First of all, this is an article about Domestic Staff during lockdown, which we think is an interesting topic to cover. Obviously, our boss Sara Vestin Rahmani is very involved with the lives of the staff that we placed. Today, she has taken the time to speak to a bunch of them.
This article is written during the times of Corona in an attempt to get you all excited about our industry. Despite the lockdown and Virus. Because of this, we want to share some information about how some of the domestic staff during lockdown have experience this period.
“The family I work for, took their extended family, me and the other staff to their home in the Caribbean”, says housekeeper Linda Mulley to Sara Vestin Rahmani. “Needless to say, for us, as domestic staff during lockdown with this client, things have been great.” “As shown, our employer really care about us, which goes to show in their actions.
” I think we are probably luckier than other domestic staff “
Worth mentioning is that Linda works for a client of Bespoke Bureau and Sara Vestin Rahmani. Of course, this particular client is known to treat their domestic staff really well. Likewise, most our clients treat their staff very well. Interestingly, the family went on lockdown with their home staff in March 2020 and returned in July. Given that the staff had to be away from home and the UK for so long, they have been given time off in lieu now. Impressively, the staff have been given 2 months off now. About that, Linda says: “We are in no need of this extended holiday as it already feels like we have been on holiday and I think we are probably luckier than other domestic staff ”
Nice life for some domestic staff huh?
Another domestic staff member during lockdown has a less fun experience
“I felt like they thought they were more important than my family”, Amanda explains. To clarify, Amanda is a nanny who has worked for a family for three years.
When lockdown rumours began to circulate, she was told about the family’s plans. The plan was to migrate to their holiday home in remote Scotland with all their friends. “Obviously, I didn’t want to go. My mother is sick and I want to be near her”. Unfortunately, one persons joy was Amanda’s misery as the whole emballage went up to Scotland for all of spring. Of course, to Amanda’s upset, there was a clause in her nanny contract that stipulated this rule. The clause says that the workplace of the nanny may at times, if needed be in other locations than the family home. Amanda could have never imagined this could ever materialise in anything other than a 2 week holiday max. Finally, we want you to know that Amanda is otherwise very happy in her employment. Moreover, her mother’s health is now perfect too.
Other stories about domestic staff in lockdown
Linda and Amanda’s stories are not the only ones being published. For example, last week a nanny from New York told The Cut she personally knew of “15 nannies from the Caribbean who had died of the virus”.
While Linda and Amanda had a contract, made off a template by Sara Vestin Rahmani, many employees work cash-in-hand. Sadly, the lockdown has highlighted how unregulated and irregular the industry is for many without contracts. Make sure you always use reputable domestic staff agency like ours.
Help for domestic staff during lockdown
Many domestic workers now find themselves abruptly out of work. Obviously, this is because of the millions of families who rely on household assistance are forced to close their doors on them. Thankfully, some housekeepers can register for the self-employed loan but could not access it til June 2020. Needless to say, the loan also requires that they earned regular income from 2018-19, which excludes cleaners working on a zero-hour contract, or new workers.
Of course, many of those who have received furlough or continued pay from their employer’s pockets are forced to keep working. Maria Culley from the UK Nannies Matter Campaign says: “No one size fits all guidelines have been given. Nannies and employers haven’t been given clear information which has led to lots of confusion.”
Individual families have been left to decide whether their childcare is essential and if financial obligations are mandatory. Sara Vestin Rahmani believes that the government should have defined a blanket rule that only key workers need domestic staff.
Extra important for migrant workers to work during lockdown
Of course, many live-in domestic workers from the Philippines are still on ‘leave to remain’ visas, even after years of service here. And thus, they can’t apply for a self-employed loan or benefits. Thankfully, all workers employed by families of our agency, Bespoke Bureau, are safe under regulated and solid contracts.
One example is the migrant domestic staff who are offering care to Britain’s elderly long term. Sadly, they have little negotiating power to dispute their new working conditions. They can’t leave their employer’s home or rely on support from other members of the family to give them breaks. However, staff placed by our agency can rely on their rock solid contracts. This is something that we are proud about.
How we rely on domestic staff
Many of us benefit from the service of domestic workers during normal times. Domestic staff are there to help raise our children. They keep our public spaces clean and safe and also care for our vulnerable. Therefore, we think that the government are pushing difficult decisions on individual families. As a result, the fate of thousands of workers has become contingent on working for a considerate or respectful employers, such as those pertaining to Bespoke Bureau.
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