The domestic professional`s guide to work

Part 1: Getting a job

So it is always a very simple thing in theory when one says “I am looking for employment” but just how simple is this process for the domestic worker?

There are so many factors which are in play from the time one sets the objective to get a job and the time you eventually secure one. Even though there is no standard formula to go about the whole process there are some critical aspects which may be of use to take note of in your job hunting, particularly as a domestic worker.

One might ask why specific focus on domestic workers. Well, firstly because our core business revolves around domestic workers. Secondly, because of the non-formal or in other cases, semi-formal nature of the domestic work industry, quite a number of issues should be brought to attention.

As Domestic workers, vulnerability to exploitation, abuse and mistreatment by employers within the sector is very high. This is so because, of the various legal and/or constitutional provisions which are meant to safeguard and cushion domestic workers from such unfortunate happenings, very few are actually effectively functional to the level of actually addressing the concerns for which they were designed. For example, domestic workers have a right to a written contract which should state clearly detailing conditions of work, duties, and wages working hours among other contract related issues.

Despite the existence of such a requirement, the majority of domestic workers are currently working without any written contract which states anything at all regarding their work. The consequence of such for job seekers, we have heard one too many stories of women/domestic workers who got stranded after they were called to come in for work under floating arrangements or agreements only to find the employer turning sides or changing their mind. Worst case scenario being to find another person already there working the same job upon arrival.

More so, because employers have nothing holding them to account for any such actions, they continue doing so time and again at the peril of job seekers. This is just one instance out of so many possible scenarios.

The bigger challenge being that there is no documentation or follow up of such cases therefore the magnitude to which domestic industry job seekers are suffering is hardly taken seriously.

This being the  case, the responsibility falls on the individual first to take measures to reduce chances of falling prey to such a fate. Here are a few things you can do.

  1. Make sure you have a firm job offer – preferably in writing and

Detailed indications of your conditions of work (duties, wages, hours,

etc.)

  • Verify before committing – If possible, meet or call your potential employer and discuss all the details of your conditions of work; DO NOT BE AFRAID OF ASKING QUESTIONS.
  • Follow the formal path – Ask for a written contract and only sign when you are happy with all the conditions
  • Take care of the important – If your job requires that you travel away from your home, make certified copies of all your documents and leave them in a safe place at home. Take copies of your official documents (ID, work certificates, birth certificate, diplomas, etc.)

Your communication strategy – take useful telephone numbers with you if you need to travel far to take your job. Also have a mobile phone in case you need to contact someone

  • Inform someone – give details to a person you trust of your place of employment and the particulars of your employer.
  • Have a plan B – this should be someone to assist whom you can trust if things do not work out as planned? Or an exit strategy if you happen to get in a tight spot.

One other efficient strategy which combines all of the above while giving you a guarantee by doing half the work for you is to join Domestic Workers Association. We are a meticulous team, registered organization with a good reputation, committed to making sure in every way possible that the unfortunate does not befall you. Register with us, become a member and get access to all of our services conveniently.