House cleaner and COVID-19

With social distancing, we are realizing we need to tell the cleaning lady not to come. 
 

We are wondering what other people are doing in terms of their pay.
 

I feel bad that they aren’t earning wages but with no end in sight and our business’ revenue being severely impacted, we can’t afford to keep paying the lady while she does not perform work. 
 

I was thinking of letting her know that I will pay her   for one week and let her know that we will pause until the authorities state it is safe to engage in social interaction again.

 Looking forward to hearing how others are handling this. 

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RE: House cleaner and COVID-19 ()

I intend to keep paying my housekeeper every week even though she is now prevented from leaving her home to work at my home.  My husband and I are both being paid while we work at home, and it doesn't seem fair to take away the housekeeper's pay when she has no other recourse.  She has bills to pay too. What is she going to do?

I think all of us who can afford in-home services like housekeepers and nannies have a duty to keep paying them, especially if we ourselves are still being paid by our employers. If the fairness argument doesn't work for you, consider that a good housekeeper is hard to find, and if you cut her off now, you might not get her back after this is all over.

RE: House cleaner and COVID-19 ()

We’re cutting other more “frivolous” expenses before we get to the housekeeper. We’re going to pay her and not have her come for at least a month. After that we will revisit the decision but will try to continue paying her as long as we’re not going into debt.

As much as this could hit our finances, we have an emergency fund and can “afford” it. Our housekeeper is a low wage gig worker who will be hurting much more than us without the income.

RE: House cleaner and COVID-19 ()

I am the original poster writing to clarify that I am self-employed and currently experiencing dramatic reduction in revenue and faced with the grim reality of running out of rainy day fund in 3 months and not being able to make mortgage payment. 
 

I am kicking myself for deciding to start a business recently. I wish I had the protection of continued payment from an employer or unemployment benefits. 

RE: House cleaner and COVID-19 ()

I am also self-employed, but we were able to get an exemption because we manufacturing x-ray panels used in diagnosing COVID-19. 

Since you are self-employed and experiencing a reduction in revenue, I think you should pay for one service and see if the federal government comes through. The latest talk is that payments may be made directly to individuals and those that are self-employed. Good luck!! 

RE: House cleaner and COVID-19 ()

My husband and I are both able to work from home, so we still have income for the foreseeable future. So we are paying our every other week housecleaning service so that they can keep paying their employees.

However, if your income is being severely hurt by the epidemic and sheltering in place, you can only do what you can do. I’d pay them for as long as you can (hopefully at least a few weeks), and give them lots of notice that you can’t keep paying them indefinitely. I think the mindset has to be, however, not that you can’t pay for “work that isn’t done” but that with the economic slowdown from the virus hurting your business, you can’t currently afford a cleaner.

I think we’re morally obligated to do as much as we can to support our employees in staying safe and paying their bills during this crisis. That doesn’t mean putting yourself in a situation where you will lose your own housing and be unable to pay your own reasonable bills.

RE: House cleaner and COVID-19 ()

I was wondering the same thing and did the same thing you suggested.  I told her I'd pay for this week (she comes every two weeks) and then see how things look. One of us is self-employed with no sick leave and feeling the economic impact immediately. I don't think we can keep paying. My friend who is more wealthy and not immediately impacted uses the same cleaner and said she would probably keep paying her without her coming. 

RE: House cleaner and COVID-19 ()

I too have been wondering what to do. Until recently I was having her clean and just staying away from her (my protection and hers).  Given that she's disinfecting everything it didn't seem to me to be dangerous (or at least, not more dangerous than going out to get groceries or pick up takeout).  I will pay her (my husband still has income) but I am really hoping it won't be too long before she can clean again.  

RE: House cleaner and COVID-19 ()

I agree with other posters that you should continue paying your house cleaner during the crisis if you can afford it. My husband and I are both still working and have seen no reduction in pay, so we will continue to pay her the bi-weekly rate.

Also, don't kick yourself for starting a business! This crisis was not foreseen nor was the magnitude of it. Good for you for having the guts to follow through on a dream. Good luck to you with everything!

RE: House cleaner and COVID-19 ()

We will continue to pay our cleaning people as long as we have jobs ourselves. My wish is that everyone who can afford to will continue to support these workers. Of course if it is a financial hardship for you then you must reconsider. 

RE: House cleaner and COVID-19 ()

I think this is a very individual issue depending on your finances.

