It happens. A maid asking for a cash advance for whatever purpose she may have. One problem with this is that the tendency to abuse the process at the expense of both the employer and the maid. It'll be a lose-lose situation that none of us – employers and maids alike – wants to experience.
How should we deal with maids who constantly ask for a bale?
Know the purpose
Probe if you must. Ask her why she is asking for a salary advance. If it's a medical emergency or for paying tuition fee, you may grant her request. But, if she's only going to buy something to support her vices, then you can say no.
For the first reasons, you may further explore if there is indeed an emergency. In most cases, when it is true, she would willingly let someone speak to you to validate her claims. Just be wary of connivance since it is highly possible.
Give her the benefit of the doubt. This is the most important. If she's already proven her trustworthiness, there is no reason you shouldn't giver her what she is asking for. She won't ask in the first place if she doesn't need it.
First, if you are not going to extend any cash advance to your househelpers, you might as well tell them during the initial interview. In this way, their expectations are guided.
Second, it's very unethical to ask for advance salary if the maid had just started working in your household for less than a week. So, tell her during the pre-employment interview that you only give cash advances to maids who stayed with you for at least 6 months. There are instances when a housemaid asked for cash advances and suddenly disappeared.
Third, tell her that you can only provide one cash advance at a time. This means she needs to pay the previous cash advance first before she asks for another. And, if possible, tell you in advance so you can include it in the next month's budget.
Fourth, unless absolutely necessary, you can only give her the amount that equals half of her monthly salary. If she's earning Php3,000, she is only entitled to Php1,500 of her entire salary.
Fifth, discuss repayment options. She can repay in installments – three installments following our example above. So that's Php500 deduction every payday. You can ask her if that's okay with her, but the final decision is yours.
Establish some limitations
To continue with the above, you may also tell your maids in the Philippines that you cannot allow poorly performing maids to make a bale. It's like telling them to prove their worth – that they are worthy of what they are asking from you.
Let us not fall into the trap of getting used to getting money that you haven't worked for yet. She might lose the motivation to work or give her best. It's basic human nature. You already get what you want so why bother? Likewise, some people have this victim behavior while some are just plain opportunistic.
While at it, it would be best to teach her the value of living within her means and saving and not overspending.
Evidently, it is important to set boundaries when it comes to asking for and giving cash advances to your househelpers. Don't feel guilty if you have to say no. It's better that way than to support your maids and unconsciously push them into living a life full of financial debts until they themselves can't get out of it. They must know the importance of the fruit of their labor and use it in a way that's beneficial to themselves and their loved ones.