HOME What to do when em­ploy­ing do­mes­tic ser­vants

Daily Trust - - HOME FRONT - By Ojoma Akor

There are cer­tain things to put into con­sid­er­a­tion when em­ploy­ing do­mes­tic ser­vants es­pe­cially these days that sto­ries are rife of house helps killing their bosses, the chil­dren they were brought to baby sit, or ran away with money and prop­er­ties.

Some of them sex­u­ally abuse chil­dren in the home, be­come in­house in­for­mants to armed rob­bers and kid­nap­pers, broke mar­riages and even en­gage in voodo­ism, to men­tion a few.

Do­mes­tic ser­vants have be­come nec­es­sary in some homes as a re­sult of the busy sched­ule of some people and also to pro­vide sup­port with do­mes­tic ac­tiv­i­ties. While some people get their rel­a­tives to serve as their do­mes­tic ser­vants, oth­ers get strangers.

When em­ploy­ing a do­mes­tic ser­vant it is im­por­tant to first screen and know the iden­tity of the per­son, and also make en­quiries about his or her char­ac­ter.

It is eas­ier to know the iden­ti­ties of do­mes­tic ser­vants that are rel­a­tives and their char­ac­ters than strangers. How­ever, even do­mes­tic ser­vants that are rel­a­tives have been guilty of crimes com­mit­ted by strangers as such it is im­por­tant to know them well be­fore em­ploy­ing them or tak­ing them into your home.

Get do­mes­tic ser­vants from reg­is­tered agencies that have all their data; where they come from and their rel­a­tive’s or guar­an­tor’s con­tacts so that you can also go there when things go wrong. When you can’t do this be­cause of the few reg­is­tered agencies avail­able in the coun­try, en­sure the per­son you em­ploy has up to two guar­an­tors with ver­i­fi­able iden­ti­ties and records who you can eas­ily meet.

Also make ef­forts to know some rel­a­tives or people close to the per­son you are em­ploy­ing. Par­tic­u­larly those who live in the city or town you live.

Some people only know the tribe or name of the state of their cook, driver or gate­man. They don’t know the names of their vil­lages, ad­dresses or names and ad­dresses of any of their rel­a­tive or friends. How then do you trace them when they ab­scond or some­thing goes wrong?

Also it is not com­pletely safe to just let some other per­son’s do­mes­tic ser­vant bring in an­other for you to em­ploy. When you want a gate­man for in­stance you should not sim­ply em­ploy one be­cause your neigh­bour’s or col­league’s gate­man rec­om­mended them or brought them to you, nei­ther should they act as the only people you know around them. You need to make ex­tra checks or bet­ter still go for cor­po­rate guards.

Sec­ondly, do not em­ploy people who come from em­ploy­ment agencies, cities, vil­lages or neigh­bour­hoods that are far from where you live. This way you, your rel­a­tives and friends will be able to make reg­u­lar back­ground checks on them and eas­ily reach out to their guar­an­tors, rel­a­tives or the third par­ties that rec­om­mended them.

It is not wise for some­one who lives in Abuja, for in­stance, to em­ploy a nanny from La­gos or Benin Repub­lic and then en­trust a child in her care ex­cept you know them or people around them very well.

A law en­force­ment of­fi­cer who wants to re­main anony­mous also rec­om­mended go­ing to po­lice sta­tions to find out if the per­son you want to em­ploy has com­mit­ted any crim­i­nal of­fence in the past.

An­other im­por­tant thing to do is to carry out health or med­i­cal tests on the do­mes­tic ser­vant.

Ac­cord­ing Miss Joy Ndieli, a nurse, some of them may have one com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­ease or the other or med­i­cal con­di­tions that may make it un­wise to em­ploy them to do the jobs you want them to do in your house. You also need to en­sure that you will be giv­ing proper med­i­cal care to them while they are in your em­ploy­ment.

You must not em­ploy any one be­low age 18 as your do­mes­tic ser­vant. The Na­tional Agency for Pro­hi­bi­tion of Traf­fic in Per­sons and Other Re­lated Mat­ters (NAPTIP) law (as amended 2005) has crim­i­nal­ized the pro­cure­ment of un­der-aged per­sons as do­mes­tic ser­vants out­side their fam­ily cir­cle as child do­mes­tic labour con­trib­utes to traf­fick­ing in per­sons.

The law specif­i­cally pro­vides that no child (per­sons un­der the age of 18 years) should be em­ployed as ‘child Do­mes­tic’ out­side his or her fam­ily en­vi­ron­ment. The same pro­vi­sion is also cap­tured in the Child Right Act and in the Labour Act, cap 198 law of the fed­er­a­tion, 1990.

People who em­ploy chil­dren risk go­ing to jail for five years, also, if you em­ploy a child to do work that is so te­dious that it will ad­versely af­fect his phys­i­cal, men­tal, spir­i­tual, moral or so­cial de­vel­op­ment, you risk go­ing to jail for an­other years.

Na­tional Co­or­di­na­tor of Women Traf­fick­ing and Child Labour Erad­i­ca­tion Foun­da­tion (WOTCLEF), Mrs Veron­ica Umaru also said the Child Rights Act is very clear on who a child is and it states that no child should be em­ployed to work in any ca­pac­ity out­side his or her home and there is pun­ish­ment for the prac­tice.

“In some in­stances, the chil­dren have al­ready been traf­ficked be­fore en­gag­ing them in child labour. Maybe that child has been traf­ficked from the ru­ral area to the ur­ban cen­tre and the child is now forced to do do­mes­tic work. That is ex­ploita­tion and child labour which are all crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties and the law pro­hibits that,” she said.

Fi­nally, be pre­pared to treat your do­mes­tic ser­vants well, this en­dears them to you and make them like mem­bers of your own fam­ily. Mean­ness and mal­treat­ment brings out their bad sides.

And when you em­ploy do­mes­tic ser­vants make ef­forts to be vig­i­lant and ob­ser­vant. Be­cause some do­mes­tic ser­vants act good be­fore their bosses and turn to some­thing else, when they are not around. Also watch out for your chil­dren’s re­ac­tions to­wards them.

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