A polite way to address issue

bossyvossyJune 10, 2014

A housekeeper that we trust and have known for years is suddenly leaving earlier and earlier as months have gone by. I feel that if I don't say something, one of these days she may just work half the time,lol. Her pay is above average (and legal) and Xmas bonuses are generous.

The work gets done but I can't always tell if details that were attended to before are now being overlooked in the zest to go home.

How would you address the issue nicely? It is bothering me enough that I'm asking for help but perhaps I'm being too picky? help.

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If it bothers you, resentment could follow and nobody wins there. Dicey because, as you say, it APPEARS all the work is getting done. Perhaps you say to her that you've noticed she's been leaving earlier than she used to so you wonder if she now has other obligations that weren't the case when she first started? Perhaps she's taken on another client? Say you would be happy to adjust her hours or have her come another day to "help her out", but only IF you would be comfortable really doing that. That accomplishes letting her know you noticed, but doesn't seem accusatory. Finding someone capable you like and trust is no small thing so I can understand you want to tread lightly and not offend her - especially if she's just gotten way more efficient over time :)

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 1:59PM
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great advice. I definitely don't want to lose her. It could be another job, which is fine with me. Money is a big issue (isn't it always) with 2 college age kids. She's working herself to the bones so both can have better lives, so I do not want or intend to make anything harder on her. Just don't like sneakiness.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 5:23PM
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I am curious enough that I hope if you do go with that approach, you'll let us (or maybe only little ole me) know how it turned out? I am going to guess that if you have been a fair employer (and it appears you have been) and a source of steady income for many years, she's not going to want to jeopardize all of that either. Good Luck!
p.s. I am sort of jealous you have a cleaning lady. When I retired, so did my cleaning lady and I haven't motivated myself enough to get a new one. It's not like my hubby and I can't do it ourselves............I just sure HATE to. hehe

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 6:46PM
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Are you paying her by the hour or by the "job"? If your agreement isn't hourly, I'd say the pace of her working and consequently when she leaves is up to her and not you if everything is getting done. If you can't tell if the amount of work has decreased with the apparent decrease in time, you need to be careful - it could be she's working faster and harder because of a need to finish and leave sooner. Or, she could be slacking off and thinking it wasn't noticed.

I'd ask the question in a way that makes it about your concern for her, not your concern for you:.

"You know, I've noticed that you seem to be leaving a bit earlier than you used to. Is everything ok with you and your family? I'm concerned."


"You seem to be spending a bit less time here each visit than you used to. Have I said or done something wrong, or is there something I can help you with?"

Very long term relationships of this type are rare. Usually something specific causes the end.

This post was edited by snidely on Tue, Jun 10, 14 at 19:18

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 7:16PM
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How could you tell if she does a good job? I would think you have a check list to verify if she gets things done, instead of judging by the hours she works at your house.

We don't use a housekeeper but we have been using the same yard service for the last 15 years. Some weeks they work for less than 30 minutes, sometimes they stay over two hours. In average, they spend less than half of the time in winter than during growing seasons.

As long as the yard is clean and things get trimmed, I'd prefer them to leave earlier.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 4:36AM
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Seems to me that first, you need to determine whether all tasks are being completed to your satisfaction. Then decide if her leaving earlier is really an issue. If she is really doing the job she is hired to do, does it matter how long she takes to do it? Are you are hiring her for the day, not for specified tasks, and you don't have enough work to keep her occupied for that time? Or is she there to perform a set list of tasks and paid regardless of time spent?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 9:36PM
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Hi bossyvossy,

you asked for "A polite way to address issue" so I will offer one. I ditto what Snidely said that you should ask her if everything is okay and tell her that you have noticed some changes in her schedule.

What did happen with this issue?

This post was edited by sasafras on Wed, Jul 2, 14 at 22:12

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 10:10PM
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