We are often asked this question, and in reality it is best answered by another question….what do YOU, as the employer, want them to do?
It really does pay to think this through, because in the recent past there have been cases where domestic and household staff have undertaken jobs they were requested to do as “one-offs”, but did not have the particular expertise or experience to do so safely. The result, a court action and damages paid out.
So think through what you see as the duties you require your housekeeper to undertake and write them into the contract of employment you issue them.
To spark off your thought process here are some typical duties, all of which can fall under the umbrella term of “housekeeper”: cooking and cleaning, childcare, laundry, running errands, looking after children, acting as a companion for an elderly person.
Your housekeeper can live-in, or visit on a daily or planned basis.
If you wish them to drive, ride a bicycle or indeed perform any activity which requires appropriate skills, these should be discussed in detail with the candidate before they are employed.
There is little point in having your mind set on your children being picked up by car from school, if the person does not hold a current legal driving licence.
If this is a duty you wish them to undertake, ensure they have the required documents and experience and that you have covered the situation in insurance terms.
A housekeeper can take the strain of running a family home if both, or a single parent, are at work, but it is essential to have the right person.
There are a host of considerations which embrace the nature of your home: Are you single? Married, with children? Do you require special religious aspects to the operation of your kitchen and food preparation, Jewish or Muslim for example?
Do you entertain? What standard of food preparation do you expect? If you have children, do you already have a nanny? Will your housekeeper work hand in hand with your nanny to look after the children when she is either absent, or doing something specific for you that takes her out of the home?
All these factors need to be carefully considered.
We at The Graham Agency have some 30 years’ experience of carefully matching candidates to clients. We pride ourselves on understanding the unique requirements of each client through personalised contact, discussion and appreciation of their individual circumstances. We recognise the special relationship between clients and their domestic staff, matching not just individual skills and experience, but also acting as both catalyst and link to establish a rapport for mutual benefit.
Professional care, delivered personally at The Graham Agency.