1. Emergency Info: One way to bring assurance to both you and your new helper, is to provide your helper with guidelines on what to do in case of emergency. Jot down your key contact numbers, 999, and also who she should call if you’re unreachable. Consider setting aside emergency cash in a secure but accessible place.
2. Her Schedule: Your helper will look to you for guidance on how to structure her day. Let her know when you’d like her to start work in the morning when she should take her break(s), and what time she will be off work for the day. It’s also good to mention if there are specific duties expected of her on certain days, such as taking your little one to an afterschool activity.
3. Pay Day: Many people choose to pay their helper’s monthly salary on the first day of the month since it’s easy to remember; however, you can decide what day works best for you and your helper. Just make sure you communicate it to your helper upfront, and then be consistent with payments, so that she can make plans around her payday. Consider setting a recurring calendar reminder to help you remember.
4. Rest Day: The law requires employers to give their helpers at least one rest day off work each week. A “rest day” is defined as a continuous period of 24 hours. Many helpers enjoy Sundays off, since a lot of their friends have Sunday rest days, but the helper’s rest day is up to each individual household to decide.
5. House Rules: Creating guidelines for a new helper isn’t meant to intimidate or overwhelm her. It’s intended to bring clarity. In fact, helpers often appreciate knowing what is expected of them upfront, rather than wondering if they’re doing the right things. Write up your preferences on household chores, such as how often she should vacuum and where to hang the laundry. It’s also a good idea to write down your expectations on her working attire, her mobile phone usage, and anything else that will avoid confusion down the road.
6. Her Space: This may seem obvious, but she’ll need to know where to put her personal belongings. Show her where she can store her food, shoes, luggage, and clothing.
7. Food: Employers are required by law to provide food for their helpers, either in the monetary form of a food allowance or by providing the actual food itself. Communicate to her how you’ll be providing her food. If you’ve chosen not to give the food allowance, make sure you tell your helper exactly how the food will be shared, since she may be too shy to ask.
8. Eating Arrangements: Determine your needs and preferences regarding mealtime. Where would you like your helper to eat: with you at the dining table, in her room, or in the kitchen? When will she eat: before you, at the same time, after the kids eat? Each household will have different needs and should choose the arrangement that’s most comfortable for employers and helpers.
9. Your Parenting Style: Explain your parenting style to your helper. Teaching her your methods and parenting style will enable her to work with you so that she can best assist your children. Tell her your preferences on responsibilities, manners, discipline, chores, playdates, and activities.
10. Getting Around: Don’t forget job necessities, such as where you’d like her to buy groceries, what type of transportation she should take, and how to access the clubhouse. Remember to provide her with essentials, like child pick-up cards, keys to your house, and your address written in Chinese.