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Madams, Maids and Gardeners

08 April 2014, 13:50

Most madams appreciate their maids and gardeners and usually pay them substantially more that the minimum wages stipulated by the Labour Department.

Even if they work one or two days a week, they may receive an annual bonus, which by law, they are not entitled to.

But this amicable relationship may end in unexpected trauma as related by Tina's experience.

Tina had a char, Cynthia, for eleven years who worked a few hours a day in her small house. She was paid more than the going rate and did not work the allotted hours to qualify for UIF.

Tina bought Cynthia household appliances, clothes and school uniforms for her daughters and paid their school fees. Tina also gave birthday gifts, endless food and additional money for Cynthia's daughters, mother and sister. Cynthia also received a Christmas bonus.

Cynthia left her employment due to ill health and recently passed away.

Cynthia's ungrateful family then demanded that Tina pay the funeral costs of R12 000. Tina was flabbergasted and told them she did not have the money. The family then forced her to drive to the ATM to withdraw R500 which she could ill afford.

Tina confirmed that Cynthia worked for other madams. I am sure the family are making their rounds demanding R12 000 apiece.

I don't know about you but I would have had the family arrested for trespassing and extortion.

A woman then called Tina, from the Local Government (?) and told Tina that she was liable for the funeral costs. She felt 'so intimidated' and 'phoned the police station where she made a statement.

A police officer then visited Tina at her home and told her to fill out the UIF documents and present these to the Labour Department.  Failure to do so would make her liable.

She now 'lives in fear' as she cannot afford lawyers.

Fear not, Tina.  I called the Labour Department and a labour lawyer.  You, and others who have been intimidated are not liable for any costs.

You should also take the family to the Small Claims Court and have your R500 returned.

There are so many chancers out there.  Five years ago, I employed a handyman from Zimbabwe.  He told me he was afraid of xenophobic attacks and stayed in the fully furnished quarters, with a hot/cold water shower, a TV and a 'phone.  I topped up his airtime weekly so he could contact his family.  Modley also helped himself to three meals a day.

One day he asked me for R15 000 to bring his family to live with him in his nice house.

I refused and the following morning he disappeared.  The next contact was from the Sheriff.  In Court, Modley told his sorry story of how madam made him pay rent and did not pay him from day one.

The commissioner asked how he could afford the rent if he was not paid and why did he continue to work for me with no payment?

Case Dismissed!

My maid is a real pleasure who appreciates everything, while my gardener is quite the businessman.  He recently asked for an increase as he has a wife, lots of girlfriends and children to feed, with two more, due to arrive shortly.

I pay him R200 a day after six hours labour.

And, that's all he's getting.

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