One of the perks of living in Mumbai (and
generally India) is that we can afford to
employ a domestic help. And most of the
times, we have not just one but multiple
helpers working in our houses.
One of the questions that might have been a topic of discussion in your family is: Should we hire a 24 hours full-time maid or a part-time maid who goes back to her home at the end of the day?
In this article, you will learn from maid recruitment experts about the 9 factors you should consider while making the decision. (In this blog, reference to maid includes babysitters/nanny, cooks, patient care taker etc.)
1. Predictability: The single biggest reason why you should hire a live-in maid is Predictability. Allow us to
explain- let us assume you have hired a 12 hours maid. How many times has it happened
that she calls you in the morning to say that she can’t come to work? Many times, right?
And how many times she has skipped work without even informing that she can’t come?
Many times. Now, imagine you are a working couple and you have a nanny who takes care
of your baby at home but she does not show up for work because she has a stomach pain.
What do you do? Simple- You call up your boss and say that you have a stomach pain.
Here comes an angel in the form of live-in maid. She takes the surprise element out of the equation. And you get peace of mind.
2. Flexibility: Generally, a live-in maid will work for 13-14 hours, say from 8 AM to 10 PM. This provides you a lot of flexibility compared to a live-out maid. For instance, it’s hard to find a live-out maid who can work till 10 PM, assuming that is the requirement of your household. In addition, in case of emergencies, a live-in maid can provide great support.
3. Stability: Our experience suggests that there is a higher probability of a live-in maid sticking in the job for a long time compared to that of a part time one. This is simply because a part-time maid is exposed to other job opportunities on a daily basis whereas the full time maid will stay with you unless something unpleasant happens on her personal front or there is a strain in the employer-employee relationship. It is less likely that she will quit for a higher salary. After all, even she does not want to leave a good family for an unknown environment that will become her new ‘home’.
4. Cost: You have to consider the amount of money you can spend on the help. A full time maid service can cost you anywhere from Rs 15,000 to Rs 18,000 per month. On the other hand, a 12 hours maid will cost you much lesser, say, Rs 12,000 to Rs 13,000. In addition to the salary, you have to take into account other costs that you have to incur on the full-time maid for eg. food cost, medical expenses etc.
5. Other obligations: If your live-in maid falls sick, you have to ensure that she gets proper medical attention and rest.
6. Friction: There is a higher chance of friction between the family and the live-in maid as compared to a part-time maid. This could be because of expectation mismatch with regards to the quality and quantity of food served to the maid, timing of meals, mobile usage etc. If every member of your family is on the same page in terms of showing empathy and allowing some flexibility to the maid, the friction can be avoided.
7. Privacy: Your privacy will be compromised with a 24 hour house help. If you are going for a weekend trip, and your help comes from outside of your town, you will have to take her along. Now, that’s a preferred option for some families, but not so much for all. There is a new person sleeping in your house. Watch what you wear!!
8. Space: In a city like Mumbai, space is a big luxury. Before hiring a full time maid, make sure she has a proper place to sleep in the night/afternoon. Is there a space earmarked for her to keep her belongings? If there is only one or two bathrooms in the house, how are you going to manage it during morning rush hours?
9. Leaves: While the standard practice in Mumbai is that maids get 2 paid leaves in a month, the pattern of leaves is different between the two categories of maids. If your live-in maid is from outside of your town, she will go on leave once in 3 months, 6 months or 12 months, depending upon the travel time. And she will club all the accumulated leave till that time. So, you need to make alternate arrangements for a week, two weeks or a month, as the case may be. On the other hand, if her family lives in the same town as yours, she will most likely take two continuous leaves every month. A part time maid would generally take two Sundays off in a month. So, you need to see which pattern works better for you.
Conclusion: To conclude, there is no straight answer. You need to weigh the pros and cons based on the above factors and decide what is good for your family. Having said that, if you decide to take the service of a live-in maid, the relationship will work well if you treat her as your family member. It goes without saying that the maid also has to reciprocate by being diligent and focused towards her job.