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I want to fire my live-in maid but no idea how and all the advice I get from other expats is so horrible

(118 Posts)
creamcheesesneeze Sun 15-May-11 06:05:00

We have a full-time live in maid. I have never had this before. I hate it.

I really, really want to get rid of her but I have no idea how.

She is aggressively argumentative, criticises everything all the time, never does anything I ask.

On the other hand she does work really hard. I tried to get her to do sensible hours with a break in the middle of the day but she refuses and she is ALWAYS here. Working from 6am to 9pm with me begging her to PLEASE stop and go home or rest or something.

Yesterday she left the gate to the pool unlocked. It was a mistake, and we all make mistakes. But we have small children and this is a mistake that cannot be made. I told her on her first day that the most important part of this job was keeping the gate to the pool locked. When I told her yesterday that it had been left unlocked she first ignored me (because she was embarrassed and didn't want me to get cross - not that I ever have ) and then when I calmly but firmly said "You must remember to always, always lock the gate. This is very important" she got cross and started ranting that she DID always lock it and this was only one time and that I had left my balcony door unlocked last week and blah blah blah...

It is so exhausting. I find I am scared to even mention small things to her because she strops and sulks for days.

Just now she was washing up and asked why I had put the sponge (that she was using) in the wash. I said because it needed washing, and why had she taken it out of the wash? She said she didn't think it had been used for bad jobs so it was fine. I said it needed washing every day or two days and to please take a clean one. She roared with laughter and said that you cannot wash washing up sponges - they are always clean because they are used for washing!! So... she will do exactly what she wants and not wash the sponge.

But if I get rid of her she has no job, no income, family relying on her wage. She will cry and refuse to go and I'll have to make her. I feel like such a bitch sitting in my huge big house with every advantage in the world firing a poor old lady working for minimum wage (actually we pay double, but it's still not much) because she won't do my washing up precisely to my liking.

Other expats give completely shit shitty mcshit advice along the lines of "wait until she's out, pack up her things and take her to the airport. It's the only language these people understand! Delete her phone numbers. Don't tell her where she's going until you get there. Or she'll clean out your house and disappear!"

I don't really want her to work out notice because she will be so horrid while she's here. I'll happily pay her off. I just want her gone.

We're sending her to India for a month to see her family in August. I wondered about saying just before she left that she needn't come back, and paying her 2 months wages? Dh says that is a shitty thing to do.

She has already sort of threatened me that if I get rid of her things will be difficult for me. I have asked her to leave a few times before but she won't go.

creamcheesesneeze Sun 15-May-11 07:34:42

No way.

I wouldn't be that mean. She could end up untried in a Middle Eastern prison.

belgo Sun 15-May-11 07:38:44

Does she have any friends there? Does she know anyone?

creamcheesesneeze Sun 15-May-11 07:41:41

Oh yes. She has been here years and has a massive (almost mafia-like) network of friends. Plus there's the church.

It's me who's the dumbass newbie with no friends and no idea how things work.

BluddyMoFo Sun 15-May-11 07:45:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BluddyMoFo Sun 15-May-11 07:46:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

creamcheesesneeze Sun 15-May-11 07:52:14

She washes things as soon as anyone takes them off. So the washing machine will be on a 3 hour hot wash with ds's t-shirt and a towel from swimming. I have banned her from touching the washing machine except for her own clothes, but she does it anyway. I went running this morning and my running clothes are already washed, dried, ironed and back in my cupboard.

She hoses down the balconies and roof terrace two or three times a day. I have asked her not to, but then she comes in before anyone is awake and does it then.

She irons everything very very slowly. She probably irons for about 6 hours a day. Baffled as to what or why.

She keeps the floors very clean. Potters about in the kitchen. I've seen her hoovering the grass before.

Actually, I think a good part of her day must involve taking things out of cupboards and putting them back into other cupboards just to confuse me grin.

She abuses my houseplants. She moves the photos randomly around the house.

