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This article was published 11/7/2012 (2649 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Polished, a local cleaning company owned and operated by two East Kildonan women, is changing the perceptions of the cleaning industry for both cleaners and clients.
I met with entrepreneur Angela Howie at one of her job sites where, along with business partner Ande Adair, she was leading a team that was cleaning a recently constructed restaurant.
Howie was decked out in a hard hat, steel-toes boots and a shirt with a teal Polished logo on it as she toured the site.
"Since Ande and I started this company four years ago we’re often right in there, putting in the sweat equity" Howie said. "It is important for our employees to know we will help them out and we are willing to work with them."
This work ethic may be unique to management teams, but what really separates Polished from competing companies is its employees’ wages.
"We have a lot of single mothers working for us and we know they can’t make it on minimum wage so we pay them significantly higher. We also schedule our staff to ensure their daycare hours are minimized," Howie said. "By helping with flexible shifts and training we are able to help parents go to that school play or to see their kid’s soccer games."
The choice to create a living wage policy was based on Winnipeg Harvest’s adequate living level report that outlines the disparity between the minimum wage and the cost of raising a family.
According to Harvest’s A More Inclusive and Generous Canada: The 2012 A.L.L., a single parent with two children requires $38,152 a year to live an adequate life and a minimum wage worker with government benefits included could only earn $29,310 per annum.
The owners of Polished say it wasn’t the results of the study that prompted them to offer a living wage, but rather personal feelings.
"There is absolutely a difference in the way we feel knowing that our employees are making enough money to live and because they know we care about them, and we want to treat them fairly," Howie said, adding she hopes her customers will feel the same way.
Polished specializes in household management, appealing to individuals who would like to have more time to be with their families after the work day is over.
"I think it is really important that people find balance and are comfortable with hiring our company to provide services, so that they can enjoy life. We do end-to-end housework including cooking, cleaning, laundry and pick-ups like dry cleaning." Howie said.
"We are eco-friendly and are socially conscience. We use local products when we can, and tea-tree oil based products allow our staff to not have to wear gloves."
More information on Polished is available on the company’s website at www.polishedclean.com.
Evan Comstock is a community correspondent for East Kildonan. He can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
East Kildonan community correspondent
Evan Comstock is a community correspondent for East Kildonan.