Managing Yaya Issues


We owe a debt of gratitude to our helpers at home. If not for them, we wouldn’t be able to do everything that we want to do, whether it’s to make a killer presentation at work with the hope of getting a promotion or to run a few kilometers around the village with the objective of getting ourselves in better shape. But as much as our helpers are a blessing, they could also prove to be a bane. We’ve all encountered yayas who just pack up and leave at the drop of a hat or helpers with attitude problems who are more intent on watching television than taking care of the household. Faced with such circumstances, what’s a busy mom to do?

We asked Candice Cipullo, author of the yaya guidebook, “Kaya Mong Maging Super Yaya!”, to share with us her thoughts on how moms can handle specific situations. A mom of two with 15 years of teaching experience in the Philippines, United States, Canada, and Japan, Cipullo developed and ran enrichment classes for yayas. Her guidebook is comprised of two volumes. The first one is a guide for employers and gives them a better understanding of the significant role that yaya plays in their household. The second volume is a guide for yayas and empowers them with relevant and proper information to help build their confidence and self-esteem.

Issue #1: Your yaya takes her day off on a Sunday and promises to return the next day bright and early. But she doesn’t return Monday morning and instead shows up late in the afternoon. What should you do? Candice says: “Prior to her taking a day off, lay down some rules. If she does not come back the day she is supposed to (unless there is a family emergency that she could prove), there will be consequences to her salary. Have her sign a contract for the day off, and that she understands that there will be financial implications if she does not come back on the agreed day. Ask her to let you know ahead of time if there is a family emergency so you can plan ahead.”

“Have a Plan B and a Plan C. Plan B may be to have family on standby to take care of your child while you go to work. Plan C may be to take a day off work or ask husband to do so.”

“We have to teach yayas the value of commitment and integrity, and if they don’t honor their word, they may not have a place in your household. Also think about how many times you can tolerate this behavior and communicate with your yaya that this will be grounds for termination if it happens again.”

Issue #2: Your yaya has become such good friends with your neighbor’s yaya that she starts falling behind on her chores because she spends way too much time with her. What should you do?

Candice says: “Yayas are usually away from their families and their “normal” life, especially if they live in with you, so having friends is good for their emotional development. However, having a social life shouldn’t get in the way of her job. If you observe this behavior, sit down with your yaya and tell her how you feel about the situation. If possible, list down the chores that have been forgotten and point them out to her. Emphasize that it is not wrong to make friends, but friends should help her become a better person, and not get in the way of her job. After the talk, refresh yaya’s memory and come up with a checklist of daily duties that you can revisit again after a month or so. Commend her if she has improved, and remind her to try harder if it does not happen.”

“This is the same when yaya is so preoccupied with texting friends all the time. Remind her that you are giving her your complete trust and she is giving utmost care to your child, and any distractions like these may affect her job performance.”

Issue #3: Your unmarried yaya is pregnant. What do you do?

Candice says: “When this happens, talk to your partner about how financially capable you are in helping your yaya. You and your partner should agree on this so you are on the same page.”

“Then, I think it is best to have a heart to heart talk with yaya. If your yaya is worth it, and you don’t want to lose her, help her go through with it. Who is the father? Has she told her parents? How does she feel about the pregnancy? Does she want to continue working? What does she want to do with the baby after she has given birth? I think we should remember that yayas are a part of our lives when we decide to entrust our children with them, so their life becomes a part of ours too.”

“After that talk, check the status of her pregnancy. Take her to the doctor, and make sure she and the baby are safe, and she can continue to work. Teach her how to be responsible for herself and her baby. Make sure she knows proper nutrition and is taking pregnancy medication. After helping her know the status of her pregnancy, make a plan. If she wants to continue working, plan on having her work until a certain period when she has to take a maternity leave. If yaya is paying SSS contributions, and has been with you for more than 6 months, take a look at what the Labor Code of the Philippines under Article 133 (a) says about this: Every employer shall grant to any pregnant woman employee who has rendered an aggregate service of at least six months for the last twelve months, maternity leave of at least two weeks prior to the expected date of delivery and another four weeks after normal delivery or abortion, with full pay based on her regular or average weekly wages.”

“From the above provision, a qualified pregnant woman employee shall be entitled maternity leave of at least two weeks prior to expected date of delivery and another four weeks after normal delivery or abortion. That’s a total of six weeks maternity leave.”

“Plan for her replacement when she goes on maternity leave. If yaya wants to go home and quit her job, let her go. It may be a blessing for you not to handle the stresses of having a pregnant yaya to take care of, aside from handling your own household.”

Issue #4: Your yaya dreams of finishing high school. How do you help her achieve her dream?

Candice says: “There are a couple of schools with adult education leading to an elementary or high school diploma. It is stated in the Kasambahay Law that employers should financially help their kasambahays finish basic education. Here are some schools with the relevant programs: * Miriam College Adult Education;; * La Salle Greenhills Night School; 721-2000 local 121 * Foundation for Professional Training; * St. Scholastica’s Night Secondary School; 567-7686 local 389

Issue #5: Your yaya watches way too much child-inappropriate TV shows when you’re not around, so much so that your child has started asking you about stuff which she’s not supposed to know yet. How do you address this issue? Candice says: “Again, I think it is important to lay ground rules in the workplace. Teach your yaya to act “professional” in your home, and clearly state that the television is not allowed to be turned on during the day. She can maybe watch her show when the child is taking a nap, with reasonable limits or at night, when she is resting. Have a talk with her about the effects of inappropriate media to children, and even conversations with other adults in the presence of kids. Talk to your child too, if your child has the facility of language to understand already, that not all they see and hear from adults are right or they should copy it.”

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