My PA refuses to stack the dishwasher. So who does it?

Dear Aunty B,


We have a new PA because our last one, a lovely lady, retired after many years of excellent service to our consultancy.

My new PA is a young lass and has very set views about people’s roles. Our office is tidy and the staff are good at keeping the kitchen clean, but we have a lot of clients and customers come through who do have drinks and the occasional meal.

I assumed (wrongly as it seems) that she would clean up and stack the dishwasher like her predecessor. But she says it is not her job and that in her last office, clients often walked into the kitchen and put their dishes in the dishwasher themselves!

Is this right? I can’t imagine our clients (which are usually businessmen from large corporates) stacking the dishwasher. If she doesn’t do it, who will?

Blackburn, Victoria


Dear Len,

Rubbish. I don’t believe her. I have never met a client yet who would walk into a kitchen and put their dishes in the dishwasher. Maybe she was working in a home-based business and the client meeting was held in the kitchen.

As for who is responsible? Whoever you want to make responsible. You’re the boss, mate.

However you might want to take this into consideration. The role of PAs have changed. I am sure that you are paying more for that position comparatively than you were 30 years ago. PAs do have high level skills. Is there someone else more junior who can stack the dishwasher? Can the cleaner be paid more to do it at the end of the day?


If not, pull new-PA aside, apologise and tell her you forgot to include it in her job description as you made the assumption – wrongly – that she would do it.

As it was your mistake not to include it in her list of jobs, maybe you could add an inducement –let her do the school pick-p once a week that she asked about.

One thing though. If she doesn’t respond in a co-operative manner and is uppity, you may have trouble down the track. After all, it is all hands on deck in business.

Good luck,

Your Aunty B.



Chris Gallagher writes: I agree with your reply in regards to the above question but surely that part of her job (if deemed so) comes under “and other duties as required”. I also agree with the problems he is encountering now, pull her in now or you will have problems later. If she doesn’t like it, let her leave.

Aunty B - Your problems answered by SmartCompany's business bitch

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