I hired a lady several months ago to do some cleaning, organizing, and personal assistant type work for me. It's been working out all right. She was promised just 4 hours of work per week, but she's more than happy to work more hours, so it's fluctuated. For the past week and a half, we've had her coming every week day for 3-4 hours. Now, primarily she does cleaning, but she also runs some errands for me.
Today something happened that kind of put a bad taste in my mouth.
We're renting the front of our home again, and last week this lady offered to put an ad online for me, from her house. So she did, sometime at the end of last week. Honestly, I think the ad is terrible. It doesn't highlight features of the home, and it abbreviates too many words (which means it won't come up in searches), and she only posted it on Craigslist, which would be perfect, except that here in Utah people all use KSL, not Craigslist. Of course, I have gotten absolutely no response from the ad. Jeff says her ad is okay. It's better than nothing, and I've been too busy to spend time on that, he says. Well, that's fine.
Today, she asked me something to the extent of how did I want to handle payment for her placing ads. "Oh," I said. "Right. How much time did you spend on it?" "About fifteen minutes. Because it was the first time, and I had to download pictures." "Oh. Hm. Okay."
Now, here's the thing. I absolutely do not expect this lady to spend a second of her time working for free. I have every expectation that she will be paid for every bit of time that she spends working for us. That's only fair.
Really, though, I kind of thought that I had already paid her for her time that she spent on the ad. See, she comes late almost every time she works, and then she frequently leaves a little early, too. So I thought maybe she left early and completed her shift at home the day that she placed the ad. I didn't clarify that with her, though, so maybe I should have.
Here's the thing: I pay this lady cash every day that she comes to work for us. It's a pain, and it seems nit-picky to reduce her pay when she works 10-15 minutes less than her scheduled work time. What is 10-15 minutes if she's been working for 3-5 hours? Plus, we don't have a time clock in our house, so I don't want to accidentally round her time down just because I wasn't paying close attention to the time when she arrived or left. So I just round up. To be nice.
There have been a few times lately where I've invited her to eat lunch with me. On the clock. Just to be nice.
And, she's kind of a slow worker. We think we're over-paying her, by at least a couple dollars an hour. It seemed worthwhile when she was helping organize, but now she's not doing organization, and sometimes we wonder what's taking her so long to get things done.
We also reimburse her mileage when she runs errands, at .50/mile. It is obvious to me that she rounds these figures up. For instance, today she drove out to one of the properties I manage to drop some papers off, and she told me it was 35 miles. Google Maps says her drive was 23 miles, round trip. That's an extra $6 right there.
So...today I wasn't really sure what to do. The amount of payment in question is only $3. When she left today, she she was short on her time even today by 10 minutes. So I paid her the rounded-up amount for her hours today, and decided I would just think about what to do.
Here are my thoughts:
1. I should pay her the $3, I guess, since obviously she doesn't feel like she has been compensated for that time.
2. I should keep track of the time that she works, to the minute, and if it means she's getting loose change instead of dollars, well, that's what she earned.
3. Google Maps will be our authority for determining mileage.
4. If I feel like inviting her to eat lunch with me, I will, but I probably won't really feel like it.
Do I really need to be so militant about all this? It seems a little ridiculous. But still, really, she knows she comes late. (She apologizes when she does.) So, why would she make a big deal about a few minutes of work that she did from home, at her own suggestion?
I don't know.
What do you think, readers? What is the right thing to do? What would a good, fair employer do?