Maids and drivers come in all shapes and sizes. They help us lighten our work; but at times, they can be a burden. As Christians, how should we treat them? Here are some suggestions:
-Give them a fair salary. Amounts can be based on the rates (more or less) offered by recruitment agencies. They can vary depending on each situation, such as if they have dependent spouses and children. Release their salaries on time, as agreed.
-Check on their basic needs. Are their sleeping quarters comfortable and well ventilated? Is there separation for the male and female quarters? Do they have enough and nutritious food? Do they eat and sleep at the right time?
-Be courteous to them. Use words like “Salamat,” “Good Morning,” “Paki—“ (Please). Call them by their names, not “Hoy!” or “Psst!”
– Control your temper when they make mistakes. Do not shout at them. Correct them in private and not in front of others. Explain to them why they are wrong. Be patient with their mistakes and defects. They wouldn’t be working for you with their low salaries if they had better opportunities. Stop criticizing, scolding, and belittling them. Compliment them for a job well done.
-Educate them. Allow them to attend classes on values, home-training skills or catechism. Enroll them in a part-time school if you can afford. Your motive should be to help and not for selfish reason of detaining them. Teach them to dress modestly, to choose wholesome radio/TV programs and magazines, to avoid familiarity with married people, and to have a marriage sanctioned by the church. Teach them proper hygiene.
-Get to know them. Talk with them about their families, interests and problems. Give them advice on their problems.
-Make them a part of your family. Remember their birthdays (give them gifts or prepare a small celebration), help them find good spouses, ask them to pray for your intentions (a small favor which they enjoy doing) – believe me, their prayers are powerful!
-Put yourselves in their shoes. Treat them the way you want to be treated. Are they allowed day-offs or a little self-indulgence like nail polish and make-up (for the maids)?
-Pray for them. Thank God for giving them to you. Allow them to attend Sunday Masses.
-Do not be too sensitive when your kindness is not acknowledged or repaid with gratitude. Rather, dwell on the fact that God is pleased with your good deeds. When they abuse your kindness or go overboard, let them know that they might get dismissed.
-Remember that they deserve equal rights and dignity. They are there to help you, not to be your slaves. Their humble work is not to be looked down. Their work, as long as it does not oppose God’s law, is good and noble, just like any “big time” job.
(Reference: St. Josemaria Escriva’s teachings on the value of work)