But she absolutely refuses to help in any way with the children's toy room. She won't hoover the cars out. She is a TERRIBLE cook, so I have had to stop her cooking.

creamcheesesneeze Sun 15-May-11 07:54:28

She is currently knocking on my bedroom door for the 3rd time to argue with me about a fine wool tablecloth that she wants to wash but I have hidden because I don't want her to.

frikonastick Sun 15-May-11 07:55:40

creamcheesesneeze, you can give her notice, pay her notice and then expect her to leave your house when you say so.

if she refuses, then call the police. they will probably fine you for having an illegal maid, but frankly thats the chance you take in the ME. at least she will be out your house.

i understand that you are worried about the repercussions of her behaviour, ie ladngin up in a ME prison. but that ISNT your repsonsibility. it is HERS.

it is simply insane to be held hostage by an employee while you worry about 'doing the right thing' i can assure you, she isnt.

a friend of ours was staying with other freinds who had an illegaly employed maid, who got very very drunk one afternoon in her room and then came out with a pair of scissors and attacked my friend. the employer (her friend) was at work, and when she called him in a panic, he said not to call the police because he would get in trouble for having the maid in the first place, and then that she had alcohol which she presumably took from his cupboard.

which is crazy right? that he would be more concerned about what happened to the maid, and himself, than his friend who was physically attacked and quite badly injured. you are doing the same thing. (in a smaller way obvs) by worrying about the wrong things.

take care of your financial responsibilty to her, give her the notice you want her to serve, and then let HER be responsible for her own behaviour.

oh, and my freind did call the police, who came and were very good and took the maid away and she did go to jail (mostly because she then smacked the police officer in the face for good measure) but they ended up not fining my friends freind for illegally emplying the maid. so far anway, i think she is up on trial soon.....

good luck smile

mama2plusbump Sun 15-May-11 08:00:37

What ME country are you in?

LeMousquetaireAnonyme Sun 15-May-11 08:10:45

I agree with friko. You have gone beyond your moral responsibilities.

can you contact her sponsors too? so they an take her back, they are much more responsible for her than you are.

Can you make your DH do the firing because she might respect him much more than you. In those countries the women are not really considered the boss, if the "master" didn't say anything then it is not really happening. Sad but true.

belgo Sun 15-May-11 08:36:30

'I've seen her hoovering the grass before.'


but yes, you have to get rid of her. It seems that you think she has all of the power, and she is taking advantage of this, by ignoring your instructions and arguing constantly with you. You have to be strong.

natation Sun 15-May-11 08:38:30

I think 3 months wages and a couple of days to move out is more than reasonable. Do you know if her friends would have space to take her in? You are obviously a very caring person that you are feeling responsible for someone you are about to fire.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 15-May-11 08:50:08

Sorry have no advice but am grin about you having to hide the tablecloth. Really hope you sort it out, sounds awful. I think paying her a decent amount of money and then firmly escorting her out the building sounds best. It sounds like if she stayed to work her notice then it would be hell for you and if you think she's dishonest would she take things? If she has a lot of friends then she can stay with someone/find another job as long as you give her a few months wages.

MuffinTumMum Sun 15-May-11 09:36:46

As she is working illegally, it all gets a bit tricky and I am sure the laws where I am differ from the ME. However, my advise would be that as you have made up your mind to do this, your helper needs to leave asap. The situation seems bad enough without having to see through a "notice" period for the length of time you are considering. It would be hugely awkward. And if anything goes wrong in this period, there is no comeback for you or her as she is not meant to be on your premises. As you can take comfort from the fact that you have tried to get her a new employer I would give a weeks notice. She has the airfare home and as you are talking about giving her wages in lieu then she will have money. That is where your responsibility ends..It is a sad lesson to learn especially as you feel you would never want to hire a Dh again. I understand your hesitancy but also like you living in a region where this is the norm, also understand the value of a good realtionship with a DH and what this offers them, you and your family. Our DH is an integral part of our family. We are not best mates, we have an employer/employee realtionship but it just works, I think you have just been very unlucky. I also understand your disconnect with your expat pals who are "hard" to the whole human aspect of your dilema. What is with those people?! Again, you have done more than most would have done. Its not working out.Get her to leave asap. If there is a next time, talk to helpers whom you like and ask them if they have friends in need of new contracts or when you know of people leaving toown, approach them about their DH's situation. Good luck! It wont be comfortable but if she does not click with the family then there is no other route to take.

