This article was culled from our first Seclot Safety series, which is a monthly community discourse on safety and security problems in our society and how to solve them.
Dealing with domestic staff
It is no longer news that people mistakenly hire criminals and psychopaths disguised as domestic workers who end up stealing important properties from their employers home or sometimes harm the members of the family. It is therefore very important to do proper research and vetting even when you are hiring from a renowned agency.
Here are few tips to follow in ensuring you hire the right staff and to avoid future issues with them
1. CHAT WITH THE DOMESTIC STAFF YOURSELF: Take note of the word CHAT, It should not be a Q and A type of interview, rather it should be a conversation. When people feel you are interested in them they will give you details that will shock you. Remember to take note of the vital information you get from these conversations.
2. REGISTER NATIONAL ID: In a case where he/she does not have a national ID, ensure to take the domestic staff for registration and keep a soft copy of the file in your online platform.
3. HEALTH CHECK: Ensure you conduct a health check on your domestic staff, adding them to HMO plans would also be good. Ensure to keep the files online.
4. PROFILE THEM WITH THE AUTHORITIES: Yes you have to pay to do the registration, and like with all things Nigerian police it is a hassle to do, but it is worth it. This should not be limited to housekeeper staff and nannies only, any staff working within the confines of your premises should be profiled, this includes gatekeeper/guard, driver, gardener, etc. It also helps to keep them in check and at their best behavior always.
5. NEVER PAY SALARY IN CASH: This will enable you to keep a record of proof of payment so as to avoid any form of accusation or falsehood being leveled against you. It is so important that whomever you hire, has a bank account and that you have the bank details. If they don’t have one, help them open a savings account preferably in a bank where you know people. This will also help you to trace them if the need arises. To own a bank account now in Nigeria you must have done BVN which includes fingerprints; picture taking and another form of identification usually a drivers license; permanent voters card; Nigerian passport or National identity card. If they are students then a valid school Identity.
6. KNOW THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS: If they have family members that they are close to; you should get to know them. Encourage and support them, by sending them gifts in cash and kind during festivities. This can also help you keep a record of their details such as bank information which can be useful when the need arises (in terms of monitoring and tracking missing persons).
7. TAKE LOTS OF PICTURES: Take pictures of them and with them also, it can come in handy when you’re asked to produce a likeness of them for easy identification.
8. DO NOT DELETE FILES OF FORMER STAFF: This might come in handy in the future to save a life. In cases where criminals disguised as domestic help are on the prowl, your information about them can help security agencies investigate properly and to help profile them as criminals to ensure they are not taken up as staff by anyone else.
Note that this article is not of the notion that all domestic staff are criminals, but it is to ensure we hire good staff and also to prevent any form of crime.