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Ask Mel: Your Helper’s Personal Items

Family LifePost Category - Family LifeFamily Life - Post Category - Domestic HelpersDomestic Helpers

Wondering what you’re responsible for?

You’ve hired a new helper for your family and you want to make sure she feels welcomed once she joins your home. Our expert, Mel from Helpwise, clarifies which items we’re required to provide for our helpers, in this week’s Ask Mel.

Q: Which items am I supposed to provide for my helper? Do I need to pay for her personal items, such as toothpaste and shampoo?

You may be surprised to learn that the list of what you’re contractually required to provide for your helper is actually quite short. Besides her salary, food, and medical expenses, the checklist of non-negotiable things that you must supply is only six items long. Here they are, life’s most basic necessities:

The 6 “Required” Items

  1. Light and water supply
  2. Toilet and bathing facilities
  3. Bed
  4. Blankets or quilt
  5. Pillows
  6. Wardrobe

A couple of clarifications. The “toilet and bathing facilities” means that she needs access to a toilet and bathing facilities in your home, but this doesn’t require her to have her own bathroom. The contract also explains that the helper’s bed must come with some level of privacy such as her own room, or a shared room (as long as they aren’t sharing with an adult or teen of the opposite sex), or a partitioned section of the house.

So, to answer your question: you’re actually not required to provide your helper’s personal items such as shampoo, toothpaste, feminine products, etc. From your helper’s perspective, she benefits by getting to choose the brands she prefers and how much money she wants to spend on her own personal care and hygiene products. This also reduces confusion on your end, because if you were required to provide “personal items” or “basic necessities,” it may be unclear how to define that.

Extra Ideas

In addition to the “required” list, I also wanted to share a few other suggestions for your consideration. Equipping your home and helper with some of these “extras” may help to strengthen your working relationship; but, since these are optional, no one should feel obligated. Simply have a browse and see if anything suits your budget and management style.

  • Storage bins and storage space: providing a designated spot for her luggage, shoes, personal items, food/snacks, will make her feel more at ease and help you keep your home organised
  • Towels, sheets, and face cloths: something that she will need on Day 1, but may not have thought to purchase herself
  • Weather considerations: a fan for summer and space heater for winter will help her to stay more rested and energised
  • Door or wall hooks: a useful way for her to make the most of her space, while also keeping things tidy
  • A shower caddy: especially useful if she’ll be sharing a bathroom with other members of your family
  • A mirror: if her sleeping space or bathroom doesn’t have one, small and inexpensive ones can be purchased at most home stores
  • Welcome “kit”: although you needn’t provide her personal products on an ongoing basis, if you are hiring a new helper, you can consider a one-time welcome kit including things like travel-size shampoo and soap for when she first arrives

Mama tip! If you have school-age children, giving them a chance to welcome your new helper can help them navigate this change by focusing on positive actions. Perhaps your child can shop with you for the helper’s bedding, or they could draw a picture to leave near your new helper’s sleeping area. Creating a solid parent-child-helper relationship from the beginning can prove beneficial throughout the employment.

Read more: What’s the Best Way To Find a Helper

We also have some tips on work-related items you may want to have on hand for your helper, so we’ll be covering those later this month. Stay tuned, mamas – help is on the way!

For more employer-friendly advice (no judgment here, Mamas!), contact Melanie to schedule a private hiring session or to attend one of her helper management workshops. We’ve done both and can say they are definitely Sassy-approved!

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