Need to Hire Housemaid? Here is how to do it
Need to hire a housemaid? Feeling stressed out? Relax as you are not alone. Hiring housemaids is way more complicated than hiring for say an office. The reason is that you allow this helper to enter your home, and be in contact with your loved ones. So, the process should involve some mandatory checks. Read on to get some Help from
experienced team who has been helping people hire ABCDE: Aya, Bai, Cook, Driver & Everyone similar, for the last 5 years.
Create a Job Profile or JD
The first step to hiring should be creating a job profile and job description of the housemaid or other ABCDE. You may ask why. Let me explain: Have a job description or a JD can help you get clarity about many things. Some of these are:
- What do you want the Helper to do. Depending on this:
- What will be a time the helper will be needed for
- What would be the ideal age of a person for the job
- Can you look at the male as well as female applicants
- What could be the salary outgo expected
Prepare for the interview
Prepare for the interview to make sure the Helper can fulfill the JD requirements. For this, list the questions you may want to ask, tasks you may want a trial to be taken for, etc.
The following could be a starting list for tasks a person may be required to fulfill:
- Look after daily cleaning tasks including mopping, dusting, sweeping
- Do kitchen cleaning and washing dishes and utensils
- Cleaning, drying, folding ironing clothes
- Making beds and cleaning cupboards
- Cooking food, including special cuisine
- Shopping for grocery etc
- Taking care of kids and elders
- Dropping off and picking up kids from school, taking them to the
playground, helping them with homework
Once you have written down all the tasks you want the maid to do, it
will help you arrive at many things, including the time for which you
need to hire the maid and the salary you are ready to offer.
That brings me to the next part of hiring a domestic maid: kinds of
maids available as per work timings.
What are the best work timings for a housemaid
You may hire a housemaid for a few hours (part time), for full-day (from morning to evening) or for 24 hrs or live-in work.
Part-time maids in a metro typically charge around Rs. 800-1000 per
month for an hours work daily. So, if she works for 2 hours, she will
expect approx. 2,000 monthly salary. This is based on data analysis by Helper4U over the past 5 years.
Full-time maids will primarily work for 8-10 hours. Sometimes employers try to get a housemaid/cook/nanny for 12 hrs. But, just like us, no one can continuously work productively for 12 hrs, unless there are some rest periods in between. So, rather than trying to extend the time, see how you can help the domestic helper manage her work in 8 hrs. in a productive way. Full day maids typically charge between Rs. 8,000 to 12,000. You should ideally also provide them meals and a private space to rest.
Live-in maids will live at your home but will obviously work between some set hours. You cannot expect her to be on call 24 hrs a day. Charges of this kind of maid vary from 12,000 to 25,000. Salary increases depending upon the capability to speak a language, typically English or your mother tongue, cook as per your cuisine, experience, ability to handle a home independently and so on.
What will be the ideal work timings of the housemaid actually depend on your requirement. Again, the job description and task list above will help you in deciding.
Ways to hire Full-time or Part-time housemaids
One of the common ways to hire housemaids in India is to hire one from a reference. People generally ask your neighbor, close friends and family to refer someone they know personally.
The reason for this is that trust in our mind is of the highest importance when hiring housemaids and we feel hiring from references makes the candidate safe. But, today this is not really true. No one will take responsibility if something untoward happens with you, involving your house help. We have to ourselves take all the responsibility for our safety and teh safety of our loved ones.
Your thinking should be “After all it is “my Family” who will be impacted, so I should take all steps to stay safe.” Getting checks done on your house help is very easy now. Just fill up an online form on a portal like Helper4U.in and they will do the Criminal background check, Address Check through a visit to the home of Helper or the the document check. A very small fees ranging form Rs. 49 to Rs. 1000 is charged to help you get the required trust in your employee. You can also check this blog for Advantages of Verification.
Another issue with asking a security guard or a driver etc for reference is that as soon as they get to know of an available opportunity they can become a middleman, and ask the Maids for some financial or physical favors. This was the reason Helper4U was started: Maids told us that security guards send them to homes where a job is available in return for Rs. 500 or/and sitting in a corner with them for half an hour. So, avoid this if possible and you will be doing a big contribution in preventing exploitation of women. Use an online portal like Helper4U.in, which has an updated database, pictures of Helpers, verified documents of Helpers, and can be used easily on mobile, allowing you to call Helpers whenever the need arises. What is more, Helper4U allows you to contact Part-time Helpers totally FREE.
