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  • Category: Miscellaneous

    Don't our servant maids deserve more?

    In most of our houses, we employ servant maids for household work like cleaning of vessels, washing all our clothes, either with hands or by using the washing machine, sweeping and swamping the floor and, in some cases, getting our child safely dropped at school.

    For all this, and more, even in metro cities like Chennai, he going rate is around Rs.3500/- per month, at 2018 prices. In small towns, it is anywhere between Rs.1000 to Rs.1500/.

    The vital question is: don't they deserve far better wages, when we all fight for increased DA and Pension and all that? Servant maids have no PF and no social security at all. The Central Government has this accident insurance scheme, but most of them are not even aware of it.

    Yes, we give them some food, coffee and our old clothes. We also give them an yearly bonus.

    How about a minimum wage of Rs.5000 in Chennai, and Rs.8000 in Mumbai/New Delhi? And a minimum of Rs.2000 in all other places? Look at at this way. They are hungry, they are depressed. They sometimes steal. They do impose conditions. But not all of them. There are good servants who take on household work, as if it were their own work.

    Members, your take on this please?
  • #638730
    Normally servants are looked after like one of the family members and are paid very well. Even new dresses are taken for them during festivities and functions. Yes they do their duty with dedication and fineness and for that they are equally paid. What I have seen in some homes that the maid servant gets some extra attention when they have the child, One of my relative has taken the responsibility of paying the fees of her maid child for whole life. In that case asking for more or increase in salary of maid servant does not arise. If the maid is sincere and listening, anybody would oblige to help her if not in cash or by kind. But what I have seen that these maid servants have formed as a syndicate and indulge gossip and information passers there by if one maid servant gets something extra other maid would demand so.
    K Mohan
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

  • #638739
    Definitely our maid-servants deserve much more what they are now getting. But I must say that during last ten years, their conditions have improved to some extent. In my locality, the maid-servants get two days leave in every month and a yearly increment during Diwali.

    But I feel that more than monetary compensation, these maidservants require social security measures. Although the Government has launched many schemes for people from the poor economic background (example: Atal Pension Yojna, etc.) , most of these people don't know about these. They must be made aware of these schemes which are earmarked for them.

    Beware! I question everything and everybody.

  • #638743
    This thread is worth discussing. Most of the middle-class families depend on maid servants for different jobs in their houses. The payment will be varying from place to place. In my case, I am staying within Kochi city. Here majority are middle-class families, and they depend on maid servants. These servants do share their time and work in two or three houses. Generally in a house they work for about two or three hours.
    I am paying four thousand rupees per month. Also for any extra work extra payment will be made. Similarly for festivals, like Onam, too special payment and some dress materials are given. If some festivals like marriage, first feeding of child, etc. are there in their house, we used to give some extra cash. They come only six days in a week, Sunday is holiday.


  • #638749
    Definitely, we have to take care of the servant maid. In our house, we have a servant maid. We pay her Rs.3000/-. She works for about 1 hour to 2 hours. If any extra work is there we will pay her extra. She works in another 3 houses and total she earns Rs.15000/- per month. The total working time is around 8 hours per day. This is almost equal to the minimum wage paid to a worker in a factory. But the difference is the factory worker will get PF, Bonus, gratuity and ESI. These benefits are not there to the servant maid. The government can think of extending at least ESI facility to these unorganised sector workers. Another problem they face is no weekly off for them. Even on the festival day, they have to work. But these days getting a good servant maid has become very difficult even though we are ready to pay a little more also. They also stop coming even without information for 2 or 3 days. Those days the housewives will have a very tough time.
    always confident

  • #638760
    It is difficult to get a good maidservant these days and the situation is being exploited by many. They will put forth their demands, including salary, leave and other perks before joining and will take up the assignment only after an inquiry into the background of the family, like whether the husband and wife are employed, how many children they have and in which classes they are studying, do they have occasional visitors etc, for whom they are about to work.

    As far as I know, they work as part-time only and in the process take up jobs in two or more houses and the daily wage is fixed as per the work load they have to undertake; sweeping and mopping the indoors, cleaning outdoors, cleaning the washrooms and toilets, looking after kids, cooking, cleaning the utensils, washing the clothes etc are different set of works and the wages will be decided on what all they have to do. A full time maidservant will demand her salary accordingly.