FakePlasticTrees Sun 15-May-11 11:39:29

Just to add, once she's gone, if you hire a replacement, do it via a good agency, even if it costs you a bit more, at least having everything above board will make it easier should it go wrong.

And when you hire a replacement, you could get the agency to tell them they'll be fired should they decide to hoover the grass or wash that particular table cloth... grin

RitaMorgan Sun 15-May-11 12:02:51

Personally I think I would set up a disciplinary meeting with you and your DH, be clear about everything she does that you don't like (including insubordination) and with a time limit to improve. Make clear that if her work and attitude haven't improved by then you will be putting her on a plane home.

ZZZenAgain Sun 15-May-11 14:58:28

I think this is already gone too far and you should follow the advice of those expats who you personally like and respect who have been living there for some time and seem decent people. Obviously you need to choose the people you ask for advice carefully.

I really don't think this is going to work out for you.

mercibucket Sun 15-May-11 15:11:30

sorry I haven't read all the thread but I can tell you that my dh told our cleaner she was leaving then let her clean the house that day and she nicked all my jewellery
a pay off on the door step is far preferable to letting her stay in the house once she knows her job is gone

coccyx Sun 15-May-11 15:22:04

She needs to go. She sounds rubbish and not doing what you ask anyway. Buy her an air ticket for next week, and let hubby give it to her. If she is illegal why would she make a fuss??

ZZZenAgain Sun 15-May-11 15:34:58

"She has already sort of threatened me that if I get rid of her things will be difficult for me."

I wonder what she could have meant

beckaluna Sun 15-May-11 20:06:42

I completely understand how you feel I have just been through nearly the exact same thing. I felt really bad but I knew one thing for sure that I didn’t want her in my home... once I took the decision I told my husband not to in any way let me turn back because I knew I would try... she would make me feel bad, but he stopped me. What I did was, I sat her down, told her some of the main reasons that I was not happy with, I told her that we have come to a conclusion that we are not renewing the visa... blame most on DH, I wrote her up a nice CV I made her write a cover letter and I wrote I nice recommendation letter, I didn’t lie I just pointed out her good points. I told her simply I will never recommend you to a family.. there is no way but I found several cleaning companies on-line and in the phone book, sent her CV to them, she made a few phone calls, got a few interviews, to the cleaning companies she said that I am not comfortable having someone constantly in my house anymore, although I think to some companies she said that we are leaving the county. she got a job I cancelled her visa, she had to leave the county and when she came back she was not my responsibility any more, it was like a breath of fresh air. I paid her the ticket to leave the country and comeback though I asked her to pay me back eventually. Most people said I was crazy my husband wasn’t very happy with he time i spent taking her to interviews and all, even though it wasn’t that much but still it was a bit of a hassle. I feel better she has a job her children are not going to stave and for her its a new adventure. I thought I would regret it later and I kept on saying to myself oh come on she is not that bad ill give her another chance,,, but in the end I’m so happy that my dh helped me to stick to the decision. I feel so much better without her and I don’t regret it one bit. Its you home you shouldn’t have to feel like that in you own home!!!!

laptopwieldingharpy Mon 16-May-11 07:37:19

call her sponsors and tell them you fired her, what do they wish to do, deport or have her back by the end of the day?

Give 2 months severeance and ticket home.

End of story. If there is a fine so be it, but check with DH if that won't be a problem for his work.

bronze Mon 16-May-11 08:00:20

Is her name Mrs Danvers?

good luck op

Gooseberrybushes Mon 16-May-11 08:02:47

V quickly from the OP: your suggestion is a good one and very generous.

I wouldn't feel guilty. She'll get another job. And if you take someone else on part time they'll desperately need the work too.

Don't worry about it: do it right according to your principles but don't beat yourself up. People get sacked for doing a bad job: they just do.

kreecherlivesupstairs Mon 16-May-11 10:15:33

We've never had a live in helper thank goodness, but I do know about the ME, work permits, sponsorships and mental cruelty.
I think the idea of getting rid ASAP is the best one. Don't tell her a week in advance, my friend did that and came home to a virtually empty house. He had to go to the market at Wadi Kabir and buy all his stuff back.
Make sure you get all the keys to your house too. Another friend went on holiday and came back to a completely empty house.

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