LEGAL WRANGING: Helper deprived of employment benefits


August 12, 2016

After working as a household helper for three years, a 40-year-old woman is complaining that she was told last month by her employer that her services were no longer required.

She said her employer gave her no reason for firing her and all she got was one week's pay.

"I am from the parish of Westmoreland and I was very happy when my cousin called and told me about a woman in Kingston who wanted someone to take care of her two children,"she said.

"I told my cousin I was interested in the job, so on July 7, 2013, I came to Kingston and began working as a household helper. Everything was good and I really felt happy doing the job.

"I did work for my employer and her two young children. I must say my employer and her children really loved me and treated me well. I found no fault with them and they found no fault with me.

"Many times I overheard my employer on the telephone boasting that she had the best helper in the world. She was even bragging that I took a lot of stress off her because I even helped the children with their schoolwork.

"I must say I was very pleased of the way she spoke about me. When I started working with her at first, the children were not going to church and I asked her if the children could come to church with me and she agreed.

"Now things took a different turn last month. My cousin who told me about the job came to visit me on her day-off. She also works as a household helper. I asked her how she managed to get day off from her job.

"She told me that she gets every other weekend off. She also informed me that if she worked on a weekend she gets paid for it and is also paid if she works overtime. She said she also got vacation leave every year.


"I was never given any of those benefits for the three years I had been working. When my employer came home the Monday evening I told her what my cousin said. She got into a rage and said if I think I was getting one more cent, I should not even think about it. She stopped speaking to me from the Monday, and when she came from work the Friday evening she gave me my week's pay, which was the minimum wage. She told me to pack my things and leave.

My cousin advised me to call her and tell her that she owed me money and I called her. She said she had no more money to pay me and even told me that I was ungrateful. Now she no longer accepts my phone calls. Do I have to go to court to get the balance of my money?"

It is a fact that your employer owes you money. You should take the issue to the Ministry of Labour, where you will be advised of your entitlements, and assistance will be given to you to get what is owing to you from your former employer.

The matter could go to court if your employer refuses to pay you.

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