Kirsten Somero / Equinox Staff

The past few months have caused people of all ages to be faced with financial difficulties, social isolation and lack of motivation. Many people are finding new or strengthening pre-existing values in family, meditation and creativity. Others are not able to find the motivation needed to continue a comfortable lifestyle. One large group impacted during this pandemic is labor workers; more specifically, house cleaners. 

Many independent house cleaners of all genders and races have lost their clients due to the pandemic. Whether it be the fear of bringing an outsider into their home, lack of financial stability or the idea that these homeowners are already stuck at home during quarantine—meaning they can clean their own house. This means that a complete work sector is unable to bring in any income. This may not be completely crippling if the one at a loss is not the main bread-winner, but for one-parent homes or low-income households, this can be devastating.

Merry Maids, an organization centered around house cleaning and safety, is not ceasing operations. Its COVID-19 webpage section explains the company’s mission statement and purpose. It simply states that if a customer (or housemate) is having ill-symptoms to call and reschedule an appointment. That way, people are still able to work and there is an extra line of caution between employee and customer. Many independent cleaners are also keeping similar contracts open to any client willing to work with them.

I believe there are easier ways to keep these families and workers safe and able to have some kind of livable income during these hard times for our modern society. One solution given by an opinion article The New York Times posted is to continue paying your house cleaner. I personally don’t believe every worker can or will be paid a full week’s wage, since they are not all going to appointments. I do believe, however, that many, if not all, homeowners can pay partial wages to those who formerly cleaned their houses.

Another idea that could be utilized is offering janitorial positions to those who are the main bread-winners. These positions could be for local hospitals or other offices that are still running and need to be cleaned and sanitized thoroughly. To go along with this idea, cleaning agencies or corporations alike can offer part-time work to these independent workers. Why do I think these larger companies should reach out to these pseudo-independent contractors that are struggling? There have been many articles showing a huge increase in outside cleaning services for larger companies or those sent to the cruise ships, along with home-cleaning products. Recent data is being shown that cleaning products are being mass produced, shipped and bought at incredibly high rates. At the same time, while the average home is now stocked with cleaning materials, some products are only being kept available for cleaning services and hospitals. This means the independent contractors may not even be able to get materials needed to work, diminishing any hope for house cleaning in the near future. If a larger cleaning company such as National Response Corporation (NRC) were to adopt these workers-in-need then they would not be impacted  harshly with our economy in danger of failure already.


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