I think if it hurts but doesn't kill you financially then you should continue paying all housekeepers, nannies, tutors, camps etc you would normally use.  Our situation is one of us has a business earning no profit due to coronavirus and one has a job he can do remotely.  However, we have some savings we don't want to use but will, enough to get us through the year.  But everyone is in a different situation.  If you have no income and not a lot of savings you may need to stop paying.  But if you can you should.  I know so many agonizing choices these days!  Stay well.

RE: House cleaner and COVID-19 ()

If you can’t afford to pay her for the weeks she doesn’t work, your plan of giving her one week’s pay is good. We are paying our gardener and house cleaner even though they can’t come. We can swing it and it feels like the right thing to do. 

RE: House cleaner and COVID-19 ()

My housekeeper right now is through an agency, she's an independent contractor I believe and will be quite impacted by this whole thing. I talked with her about how I anticipate her missing 3 visits (~ 2 months of time) because she was sick and now on regional lockdown, I decided to give her yearly bonus extra-early. It is the take-home equivalent of 3-4 visits, depending on her tax situation which is none of my business because she's not my direct employee. I expect us to be economically impacted as well, but I had already budgeted that money for her. If we manage to get out of this unscathed, I might still have a little extra funds come Xmas for her even still, but if not, at least that will get her through some of the losses she will certainly have right now. I don't think there is really a right answer though, we have to take care of each other, but we also have to take care of ourselves. If you don't take care of your own finances, you may not be able to retain her later, which is another important aspect of helping her remain financially sound!

RE: House cleaner and COVID-19 ()

With the shelter in place and the extra time spent at home, you might need a cleaning lady even more than before. Is it possible to arrange a time where she can be there while you are out for a walk (while maintaining social distancing with others outside), or be not the pack yard, during your next planning trip to the market? With the lines now, she could clean your place twice before you get back home! Everyone is facing tough times right now. If you can financially afford to keep her on, perhaps flex the schedule a bit. We gotta help each other out. Best of luck!

RE: House cleaner and COVID-19 ()

If you decide to let your cleaner go for the time being, and it's all right with her, do post a referral for this lady here (and on Nextdoor.com, if you're a member), including the areas where she works. Good luck to you and yours.

RE: House cleaner and COVID-19 ()

This is so hard. We have our house cleaner come ~once per month and had asked her to come this week, but decided to stop having her come until it seems safe to do so. Since we don't have a recurring time with her, I paid her and asked her not to come this week. I let her know we would be in contact when we could continue again.

If people have resources to continue to pay people for their services during this time despite not actually receiving those services, that's great and very kind. My husband had to file an unemployment claim this week due to COVID-19, so we had to make the best decision for our family.

RE: House cleaner and COVID-19 ()

Because my husband and I are are still getting paid, we're paying our house cleaner.  Since the same is not true for you, you need to make a different calculation.  I think your idea to pay her for one week sounds reasonable, or maybe you could offer two.   It would be kind to explain your situation to her and tell her you hope you can hire her back soon.  This is also a great example of why the rest of us who can afford should make doubly sure to keep paying people who work for us, since not everyone can right now.  

RE: House cleaner and COVID-19 ()

I agree that if your income is unaffected by the COVID-19 crisis, the ethical and practical thing is to continue paying all employees (housekeepers, nannies, hair stylists, etc) for canceled appointments and work not done. However, in your situation, it doesn’t sound like you can afford to pay your housekeeper indefinitely and I don’t think you should feel guilty about that. My family is in an intermediate position, where one partner’s pay is unaffected and the other’s is greatly reduced. We are planning to pay everyone as long as we are able. Keep in mind that the more we flatten the curve, the longer this drags on.

RE: House cleaner and COVID-19 ()

I would separate the two issues - your financial crisis and whether or not she can actually clean. If your business were suffering but it was still OK health-wise for her to come and clean, would you keep paying her to work? If yes, then I would keep paying her even though she can't work right now for safety reasons. But if you can't pay her regardless of whether she can or can't clean, then you can't pay her. In that case I think paying her for one "bonus" time and then giving her notice is all you can do.

RE: House cleaner and COVID-19 ()

These are trying times indeed. I appreciate your concern and thoughtfulness. Each of us must make a choice that fits our circumstances. I believe those who are able, should continue to pay their housekeepers, nannies, gardeners, etc. while requesting they stay home during the shelter-in-place order. If that would put you personally into a precarious position financially, then you have different circumstances that likely requires a different approach. It sounds like you have thought this through, and feel what you can manage is one week's notice. These are hard times and we must balance caring for others and caring for ourselves.

And vote! We need stronger public safety nets in this time of increasing gig work and income inequality, now more than ever.

