I’ve wanted to write this post for a long time. I’ve been thinking so much about the Nanny and Domestic worker ‘culture’ in our country and how, unlike the majority of the rest of the world we have these amazing women helping us run our homes and look after our children. I have spent many moments pondering the fact that the majority of these women have sacrificed so much as they dedicate their lives to help raising our children, very often leaving theirs at home. Some make sacrifices like moving provinces, some make sacrifices to live-in. Some make sacrifices to work over-time for parents who can’t get home by 5pm and some make scarifies to travel miles to get to our homes each and every day. And by some I mean most.
And I’ve spent so much time lately thinking about how blessed I am to have our wonderful Chido in our lives. Not a day goes by when she is with us that I don’t feel overwhelmed with gratitude for what she does for us. I mean, this woman is is pure gold, an angel that walks the earth!! Truth is I know that she deserves so much more and has so much more to offer the world. I hope that in time we can look at helping her grow in her skills and eventually do something she is passionate about. (Although if you saw her with my kids you would think that they were her ultimate passion!)
Chido has only worked for us for just over a year, but I feel like she has been part of our family forever! She started working for us when I was 7 months pregnant with Hunter and I will never forget collecting her from the station for her first day. I was in that neurotic nesting mode, panicking that I hadn’t got anything ready for the baby. By the time we arrived home, I was walking around the house almost hyperventilating telling her about everything I needed to get done in a mere 6 weeks. She looked at me, held me by the arms and told me “It’s going to be fine. Sit down, you need to breathe.” She made me tea and we talked for a while about herself and how our previous nanny had to leave and it was in that moment that I realised how special she was and just how much of a support she was going to be to me. To our family.
And that’s exactly what she has been to us everyday since then. She has loved me and my kids on a level I never expected. In a way family love each other. Chido would do anything for my children and is the most loving caregiver to Hunter. In the times when I’m overwhelmed and not coping she is one my greatest sources of comfort and I honestly don’t know what I would do without her. When my kids get too much for me she will tell me to go have a cup of tea, to sit down and breathe. She proceeds to handle the situation with ease. She is calm and gentle with both my children and me, something I crave in the chaos of life with three kids. There is no job too big or small for her and she does everything with a happy heart, a smile on her face.
I often feel like our relationship can seem very one-sided. I mean I know we are employing her to provide a service, but she does so much more than that for us. It’s no ordinary working relationship when someone is in your home space looking after your most precious possessions, your kids! Chido is such a integral part of our family and we love her as a dear friend. And as much as we always try to give her little extras and spoil her when we can I have felt stirred to try and do more for her. We help with things like school registration and stationary for her daughter and always give her our old appliances and things she needs for her home but I have been wanting to do something more permanent by way of looking after her future.
(*I also have to add that for those asking the question “What’s the bare minimum I can pay my nanny?” Well, best you start digging into your pockets a little deeper because exploitation is something to be ashamed of. I cannot handle the discussion on the Facebook groups where moms ask what minimum wage is. Crikey have you guys seen what minimum wage is?! It’s a disgrace! Start thinking more along the lines of “what MORE can I do and what’s the MOST I can afford?”)
I was recently made aware of an awesome company called Simply and by reading through all their offerings and what they aim to achieve, I think I’ve found what we are looking for! We got our previous domestic on something similar many years ago and it really stood her and her family in good stead in the long run because she ended up getting really ill and couldn’t work.
Who are Simply?
Formally launched just over a year ago, Simply’s mission is “to secure the financial futures of millions of people” by ensuring they get great value life, disability and funeral insurance.
Up to R10-billion of life insurance premium is written annually in South Africa. Unfortunately, cover in the mass market is skewed towards funeral and credit life cover and churn is high. Many adults have more than one funeral policy, but no life or disability cover. By targeting employers of domestic workers with a simple, online, well priced solution, Simply aims to change the picture.
HERE ARE THE STATISTICS AND THE FACTS
According to Stats SA’s latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey, more than 6% of working South Africans are employed as Domestic Workers, and more people are employed in private households than in the mining and agriculture sectors combined. If dependents of these workers are included, then as many as four to five million people are supported by this industry.However, up until recently the average South African domestic worker has struggled to access simple, good value life insurance. While there are a number of insurance companies targeting low income customers, the products tend to be expensive and often limited to funeral cover only.Given the financial challenges many domestic workers face, they also often struggle to keep up with payments, so in many cases their cover lapses and isn’t in place when its needed.By using technology and an innovative operating model, Simply products are able to deliver greatvalue. For example, a 30-year-old woman earning R4 500 a month gets R100 000 life cover, R150 000 disability cover and R15 000 family funeral cover (which covers the insured person, the spouse and up to five children) for R92 per month.
We have decided that not only as her employers who owe it to her to do the bear minimum, but as her friends who love her and want to look after her and her family (should anything happen to her) to sign her up. We want to know that she is looked after and protected from life’s unpredictability.
The good news is that they also cover registered foreign nationals, which is amazing considering she is Malawian and their are many foreigners residing in South Africa and looking after our children.
Does his sound like something you would consider doing for your nanny? If so, you can hop on over to their website and follow the easy steps to sign them up!! Signing up is simple. The entire online process takes less than ten minutes and requires the individual to fill in some personal details and answer three health-related questions. Should they qualify, cover is immediate.
Besides this there are other ways we are investigating in helping her. Can any of you share how you try to help your nannies and domestic workers beyond their basic salary?
This post was written in collaboration with Simply. An authorised financial services provider.