How to curb your kasambahay's chronic cash advances

How To Curb Your Kasambahay’s Chronic Cash Advances

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.Come and share your master’s happiness!’  – Matthew 25:21

One of the downsides of being generous is that people may try to take advantage of you. But if you obey God, the Holy Spirit will move you and let you know when you should give and when you shouldn’t.

My husband and I hired a yaya who managed to accumulate Php 11,000+ cash advances from us within her first three months. As far as I remember, they weren’t for solid emergencies. And it happened during a time when I left my job and was recovering from maternity expenses. Every pay day, she had something to request for. Most were for her baby and spouse, which we couldn’t refuse in light of God’s concern for family stability. So we kept supporting her plea until we came to a pause.

We felt in our bones to scrutinize her next request, which she said was for her husband’s medicines. Later on, we found out that it’s actually for their usual household spending. We delved into the matter and figured that her husband was practically mismanaging her remittances. So because of this and the inaccuracy of her words, we refused her.

We explained our stand and it went along this context: That we, as employers, also practice waiting for our next payday to buy the things we need or want. Of course, emergencies are a different story. But as much as possible, we like to discipline ourselves. And that we want to help her by ingraining this as well into her living. We shared the Scripture and what it says on managing income.

But, she didn’t seem to be interested in our faith and philosophy on finances. She reproofed saying that she would just turn to our 90-year old grandmother (her previous employer) as a recourse because she said (almost starting with: Unlike us…) she’s never refused her borrowing. She threatened to resign from us to work for our grandmother again. And stressed that cash advances should be an entitlement; that it is a way of life for her. She added further that payday lending is inevitable for helpers, in general.

That earful was, for me, deplorable.

 

I didn’t think twice letting her go, even though she was good in her job. I didn’t think we can live with someone with mismatched credence and stubbornness. We knew her inflated sense of self would just create dispute and disrupt values we want to uphold in our family in the future.

“Don’t you know that a little yeast works its way through the whole batch of dough?” “Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch…” – Galatians 5:9

Even though it was easy for us to cut her stint due to her arguments, it left us doubting our walk as Christians and asking for discernment if we were actually growing greedy.

But with prayers and some prudent reflection, the Lord impressed on us that she didn’t need fish, she needed to LEARN how to fish.

Sadly, most house helpers today are imbibing a culture of dependency, with ever-more house employers condoning cash advances as cure to monetary problems. Instead of edifying financial stewardship.

We tend to give in to payday lending for the wrong reasons. We doubt ourselves into being greedy. Or, we use it as an obscure bribe for our helpers to stay with us. Sometimes, we think it’s still about generosity. But, truth is we entrap them more with poverty, and they get stuck.

“The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” – Proverbs 22:7

It might help to establish strict rules on income and cash advancements at least for their first year. That way, you ingrain it in their system to save, to control spending and to entrust their needs to God. Then loosen the rules when they have already acquired the habit.

Provide more meaningful benefits as well.
My husband and I included the following in our helper‘s salary package:

  • Option to open savings account, from where we’ll deposit 500 of her salary each month.
  • Loan and subsidy for income generating, educational and emergency purposes.
  • Internet tutorial, Smart phone, and data capable SIM for her and her family back home. So she can Skype and see her family whenever she wants and needs to
  • Trainings and seminars to further her knowledge and skills

These, we believe, would be more beneficial for them in the long run. We make sure we don’t just throw unto them fish when they’re hungry, but we impart something more enduring, something that would sustain them for a lifetime.

Also, it took a while before I learned this but if your helper or anyone asks you for something that could harm your own financial health, deny that request in a loving way. The Bible calls us to be good stewards of our resources, as well as to take care of our family and provide for their needs first.

“But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” – 1 Timonthy 5:8

Often, the helpers that appreciate our set benefits and rules are those whom we give our hand to but don’t take our whole arm. They are content and avoid coveting. They are not stubborn. They are free from financial problems because they seek counsel with a humble heart. And when we share God’s word, they truly use it for their benefit.

As employers, mothers and CFOs of our homes, I believe God has graciously given us a responsibility to share His perspective of money to our kasambahays. I pray that we both excel in it.

Let’s be generous in discipling, helping them to get out of debt, budget, and work as unto the Lord and become a faithful steward.

I hope my advice helped you! I’d love to hear if you’ve dealt with similar problem and used some other solution to stop payday lending. Let me know in the comments!

Here’s the rest of my 5-part Yaya blog series, which you might also find helpful!

Proverbs 31 Woman: SHepherding the virtuous woman's heart

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