Tuesday, August 11, 2009

To Pay or Not to Pay - That is the Question

Through no fault of Inom's, really, he has been missing about a day per week working for me for the last month. His sponsor was supposed to return last night and hopefully the situation will be resolved. In the meantime, with his sponsor gone on vacation, Inom has had a very difficult time getting on the right "list" to get in and out of our compound - and it has not been easy for him to do his job. However, my deal with him is that he works for me and I pay him. Simple. That is all that there is to our employer / employee relationship. I am not going to sponsor him. We have already tried to go that route with another worker and it did not work out. I am not interested in sponsoring someone unless they are going to be our full-time house assistant and house sitter AND baby sitter. Inom is nowhere near ready for that responsibility. I do not trust him with my Kids and likely never will. Thus, our agreement is basic: He works for us and we pay him. That is it.

To be fair to Inom, though, because he counts on the money we pay him to provide for his own family - a wife, two sons and a daughter - I also pay him when we go on vacation, which, in essence, is a paid vacation for him. There is a different man that comes and stays at the house when we leave and he baby-sits The Kids and takes care of the house - he can clean up after himself. Inom does not even have a housekey. I do not want for our baby-sitter to have to worry about the days and times that Inom is supposed to come, or to have to wait for a call to sign him in, etc. So when we are gone - Inom does not come to the house, at all. My reason for paying him even when he doesn't work for us is because I expect that that time that he currently works for me will be kept open. Whether he chooses to pick up extra work while we are out of The Sandbox traveling and his services are not required is his choice. It is my choice, though, to make sure that upon our return to The Sandbox that he continues to work for me during the already scheduled hours on the agreed upon days. This is non-negotiable. Do not come to me and say, "I found other work and will now work for you on these days at this time." Nope. I tell you what days you will work for me and during what hours. [I've been down this road, before, with other houseboys. Not going down it again.]

Inom missed a day last week - because he could not get on the compound. He missed Wednesday. Wednesday is floor day. So he did the floors on Thursday, which means that the outside work I have him do - cleaning all the patio furniture, etc., did not get done. The week before that he missed a Sunday. Sunday is bathroom cleaning day. He did those on Monday when he came, but that means that the regular Monday jobs did not get done last week. And, now, he has missed Monday of this week, again - so not only did the jobs that he is supposed to do on Monday not get done last week because he did Sunday's work, but now, he's not going to get them done this week either. He does not come on Tuesday's. Tuesday is girls' day at the pool, here. I do not want Inom - or anyone else- for that matter - here on Tuesday's. Out of the question.

Yesterday afternoon I told DH why Inom didn't come. DH said, "I hope you are adjusting his pay, accordingly." My goodness. We don't pay him all that much. And he is on salary, after all. By not paying him for the three days this month he hasn't worked, I would need to deduct SR173 [$46.38] from his monthly salary. I am between a bit of a quandary about whether he should be paid or not be paid...

First of all, I made the arrangement with him that he was going to be on a salary. It is not really 100% his fault that he cannot be here to work if his sponsor is out of the Kingdom and he cannot get on the "proper" list to get onto the compound. I tried to rectify this for him at the end of July, but that was nothing more than an exercise in futlity.

It certainly is a little odd though, that on Sunday when he was here before he left he said, "I will not be able to get in tomorrow. My sponsor will return tomorrow night. I will be here on Wednesday." How did he know he couldn't get in on Monday? And, how is it that he got in on Sunday, but knew he would not be able to get in on Monday? Did he go and work for someone else doing something to make some extra money and just didn't want to tell me? I don't know.

Should I let him know that I expect him to be here to work and that if he doesn't work then he doesn't get paid? How is that fair when I pay him to not work when we are not here? If he truly has only had this problem because of his sponsor being gone, I rather think that since it really isn't his fault I should pay him - even though it isn't MY fault, either.

Probably what I will end up doing is telling him that I am going to pay him this time, but in the future, if he cannot come to work because his sponsor is gone and he hasn't done whatever it is he needs to do to get put on the "list" then I am not going to pay him for the days that he misses. I suspect that if I put it in those terms he won't be as inclined to just brush it off. As it stands right now, he believes he is on salary and that he is going to be paid regardless of whether or not he comes to work. I do not want to have this kind of arrangement in the future, that's for sure.

Guess it is time for yet our umteenth chat on what it is that I expect and what it is and how it is that I am going to pay him. Really, he needs to consider himself quite fortunate working for me. I don't know any other ex-pat that pays a non-sponsored employee for time that he / she does not work.

What would you do?

To Pay or Not to Pay?
Pay him and let it go
Pay him this time - but explain he will not be paid next time
Dock his pay
Fire him
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  1. Dear Softie,

    Yes, he has a family, and so do most other people who work. Nothing special there. Yes, he needs the money, so do others who work -- I have never known anyone to work and on payday run around giving it all away.

    As happy as I was/am that he continued on after that bump in the road, I nevertheless believe one holds up his end of the bargain. You give me work and I give you money. Simple concept.

    Tell you one thing though. If he lies to me he's gone immediately, at least in our culture. Maybe in your situation I'd let it go once WITH FRANK DISCUSSION, but there is no way I'd continue a business relationship with someone who lies to me.

  2. I'll probably end up paying him, this time, Bob@thenest, but not the next time it happens. I think when his uncle is here today I'll try to ask him [we have a major communication barrier] if Inom was here yesterday. If I find out he was - then he doesn't get paid for the days he missed. And, we will have a FRANK DISCUSSION!


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