April 23, 2012

Tips for Employing a Maid in India

Tips given by: Pallavi Rao
Edited by: Jennifer Kumar & Chris Sufi

Maid in IndiaEmploying a maid and other household help in India is common. Many Non- Resident Indians (NRIs), including myself, have lived in the West where we had to do all the household chores without any help. However, when we come back to India, we realize most of the people behave as if they live in the
raja saheb days, so maids and other household help becomes a requirement. While having household help can relieve some burden and simplify life, it also becomes increasingly complicated as we add on hired help to the list. We must remember that maids want their own holidays, take planned or unplanned leave for trips to their native place, or to attend to sickness and family concerns. Because of this, retaining maids can be and is a problem for many. To make life a little easier for you, I am sharing tips I have used to hire and coordinate maids in Mumbai, India.

Tips for Hiring Maids and Household Help in India:
  1. Find out the typical rate of pay in your area and pay 10% more if you want to hold on to good help.
  2. Within the first few days of hire, ask your maid to provide a passport size photo, her full name, address and phone number.
  3. Make terms and conditions very clear so that there are no issues later on.
  4. Understand what times of year and holidays are important to them so you are aware when they plan to make trips to their native place.
  5. If the maid wants to take a break for more then seven or eight days ask them to give a substitute at no extra cost.
  6. Hire them through someone you or your family knows. These days a lot of household help is involved in robberies. Never ever get used to them. From time to time work alongside them. This will help you keep those muscles flexed and 'keep in touch 'with how things are done.
  7. Refrain from hiring help from the same family. If both husband and wife work for you, they will take leave around the same time. If you fire one of them for any reason, you are retaining one resenting partner at home.
  8. Be aware of the holidays in your area and always give tips on major holidays like Diwali. A good tip in metros is a whole month’s salary, or something equally valuable. [Only after the help has stayed with you for a year or more.] A tip is also calculated based on the area you live, and what others give. Ask around so you are giving enough and not giving too much.
  9. If your maid is coughing a lot or doesn’t look 'healthy,' do get a routine blood check up done at your own cost.
  10. Schedule your staff/help to come early in the morning or evenings. This frees up your afternoon for your own commitments. For weekend help, ask them to come a bit later in the morning or early afternoon so you can relax.
  11. Avoid discussing personal matters with them or in car when they are present; especially monetary transactions.
  12. Opt for literate help as far as possible.
  13. Salaries mentioned are for experienced literate help over 18 years of age. Refrain from hiring underage kids who are easily available at cheaper pay.
Please use these tips as guidelines for hiring household help. When moving into your new area, do consult with your neighbors about their experiences to get the most up-to-date relevant information. In addition to general tips, there are also some guidelines to consider when hiring particular types of household help. I will discuss them in the next post. Thank you for reading.

Do you have any other tips or guidelines that will be helpful to others in regards to household help in India? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments section below. Don’t forget to add the name of the city you live in along with your tips, for easy reference. Thank you.

raja saheb – Kings who did not do any household chores during their reign.

**Take note that prices quoted in this article will vary based on cost of living in a particular city, neighborhood, area or section of town.

Pallavi Rao, lives in Mumbai and enjoys helping people understand the culture and lifestyle of Mumbai and India. She can be reached at: pallavidrao at yahoo.co.uk.
Chris Sufi is a freelance editor who lives in Bangalore, India. Her personal interest in language and communication inspires her to contribute through proofreading and editing. She can be contacted here.  

photo credit: locket479 @flickr used under creative commons.

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  1. Hi Jenniffer, This is more practical and helpful article. Also one should always get maid through referral when moving in new city. Employing maid without background check can prove dangerous.

  2. Akshaya: Thank you. Also, more thanks goes to Pallavi for submitting this! Your feedback is also very critical. I would agree with your assessment.

  3. Akshaya what you have mentioned is a very important point and in fact police in big metros are encouraging people to register their maid or any other house help with them so that they can perform background check on them and see if they have any criminal record.

  4. Pallavi and others, what is your suggestion for giving a raise to the maid? We have had our maid about one year. She does a great job and good attention to detail. Yes, she can be absent or late, but whenever she shows up, she puts in 110%!

  5. Depends on following factors....
    1) Did you commit to her about the raise before hand? if you have then you must.
    2)has she completed a year or more and has hinted about it?
    3) Do you want to give her raise just because you are happy with her work? in that case you are setting a trend for her of giving bi-yearly raises....and next time she would expect it.
    4) If you do want to reward her for doing something exceptionally well then plz give her some tip which could be cash or a gift and do mention reason.

  6. Question: If I pay 10% more for a good maid, other neighbors will talk and the maid may get irritated or not like the fact I have not raised my rate to her. What would you do?

    Pallavi's answer:
    I have learnt this hard way....as i am fussier then others abt my work....so i pay lil more......maids have fixed routine.....they say we will clean fans once a month/window glasses maybe once a week and other stuff like this ...nahhh doesn't work for me....if my window is unclean i am not going to wait for weekend to get it cleaned.....so if i demand extra work i pay extra.....before i had Shaurya it didn't matter i used to get up and do extra work....now i dont want to waste my energy too much on small cleanings so i get them done....

    Disparity in rates is very common now....lot of Tv stars and movie stars live in our area and there is no way rest of us can match that pay grade and we do understand that these guys have diff requirements from people they employ so gen nobody cribs much abt disparity.....so one gen pays acc to requirements....and trust me if you get that ONE maid who understands your routine and delivers.....you would want to hold on to her by paying extra...such maids are rare and every snigger or complaint by anyone is worth it.

  7. Good tips, Pallavi! You are very insightful.
    My answers:
    1- No. I would be doing it as per #3.
    2 - She has completed one year, but has not hinted about it.
    3 - Interesting!!
    4 - That's a nice idea! Thanks.

  8. I have a maid a maid who comes into my house once every week. She vacuum, dust, wash all the floors and bathrooms. I work a lot as well and to me this was an incredible way to beat some of that stress. Maid Service Georgetown TX

  9. I've read that if the maid should break the contract and walk out with or without just cause, the employer will still have to settle whatever compensation and wages due to her. This is pretty scary. I won't ever hire a maid from India. House Cleaning Newtown, PA

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