure how I'm going to approach her, but you're right. Thanks again.

Corygal Wed 31-Jul-13 20:22:02

I know she's a flake and that's irritating, but you're not offering her a proper job or even a set freelance gig, and there lies the trouble.

She's loose with her commitment to you because you are to her - no set hours, days, etc.

Having said that, try and get someone else as a backup. Don't keep trying to count on someone unreliable.

Sillysarah49 Wed 31-Jul-13 20:33:26

I am not loose with my commitment at all. I explained the hours/days at the outset and she was perfectly happy with this arrangement, though gradually they have changed to fit around her "commitments". Whenever anyone approaches us for work, it is always discussed and we only accept it if she is willing to take it on. I am unable to offer her a "proper" job as I don't have a proper job - I offer her exactly the same as me. The hours/days are the same week in week out, maybe the odd variation if a customer has to change for some reason.

Llareggub Wed 31-Jul-13 20:46:57

You need to explain to her how her actions are impacting upon your customers, and what that might mean for your reputation and income.

Sillysarah49 Wed 31-Jul-13 20:59:21

Yes - I have mentioned this casually several times in a non accusing type of way. In fairness, she does acknowledge that she messes me about and does apologise - but it still keeps happening. I also know that she has cancelled work due to children's ill health when in fact she was going on holiday. Several customers have commented on her absences.

MrsMargoLeadbetter Thu 01-Aug-13 22:24:30

I think you need to be more direct - "It needs to improve or I will need to find somebody else to work with". I know it might be difficult but you need to focus on saving your business you have worked hard to establish.

I know that leaves you with having to find somebody else (potentially) but it might mean an end to the stress of working with her.

I do wonder if you will find the same sort of commitment from somebody else as you did with your friend who your started it with (if that is what you ate hoping for)?

If you are willing to have an employee going forward (and I appreciate what a big thing this would be for an operation like yours) it could be easier to set expectations/rules/boundaries and measure work etc. You mention being clear with this current woman, but I wonder on some level if the lack of paperwork means she doesn't take it seriously. However, it could also just be her approach to work. I know you didn't ask for comments on your set up etc.

Good luck with sorting it out.

TheDoctrineOfAllan Thu 01-Aug-13 22:27:10

Do you jointly own the business or are you both sole traders?

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