RE: House cleaner and COVID-19 ()

Yeah, we're facing the same thing. We definitely want to keep our nanny in our nanny share paid but our dual income just got slashed and we're trying to figure out how we'll make some other bigger payments. We now have 7 day old twins to think about and to pay for some more stuff. I think if your means allow for it, great. And it might be worth considering stretching yourself to make it work out. But if you don't have the money, then you don't have the money. Tough decision being made all around.

RE: House cleaner and COVID-19 ()

Hi everyone - PLEASE pay your housekeeper. Your relationship with your housekeeper is personal. He/she depends on the wages you pay them. They deserve sick leave like anyone else. And in this case the sickness is nationwide. They are protecting you and your family by not coming to work. We, their employers, owe them these lost wages as they can't collect unemployment checks.

These folks live on the financial margin and they can't afford to miss a paycheck. They can easily be pushed into homelessness or bankruptcy or be forced to forego paying a utility bill.  The Federal Reserve did a study in 2019 that showed 40% of Americans don't have $400 in cash reserve to pay off any kind of emergency. Here's a reference to the study from ABC news  https://abcnews.go.com/US/10-americans-struggle-cover-400-emergency-expe...  

RE: House cleaner and COVID-19 ()

We are paying our housecleaner even though we have asked him not to come. Even though this is hard for us financially, we know he has no protections- sick leave, unemployment, or anything else, so will keep paying him and hope others do the same. Even though this is very hard, we are privileged to have a home to shelter in and want to do everything possible to help people who have less resources. 

RE: House cleaner and COVID-19 ()

I just saw your follow up post, after posting to definitely keep paying. I am sorry you are in this difficult situation. Depending on your relationship, maybe you can have a frank conversation about the tight spot you are in and offer to pay her a reduced amount, and then give her a bonus when things return to normal?

RE: House cleaner and COVID-19 ()

I'm continuing to pay my house cleaner, but I am also continuing to receive my salary! Given your financial situation, that doesn't seem feasible for you, though you mentioned that you could resume paying her once she can start coming again, which makes it sound like your financial situation isn't all that bad. Or maybe you think your business will rebound... But if you are not sure you will be able to resume paying her, I think it would be better not to tell her it is a pause - instead give her the one week and tell her you probably can't afford her anymore, but that if you can, you will call her in the future. That way you free her up to look for another client!

RE: House cleaner and COVID-19 ()

This is such a dilemma! Its hard bc kids arent in school, yet were expected to pay their expensive monthly tuition (preschool/private schools etc) anyway. Other business are closing their doors but still demanding we pay as well.

The general attitude for services around here seems to be that we should continue to keep everyone else afloat and almost made to feel embarrased if we dont find that reasonable.

What about people who work on commission who can no longer produce their projected outcomes and will take a big financial hit later this year? Hourly workers? Small business owners who cant work right now? People in manufacturing who cant do their jobs without being in the office? People who cant work to their full potential bc they dont have childcare? People who make $ from property investments to which renters cant pay? People who may down the road lose their business for contracts they couldnt fulfill bc our area is shut down while others are not?

Almost everyone is taking hits so its unfortunate to be made to feel like we will lose our spot in the school next year, or lose other services in our lives (like housekeepers) if we feel like that extra $1K+ per month (cumulatively) for services we arent receiving for the unforseeable future puts a ding on our income. Especially when were already taking other financial dings we werent anticipating.

Its very black or white to expect "you should still pay x, y, z because in general you make more $ than them." Or statements like "well im still getting paid so I should still pay others." Arent most people who are still getting paid from their employer still working from home? Why isnt it the responsibility of everyone to take this social distancing seriously and if that involves not being able to filfill your obligations (i.e. housekeepers) you dont have an expectation of others being obligated to lessen that gap?

So, I dont have the answer, but food for thought bc I think a lot of people are quick to suggest "you should pay them" without thinking about many other various factors.

RE: House cleaner and COVID-19 ()

Pay her for at least 2 weeks. She's not going to be able to find another job at this point.

RE: House cleaner and COVID-19 ()

I'm not answering directly your question, and I am not a cleaning lady, but the way my boss handled it was a layoff without notice.  If you "can't afford to keep paying the lady while she does not perform work" then give her the one week's pay and let it be what it is.  If you can afford to pay for another week, then give her 2 weeks' pay.  It's no one's fault, but the burden falls heaviest on the cleaning lady.  

RE: House cleaner and COVID-19 ()

It might make sense for your cleaner to continue to clean your house while you are gone or keep your distance. 

https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/home-cleaning-businesses...