Recently, we have read of people being attacked and murdered by their domestic workers and others who have stolen considerable money and items of great value.
To make their busy lifestyles more manageable, families where the parent or parents do not have the time to do the work of domestic staff, employ people in the role of a nanny, housekeeper, driver, or carer. Ironically, these families, who often have achieved great success in their professional lives, do not follow proper employment methods for staff helping in their personal lives. As a result, they expose themselves to liabilities in various ways.
In addition to the strict labour laws in South Africa, people must consider that domestic employees may have unlimited access to their home, knowledge of their financial affairs, credit/debit card privileges, driving duties, and most importantly, unsupervised responsibility for the safety of children or elderly parents daily. Over time, domestic staff can be perceived as members of the family. This level of trust can cause families to underestimate the possibility that a disgruntled or untrustworthy employee might become a risk to the family by sharing information with syndicates, simply stealing to improve their lifestyle, or, sadly, going as far as to harm the family.
For these reasons, a thorough approach to hiring and managing domestic staff is essential, just as it is in the professional world.
It is never easy to pick out the suitable person for your home. The hiring decision regarding the domestic service provider demands great care and caution, and often, people are guided by emotions and skip the essential background checks, which would include:
- ID Verification
- Criminal Record Check
- Contact Trace
- Verification of relevant qualifications in the case of a nanny, au pair or carer
- Social Media Check if relevant
- Independent reference check
- Integrity assessment
Inspecting all such details makes it possible for the family to ensure the candidate is reliable, and certain checks, such as an integrity assessment and social media risk assessment, should be done annually to ensure integrity is maintained.
Some families go as far as to use an agency to assist in their homes but merely take the word of an agency that the person has been “checked”. When a person is appointed to work in your home, it is strongly recommended that you ask for a copy of the background check.