I run a fairly prosperous guesthouse in the Garden Route. I was recently able to discover that two of the domestic employees I’ve employed over the past five to six years have been continuously taking my money over the last 18 months. I was so shocked, and I decided to write and inquire. Am I the only naive employer?
Staying true to the rules
Employer I adhered to the law and provided formal contracts, offered higher rates for sick leave or maternity leave and annual leave, and ensured that my employees were dressed and fed. I have frequently covered their medical expenses, paying for them to take self-improvement classes in I.T and first aid driving and housekeeping. When Christmas comes around, they receive a present sack, treats for their children, and an enormous bonus. In the downturn that we’ve experienced in the tourism industry lately, I have tried to keep their jobs at the expense of my family.
Tell me, what was my mistake?
Ladies in excellent standing?
Both ladies have graduated and said they are excellent Christians who regularly attend church. The younger one escaped from work and claimed that her son had injured his leg, but in reality, his leg was broken during the taxi ride towards her house in Eastern Cape as she absconded. I rescinded her as I believed her at the time. The second woman has fled, knowing that we have a whole season ahead of us. She also claims that her son broke his leg, despite her telling my husband it was her mom’s 80th birthday party this week. The first one did not fill out leave forms and even let us know where they were leaving or when they’d be back.
This is a fake
A couple of weeks ago, I was wondering where the toilet paper rolls and dry goods were disappearing, and I hired a fake domestic to help in the guest home. The story that was reported to me has completely shocked me. It appears that after I leave in the mornings, they make huge breakfasts but don’t include the new staff members. They talk with me on my phone for several hours. They don’t change the beds in full, only the top sheets, and at the time of their departure, they fill up their bags of shopping in plastic and go back home.
The fake domestic informed me that they’ve publicly discussed looking forward to firing them to let them come to me with the Black Sash to sue me and then recover compensation.
I’ve put my trust in them at home and am horrified at my insanity.
Who is punished?
I’ve discussed the issue with CCMA, and unless they’re ‘in the act,’ there’s nothing I can do. If I were to be caught, I’d need to go through a conciliation and arbitration process and have the CCMA accountable for every action that contributed to this current situation. I’m not able to remove them from my office. The CCMA is clear in this regard that unless they get three warning letters for the identical crime within six months, I cannot request their departure and not even for theft!
I am shocked that an employer is punished for their kindness in offering jobs in our country. I hope this oversight’ (for I cannot believe that it’s anything other than that) can be rectified.
My staff could take advantage of me and use my kindness and integrity, but I am still accountable and keep their services. I don’t believe so.
Not tolerating victimisation
I’m convinced many of them will be like me and say I’d rather shut down my business than suffer the same fate. It certainly has caused me to reconsider my policy on employment.