Another way people hire is through a local agency. This is usually when you want to hire a full day or live-in helper because the charges of the agency are high. Most charge at least one-month salary (vs. apprx. Rs. 1000 only charged by online portals), usually for an 11-month contract. Some also charge a registration fee, which equals another Rs. 10000-20,000. An advantage of using a good Agency is the options you get to choose a maid as per your needs vs just one or two that you get through a reference from your neighbor etc. You can find agencies in daily newspapers or even online.
Before contacting any agency, think whether you are ready for that kind of investment, or would you rather hire from somewhere else and pay this amount to
the Maid herself. Also, check the registration of the agency since there are many flies by night operators in this field.
Two recent cases in the newspapers highlighting the untrustworthy nature of agencies can be checked out here:
The latest trend in hiring maids, cooks, nannies, drivers, etc is using an online database platform which replicates what Naukri.com does for educated job seekers like you and me: If I need a job, I will register on Naukri.com and employers or HR department of companies will call me. All it charges is a subscription fee to teh employer. Similarly ABCDE: Aya, Bai, Cook, Driver and everyone similar registers on online portals like Helper4U and employers can call them directly in return for a very nominal subscription fees.
Advantages of using such platforms are many:
- Only a one-time subscription charge in the range of Rs. 1,000
- No need to enter into a 11 month contract
- Verified candidates
- No middleman so minimal chances of exploitation of Helpers
- All negotiations between you and Helper and hiring when you want, on your terms.
- Look at the profile details, choose from vast available pool using filters like you would use for shopping, before you contact anyone.
- Many portals also allow for replacement credits if the Helper leaves you
Do a trial run
Before confirming any hiring, check whether the housemaid you are evaluating can do the jobs you want her to do as you want her to do. Will she wash clothes by hand if needed, will she come at the time you need her, can she do dusting as needed, etc.
Also, if she is lacking something, is that trainable? For example, if she chops vegetables in a way different than what you want, you may be able to train her, but if she talks very loudly, you may not be able to change that fast enough. A good practice is to pay for the trail in case you are not hiring the maid.
Check her basic grooming & hygiene
You do not want an unclean person in your home. It is not about costly clothes but about clean clothes and basic hygiene
Do not hire if the candidate chews tobacco, spits or throws garbage
outside the window or behind furniture during the trial. Simply reject them.
Also, check if she is wearing clean clothes and the nails are not too
long (especially for a cooking and nanny job) during an interview. If someone does not well-groomed during the interview, they will not be groomed well later.
Think of time management & punctuality
If the maid did not come in time for an interview without any specific reason, you may want to think about hiring her. If she is late for the interview chances are she will be late for work too. Question her about it and make it clear how important it is for you. If you have a job, or your family has to leave with a lunch box which has to be prepared by the maid then punctuality is of utmost importance. If you stay at home, then you may be more lenient with it. You have to decide where in your list of preferences punctuality is.
Check for any major illness
It’s important to check for any chronic illness, especially Tuberculosis. This is a communicable disease, and prevalent among slum dwellers. And, it is easy to test and easy to cure.
Many employers pay for a basic health checkup of their Helpers because after all the health of their family is at stake. And, as a by-product, your Helper will be grateful that you got her test done.
You don’t want to end up hiring someone to help you if she herself is not fully fit. Moreover If she has some sort of chronic illness, then it may not be appropriate to employ her and make her work. So, check about this, and get a test in place.
Discuss Salary & Leaves in detail
Usually, domestic Helpers are paid an annual bonus, either on completion of a year or on a major festival (Id for Muslims, Diwali for Hindus and so on). This usually a full month salary. So clearly talk about this with the maid or agency before hiring.
Apart from the annual bonus, you may have to provide them with food, clothes, toiletries, etc, especially if they are living in maids. Confirm all this before hiring.
Similarly, 2 days’ leave per month is a norm, along with leaves for major festivals. Additionally, the Helper will need some longer duration to leave once a year. This period can be during summers (when kids have vacation and everyone goes to their village), festivals (when they have guests or they go home to be with their family) or harvest time (especially for male helpers as they work as extra hands on the farms). While you should not refuse this leave, talk about it in advance. And you can even ask her to provide you a replacement when s/he goes on leave. You will obviously need to pay the replacement, but your work will get done, by a person for who is known to your current Helper.
Understand why you want to hire maid, choose your mode of hiring, interview well, check for hygiene, negotiate salary and timings in advance.
Next steps in the hiring of domestic helpers:
Once everything is discussed, do not forget to put it in a written contract and share a copy with your Maid, Cook, Driver or Nanny. Our employers have confirmed that a written contract works better than an oral one, and comes handy in case of any argument. The contract should have everything you have discussed regarding JD, leaves, salaries etc. It is a simple document and need not be complicated. Check this blog for how to close the hiring with a proper contract. You may also download a blank contract copy on the same blog.