Monthly offs are crucial for the domestic helper. These are people who are involved in rigorous physical and laborious work throughout the day, day after day. Monthly offs are mandatory for any kind of job, especially if it is a full-time job. And, it should be a usual feature with the 24-hours domestic helpers too. Scientific research and evidence have proved the importance of weekly and monthly rest period. As per the Domestic Act 2008 in India, it is mandatory that domestic helpers should have rest for at least 10 consecutive hours after they end work for the day. Besides legal rules, providing helpers rest period is human and basic.
Let us first understand the importance of monthly offs for the helpers and then how-to set-in place a good monthly-off system.
What is the essence of monthly offs for 24-hiurs helpers?
- Importance of Rest on a long monthly routine
Rest is important for the mind and body. It helps rejuvenate the brain, the heart and the entire body that is essential for maintaining and enhancing the health of the helper. Rest is also important to reduce stress levels. This is the day that the person has all to himself — it provides the helper with the much required me-time. They can lots on this days — from finishing pending personal work to visiting family and friends, to catching up on sleep, entertaining himself — there are lot of things that the person does on the day off so that the mind and body is rested well and he can join back work with enhanced energies and motivation.
- Enables Retention
In the context of paid monthly offs to domestic helpers, it is definitely a good and sound practice. More so, because for one, it helps the helper rest and rejuvenate; and second, it assures the helper that the employer is concerned about his health and well-being which in turn plays an important role in retaining the person. Domestic helpers and maids who feel that kind of reassurance that they are getting few paid leaves in the month have lesser urges to look out for other jobs and will usually stick with the employer for a longer period of time.
How to set a healthy monthly off routine
There are certain aspects of monthly offs that if done and decided properly can lead to minimization of stress for both the employer and the helper. It can set into place a proper and healthy working routine that is good for mental peace of everyone concerned.
Here are few things that should be practised:
- Expectation Setting at the Start on count of monthly Holiday — the domestic helper needs to get monthly offs is something that employers need to understand and accept before looking out for a helper. To make things easy and smooth for either parties, it is important that domestic employers and the helpers set the expectations at the onset itself. The maid has to be given the chance to speak up and inform the employer about the number of paid offs that she is going to take and the employers on their end need to ensure that it is in compliance with the standard rules of the place. When things are made clear at the beginning itself, the work starts in the right direction with both parties having an understanding causing less stress and hassle.
- Should be done in-tandem with criticality of Job Role — one essential thing to keep in mind is the kind of job the helper is involved in, before deciding the duration of monthly offs. For example, a driver would surely need to rest on a daily, weekly and monthly basis else it could prove to be dangerous for employer too. Similarly, helpers who are employed to look after the ill or the old or the disabled need to be given appropriate time off so that they can relax and rest well before reporting back to work. All in all, the nature of the job as well as the criticality aspect should be taken into consideration before deciding the offs.
- Cultivating culture of informing in advance for Time Off — this is one thing that needs to be communicated to the 24-hours helper at the beginning of work. Without information leaves can disrupt the setting up of a healthy and trustworthy working environment. It can cause great deal of stress to the employer which generally leads to fights and tensions between both parties. Both the employer and the domestic helper need to work on this aspect so that an honest and reliable work environment can be created — helpers should be encouraged and made to understand the significance of giving prior information of leaves and the employers should respond maturely when such information is given to them rather than disapproving the leave.