Friday, September 05, 2008

Maid Tenure

I have been avoiding my blog. I have been in the worst mood ever and I just didn't want to involve all 5 of you that read my blog.

But, just as I must remember how hard a toddler is, at some point in the future, when I am living in the States sans domestic help, I need to remember what a pain in the rear it was sometimes to have the so-called "help".

So, I will share with you what has been driving me NUTS the last week (just ask poor Ballerina Girl, I'm sure she's sick of hearing about my maid troubles). And if you are sick of my maid tales, just come back next week and I'll have moved on (or so I hope).

About 6 or 7 months ago I found a note my maid had written and left out in a place that I would find it. It had the names of her 3 children and then a girl's name and a boy's name, options, if you will, for an unborn 4th child. I freaked out for a moment and then asked her if she was pregnant and she told me, "Nooooooo!" like I was crazy or something. She told me "someday" she wanted another child, but not in the near future.

We should have fired her that day.

Fast forward to our trip to the States and her bulging stomach that I attributed to all of the fast food burgers that always had to include bacon. Then we arrive back in Brazil and lo and behold-she's pregnant.

So, what's the big deal?

The big deal is that Brazil has got some pretty serious laws about pregnant maids. Like you can't fire them. Well, that's a nice law isn't it? I mean, how rude would it be to fire your pregnant maid? Well, if your maid wants to show up 4 hours late every day and sit around and eat bonbons and watch a novela instead of working you can't really do anything about it. Or if she doesn't show up at all- you can't fire her. And she knows it.

Then, they get a 4 month paid maternity leave, 5 months if they are nursing, during which time you of course, can't fire them, even if you've hired someone else that you like better. You can't fire them, in fact, until 2 months after their maternity leave.

I'm not being completely honest. You can fire a pregnant maid. But, if you do, you must pay them their salary for the remainder of their pregnancy and their 4-or-5 month maternity leave (I'm guessing most decide to nurse, what do you think?). And with the dollar where it's at, and the Real where it's at we are not talking about pocket change here.

If you don't completely comply with this law you will most likely be sued by your maid who will most likely win.

So back to my maid. As far as she knows, we are leaving the end of July 2009. Is it just a huge coincidence that her due date is 4 1/2 months before then? I hope it is, but I am really starting to wonder. Basically she will be able to goof around the next 7 months, then take off 5 months months, and then collect unemployment for the following 6 months if we do happen to leave the country. Doesn't sound so bad, does it?

In the past 3 weeks since my normally responsible maid told me she's pregnant she's showed up late 4 times, taken 4 days off for "appointments", three days for doctor recommended "rest", and when she has been here she mopes around like I am the wicked witch of the west for making her work at all.

Monday she came to work totally downtrodden and sick. She had a headache and was nauseated and *gasp* she almost threw up the day before! After watching her production for about an hour I told her she could go home. She decided that with symptoms like hers, she needed to go to the hospital. The doctor gave her a note that said she needs 3 days of rest.


So basically anytime she wants a few days off, she just has to head to her doctor and complain a little and she'll get a note. And I have to pay her even though she is not here. And there's nothing I can do about it.

When she called to tell me about her note (at 9:00 that night, leaving me no time to make arrangements for the next day), I said, "so then you'll be here on Saturday, right?"

Pause..., "Well, I guess...if you really need me to come." like I am totally putting her out.


When I'm back in the States complaining about housework, please remind me of this.


Janice said...

Sucks to be you. Seriously.

Fabiola said...

I am sorry to hear you are going through all this. But unfortunately, that is what they do. I am not a maid kind of person, but I had to give up since I travel way too much. I hired an early 50 maid. Still, she still can sue me if she thinks I haven´t paid her enough. Even though, I am paying ALL the taxes that the Brazilian law requires.
Just let me give you a heads up, by December she will ask her about her “13th salary” and when she can go on paid vacation. Be aware my friend.
Good Luck,

Ballerina Girl said...

My dearest friend
I will never get tired of you ar your complaining...
I do it enough myself. It is your turn now!
I love you, and will miss you so dearly...
Thank you for trusting me with Pedro today...he was a COMPLETE joy.
Love, BG

Awesome Mom said...

Ugh that sucks!! Shoot I wonder how I can get a gig as a maid in Brazil, it sounds pretty kush. Except I would actually feel guilty for not doing my job.

Anonymous said...

And to think that you have been SOOOO GOOD to her! I feel your pain, anger and frustration.

Paulette said...

Man that is outrageous and down right deceitful. Wow talk about stuck, they should be ashamed of themselves for all the dishonesty.
Sorry to hear about this.

Super Happy Girl said...

It's your blog and you can complain if you want to. Besides Gabs, when was the last time you did?

Sorry, that totally sucks. What a dishonest person and how horrible to treat you like this after all the nice things you do for her.
I don't wish her bad at all, but boy oh boy, karma does not forget.

Hang in there. You are one tough mama.

Super Happy Girl said...

Oh and YAY for good friends you can tell your tales of woe to!
Kudos ballerina girl.

Unknown said...

AGGGGHHHHH is right! It is understandable why you are in a bad mood right now and annoyed with your maid. I would be, too! You should be able to enjoy your maid service while you can.

P.S. I see more than 5 comments here. :-)

Anonymous said...

Argh!! That would make me mad too. Anyway to move sooner and get away from her?

Anonymous said...

Oh that just crossed off Brasilian beach mansion for retirement plans on our books!
I am sooo Sorry! I am going to happily clean my kitchen floor now.

Anonymous said...

Oooh Nooo!
Man you got jiffed!
So sorry that you are going through this and that she is taking advantage of you, you sure have the right to vent b/c she lied on purpose, and besides, it's your blog, and that gives you the right to do what you want with it!
I feel for you.


marine's words said...

Vent all you want!! that is what we are hear for to listen to you ")
I feel so bad for you she is taking advantage and you are kind of stuck.
I hope things get better, marina

andalucy said...

Yesterday I read in the Wall Street Journal that watching tv has had the proven effect of lowering the fertility rate in Brazil. Looks like your maid hasn't been doing much watching. :-)

That is a thoroughly frustrating experience and I would be festering, too.

Anonymous said...

I hate people who take advatange of others.
Can't you ask the advise of an attorney? maybe there is a way to get out of this.