My helper wants to go home to the Philippines. What should I do?

Recently we've had several employers call us to say "my helper didn't come back after Christmas." In one case the helper had only been here for one month.  Helpers come with the understanding that the contract is 2 years and that they may be required to complete the 2 years before having a long break back in the Philippines. What should you do if your helper asks to go back to the Philippines before she is eligible for annual leave or before she has finished her contract? Here are some suggested replies or actions :

               You're Kidding? Right?

               You're Kidding? Right?

  • "Are you kidding? You've been here ___ months and you want a vacation already?"
  • "I'm sorry. We can't afford to have to you gone just now."
  • "Sorry, No."
  • "You're really funny. I thought you were serious. Good joke."

Seriously, if your helper asks for time off and she is not due for annual leave or finishing her contract do the following:

Do's

  • Listen Objectively: Don't pay attention to tears or distraught emotions. Ask questions and try your best to find out the facts. E.G. your helper says, "my father is sick." Tell her "I'm so sorry to hear this. What is his name? What hospital is he in?" Be compassionate, but keep your objectivity, and get the facts.
  • Call Arrow: We can put a Tagalog speaker on the line with your helper and do our best to find out the situation. If she is upset, then it will be important for her to express herself in her own language. We'll ask questions and through our agency in the Philippines we'll try to verify her story and see what help we can give the family.
  • Ask for Philippine phone #s and contact information so we can contact the family in case the helper is delayed coming back. 
  • Have a back up plan. If your helper doesn't come back on time or doesn't come back at all, what will you do? Do you have relatives to fill in while you wait for a new helper? How will you handle this?
  • Send your helper to Tagumpay: If the helper is dealing with homesickness, then the best solutions are Arrow's Tagumpay classes and a regular day off. It amazes me sometimes when an employer who denies their helper a day off - is then surprised that she disappears the first time she goes back to the Philippines. They deprive her of everything Filipino: (food, language and friends that she experiences on her day off) and then are surprised that she didn't finish the contract.  Really? If you helper is homesick, don't send her home, send her to Tagumpay and church on Saturday or Sunday.

Don'ts

  • Don't believe everything you hear. We have heard stories of fathers and grandfathers passing away, so we call the family in the Philippines and the "deceased" family member answers the phone. We had one helper who told her employer that her grandmother passed away, but the employer remember that the helper had already used this excuse for an earlier trip home. 
  • Don't pay for the air ticket. If an employee is taking vacation or personal time off then they should buy their own air ticket. 
  • Don't pay salary in advance, but rather withhold some salary in case they don't return. If your helper has been with a long time and earned your trust, then giving advances and help in emergencies is a good thing to do, but when the helper has been here a short time only, we recommend against it. 
  • Don't Panic. If the helper doesn't return on time, let us call her family to find out why? If there was a typhoon or just "bad planning"- it only takes a phone call to get the facts. Once you have the facts you can decide what to do. 

Always call Arrow. You've paid for our service. Use it. 2151-1125.

If you helper doesn't come back, we'll do our best to help you find a goo

Allan SmithComment