    I don't think that they are not paid well these days, especially with both the husband the wife being employed in most of the houses; not at least in Kerala. They take away anything between 300 to 600/ day for a two to five hours part-time employment in addition to food and other perks including bonus during festivals.

    There will be exceptions and the wages may differ from place to place but to put it generally that they are not well paid is not acceptable. It is now an organized sector in a disorganized manner.

    “Give instructions only to those people who seek knowledge after they have discovered their ignorance.”-Confucius

  • #638761
    Yes. It is very difficult to get maidservants in Kerala. I also faced this problem.

  • #638770
    There are two ways this matter has to be approached.
    1. A servant maid is not considered as an employee, but a close friend helping, sometimes even given status of a family member. This was the case all these years. So i that case the maid is also a friend-philosopher and guide to the Lady of the house. The maid takes food at that house, takes food home, gets share of anything made in that house. She also gets new clothes, sweets or other things during any festival celebrated in the house or by the maid separately also. Whenever the maid needs help in cash and kind,the landlady or the family help her that way. The 'wage' was never a major factor. For the maid it was a beneficial relationship with good people, a security and prestige and privilege. The maid also did not mind spending more time in that hours nor did the madam scold her for taking leave in times of need. When there arises situations of children's education,school reopening, daughter's marriage,hospital expenses etc the master-family gives timely help in cash and kind and rise to the occasion. They take up a sizeable part of the expense also depending on the length o the relationship. For any function in the master's family the maid also has her place of importance.

    But the second one sees the maidservant as a paid employee only.That is why both side consider wages,leave, time,bonus etc. In that case many points in #638749 and 638760 are valid. The wage more or less conforms to per hour work in any other sector. At least in two occasions in an year they are given 'Bonus' or 'baksheesh'
    which are mostly one moth's wages.That conforms to 16 % bonus in total. Many households give coffee /tea. That can be added up in remuneration like the corporate CTC. Practically most maidservants avail leave almost equal to as allowed in a private company. Probably PF and gratuity are the only exemptions. In that case this is a problem in all unorganised sectors too. In practice, mots servant maids in metros work for at least three or four houses in the same apartment or same area. So their cumulative wages and compensation in actual effect equals or exceeds the mandatory minimum in unorganised sector.

    Here I can suggest that the master family should see that they include the maid servant in the government sponsored insurance and benefit schemes by sponsoring the premium and expenses towards the insurance, pension yojana ,bank account linked insurance etc.
    The maid servants family come under the various benefit schemes of government like ration, medical benefits, etc which those who draw same salary in a regular employment may not get.
    There is now another dimension to the issue also.There are lot of risks nowadays in engaging maid servants .Probably we nee a KYC(rather KNM-Know Your Maid) exercise before engaging a maid servant.

    But I feel that the earlier maid-madam relationship is still the better beneficial one for the maid servants. If they are considered as paid employees, then probation,termination,disciplinary action etc also matter along with responsibility of compensation and liability of the master.

  • #638772
    The availability of maid servants or household helpers varies from place to place in our country. In some places they are not easily available and their rates are high but other places where they are readily available, especially the places where refugees and other downtrodden people are settled near big towns, their rates are rock bottom and for about Rs 2000 per month they are ready to do three jobs per day like sweeping-mopping, cleaning utensils, dusting etc. If you add tea, snacks and other facilities given to them it can be counted as Rs 2500 per month instead of Rs 2000.

    Now the question - whether we should increase their rates? - is a tricky one. They are working in private houses and depending upon demand and supply their rates are fixed. There is no free lunch in this world and you can not go by just the humanitarian feeling of giving and helping to the poor and destitute. These are all based on market trends. In big cities the hotels and restaurants are hardly paying their boys Rs 6-7 thousand per month in addition to three times meal and tea. How can they survive in that meagre amount? But the reality is this that if one boy leaves the job there are many to take it.

    So blindly increasing their salary will not be a way to the solution of the problem. One thing which they can do or some entrepreneurs can think of is that we should constitute some groups through whom only these people should be hired and they should take all the responsibilities of PF or other medical necessities in respect of these persons. In that case we may also not mind in paying more as it will go to the the benefit of these servants.

    Interestingly, some people are hiring these servants because of low rates and if these rates are increased as proposed by the author then many of us may not hire them. Because of low rates even some lower middle class people have also hired them.

    Knowledge is power.

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