Involve the old housekeeping dilemma

Involve the old housekeeping dilemma
In order to find a good nanny for the elderly, Lin Chao (pseudonym), who lives in Chongqing, has changed four nanny in more than one year, which makes him very upset.

At the end of 2018, Lin’s wife gave birth to twins, and Lin’s mother moved in to help take care of the children. He plans to hire a nanny for his mother and “help out” the elderly. “The first nurse stayed a few months and quit; The second did not stay for a few days suddenly left pick son walk. The third nanny was not very diligent and ordered my mother to work.” Lin Chao said he managed to find a fourth nanny on the platform before the Spring Festival, but had trouble refunding the fee.

Lin’s experience of hiring nannies for the elderly is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to elderly housekeeping. At present, the aging trend of China’s population is increasingly intensified. With the growth of age, the physiological function of the elderly is weakened, the civil capacity of the elderly is reduced, and the risk of their rights and interests being infringed is increased.

As Beijing News reporters found during a recent visit to the domestic market, finding nannies for the elderly is a real struggle. The old man up at night, speak harshly, the nanny at every turn down the pick; Nannies are quick to “quit” (meaning quit) and find a new employer at the first sign of a “high price”. At the same time, the housekeeping company “can change the nanny, but do not refund the service fee” regulation makes consumers, especially the elderly consumers difficult to accept. Some nannies fail to give full care to the disabled or semi-disabled elderly, and may even cause injury to the elderly. Moreover, the home management platform can only give suggestions of “installing cameras in the home” but lacks specific measures to regulate the nannies.

The lawyer pointed out clearly to the Beijing News reporter that the housekeeping company “can change the nanny, but can not refund the agency fee” has constituted the overlord clause. For the installation of monitoring equipment at home, the elderly and the nanny should be informed in advance, and personal privacy should also be considered. At the same time, the rights and obligations of the contract should be clearly agreed, and the nanny’s job responsibilities and service standards should be detailed.

Lack of contract spirit, nannies see “high price” just leave

Lin Chao’s experience is not unique. Beijing resident Zheng Zhen (pseudonym), whose parents are in their late 80s, has had her nanny on her agenda since her father fractured his bone in an accident in early 2019. But for nearly a year, Zheng failed to find a suitable nanny. “The people recommended by the company worked for a few days, but they said they were too tired and quit. Almost everyone refuses to take care of bedridden elderly people, even if they are offered a salary above the market price.”

On March 7, a Beijing News reporter searched for the keyword “nanny” on the Black Cat complaints platform, and there were 293 related complaints. Most of the complaints are from domestic companies, many of which involve finding nannies for the elderly. A netizen complained at the beginning of this year that on November 23 last year, he found a live-in nanny to take care of an 80-year-old man living alone with a broken bone. The nanny kept complaining about the low salary and quarreled with the old man many times. During that time, he even worked part-time for four hours a week in other homes. After the nanny left, the housekeeping company did not match a suitable nanny.

On the Black Cat complaint platform and Dianping, there are many discussions about the lack of contract spirit and the quick departure of the nanny. “The first nanny quit after a week on the job; The second nanny disrelish my house out of the subway entrance road far off hand not to do it; The third nanny often asked for leave; The fourth nanny worked for two days before leaving the office citing a contractual disagreement with the swan.” One user’s complaint struck a chord.

According to the complaints received by the National Consumer Association in 2020, the total number of complaints about homemakers and homemakers totaled more than 4,000, and most of the complaints were about contracts, which mainly involved problems such as unclear contents of contracts, service delays in homemakers, and sudden departure of homemakers due to their own reasons.

According to a Beijing News reporter, the nanny left at once, partly because she was dissatisfied with her former employer’s family work, and partly because other employers offered high prices. There are also “WeChats” in the nanny circle, who share ideas about who works well and who gets paid well.

Sister Li, a 49-year-old nanny, admitted that she had indeed “walked away”. Sister Li has worked as a nanny in Beijing for five years. During these two years, she has taken care of three families of elderly people, including those who are able to take care of themselves, those who are semi-independent and those who are not at all. One of the elderly has diabetes and frequent urination. “At night, I often just put the urinal out, but I have to get up and pour it out in less than 20 minutes. When I was 3 months old, I couldn’t stand it and quit. Recently the family was 90 years old, and I couldn’t go to sleep all night. When my father died, I quit. It was only 12 days.” In the home of an elderly couple who had been there for a year, Li’s main job was to accompany them to do rehabilitation training, but she had to quit because of a “high price order”. “This one gave me 6,000 yuan, and then another one gave me 7,000 yuan. Besides, the old man has a very good temper.”

“Once the company finds out, the nannies will be blacklisted,” an agent from Swan Home told the Beijing News.

