The simplest definition of a housemaid is a female employed in domestic service. By virtue of being employed, maids are entitled to wages and salaries upon agreement.
Despite reaching a consensus as regards the salary, there’s no clear job description for the employee, let alone boundaries in executing the job. Should all house chores be left to her?
Traditional Authority (T/A) Kachindamoto thinks there are specific chores that should be performed by owners of the house, regardless of having a maid.
“Culturally, chores such as cleaning of the master bedroom and cooking, especially in a home where one has a husband, lies solely in the hands of the wife. Sacred as bedrooms are, maids should not just walk in and out in the name of cleaning because they are paid. That is the responsibility of the wife, in this case the boss,” she said.
She further discouraged the tendency of tasking maids with laundry, especially washing of underwear, saying this takes away the respect maids have for their bosses.
“It is unbelievable that some women will stoop so low as to give their underwear as well as their husbands’ to the maids to wash. It’s insane.
“Maids are usually the first to wake up and the last to go to bed. Even when what they do is culturally right, but on humanitarian grounds, women should lend maids a helping hand. This reduces chances of maids suffering from fatigue plus it help in building a strong bond between the two parties,” Kachindamoto added.
Jenipher Chaula, who owns Shalom Labour Services, a place where maids are trained agreed with Kachindamoto, saying not all chores are meant for maids.
“We receive complaints about bosses who literally give maids underwear to wash even at the wrong time of the month. It is high time bosses started respecting maids’ rights. Such tendencies expose maids to different diseases, thereby, violating their human rights,” said Chaula.
She further attributed the high cases of maids instability at work places to carelessness in job allocation.
“Nowadays, women complain about maids not lasting long, forgetting that one of the incentives every employer can give is a work environment that is free. Maids who are conscious of their lives do not hesitate to leave jobs that put their lives as risk,” she said
The trainer also advised maids to raise their concerns to bosses should they feel that their rights are being infringed upon, saying some bosses accidentally include underwear in laundry baskets.
“Some issues can be sorted out by simple dialogue. Maids shouldn’t just resign or complain to friends because of an issue before discussing them with their bosses because bosses make mistakes too,” Chaula added. n