It is unclear how much nannies can be charged

The Beijing News reporter noted that although there is a fixed market price for household service fees, there is no clear fee standard for each item.

On March 1, at Ainong Home Management, the staff recommended nannies with a monthly salary of 5,000 yuan to 5,500 yuan (medium price level) according to the situation that “there is an 86-year-old man at home suffering from hypertension, diabetes and other diseases”.

Regarding whether there are relevant standards for pricing, whether the charges are linked to the skills and certificates of the nanny, and whether the details of charges related to the skills can be provided, the staff replied that “this is the market price in Beijing”, “there is no such detailed regulation” and “generally we will discuss it when we think it is appropriate”.

Peng Yanjun, a lawyer of Beijing Changhong Law Office, thinks that both sides of the contract should agree clearly on the rights and obligations of the contract, besides clearly agreeing on the time, content and price of the service, the nanny’s job responsibilities and service standards should be detailed, and the relevant breach penalty clauses should be agreed in the contract. That may help boost the nanny’s spirit of contract.

“The nanny can be changed, but the money cannot be refunded,” the company said.

Behind the strong mobility of nannies, homemakers can “change the nannies, but can not return the intermediary service fees” provisions. Moreover, it is not only the intermediary service fee, but also the difficult problem of refund in other links.

Lin was the fourth nanny she found at Swan’s home at the end of December 2020, paying 3,500 yuan for the nanny’s salary and 2,610 yuan for the agency service. After getting used to it for a while, Lin asked the employer to pay her salary directly, so Lin applied to the company for a refund of her salary.

According to staff at Swan Home, the company did allow employers to pay the nannies’ salaries before this year’s Spring Festival, and only later stipulated that the nannies’ salaries had to be paid by the company. Lin Chao’s request at the time was in compliance with the regulations, and the application could be made before the New Year’s Day this year. The money did not arrive until Jan. 14.

“During that time, I contacted them many times, and each time they said they had urged the financial department to refund, and please wait for 3 working days.” Lin complained to 3·15, Black Cat and other platforms, but the money was finally returned more than 20 days later. ‘If it’s an elderly person applying, I’m afraid it won’t work at all,’ Mr. Lin said.

During the contract period, if I do not find a suitable nanny, can I refund the intermediary service fee? A staff member at Swan Home told the Beijing News, “You can get a refund before, for example, if you pay 6,000 yuan for the service, you get a 10% deduction (600 yuan). The remaining 5,400 yuan is divided by 12 months (about 450 yuan per month), and the deduction is based on the actual employment time. This year, within 13 days after signing the contract, the refund of 1,000 yuan intermediary service fee; The service fee will not be refunded after 13 days. It’s company policy.”

A staff member at a Beijing store of Ainong Home Economics said that if a nanny is not satisfied, it can be replaced, and there will be no handling charge if it is longer than a month. “Even if you change one a day, you can change 30 a month, it is impossible not to be satisfied. But if a suitable candidate is not found, the agency fee will not be refunded.”

Lawyer Peng Yanjun believes that the party providing the standard terms unreasonably exempts or reduces its responsibility, aggravates the responsibility of the other party, and restricts the main rights of the other party, which constitutes the overlord clause, and the overlord clause is invalid. “Can change nanny, but cannot withdraw intermediary fee” aggravate the responsibility of the other side namely, limit the overlord clause of the other side main right.

In addition, in the nanny service contract provided by the staff of Swan Home, regarding the item of “contract expiration and termination”, the 2020 version clearly mentioned that the information service fee shall be deducted 10% of the necessary expenses, and the remaining 90% shall be apportion to the service period in proportion and deducted monthly. There is no mention of it in the 2021 version.

In the domestic service contract provided by Swan Home, for the item of “contract expiration and termination”, the 2020 version stipulates that the information service fee will be deducted monthly (the red box). The 2021 version doesn’t mention it. Photo by Beijing News reporter Qin Shengnan

Peng Yanjun believes that the contract clauses are not clear, even if there is an oral statement that “the service fee is not redeemed for more than a few days”, consumers can also go through legal procedures to protect their rights. “If, after the contract has taken effect, such terms as quality, price or remuneration, or place of performance etc. were not prescribed or clearly prescribed, the parties may supplement them through agreement; If no supplementary agreement can be reached, it shall be determined in accordance with the relevant provisions of the contract or trading practices, and may be determined with reference to the general practices and rules of the industry or field. In case of any dispute over the interpretation of standard terms, such terms shall be interpreted in accordance with common understanding. Where there are more than two interpretations of the standard terms, the interpretation shall be unfavorable to the party providing the standard terms, that is, it shall be interpreted in favor of the employer.”