Saturday, August 2, 2008

How much do you pay your Domestic Helpers?

My new maid who made excellent chappaties, choppedvegetables, did the dishes and cleaned the kitchen every morning, asked to borrow two thousand rupees to repair her roof for monsoons. I agreed and she said she would return the money by fifteenth of next month. No problem, I said. The next day she said she requires some more money, another one thousand, for some unexpected expenses, while repairing the roof. Now, in all I was paying her,
Rs 250 For making ten chappaties every morning
Rs 200 For doing morning dishes (she can't come twice)
Rs 100 For watering the plants and hanging up the clothes from the washing machine, other odd jobs
Rs 200 For chopping, grating, peeling daily vegetables
Total Rs 750/-
How was she going to return three thousand one hundred rupees? Her husband has no regular job. She had just started working for me a month back. But monsoons were approaching and it was obvious that she really did need the money...and I just felt that she was not one of the oversmart maids we occassionally come across.
She took a few days off to help the hired labourers repair her roof, and came back beaming in early June. We had no rains this year but she has been asking me to come see her house atleast once. The money definitely was used for a very good cause. I thought, ...why not let her keep it? But I did not want her to think she could borrow from me and I will let her keep it. So finally I asked her if she would like to start cooking our lunch for us. She was delighted. I showed her how simple our afternoon meals were - very little oil, not much frying, no spices...she understood. So now I have a delightful, greatful cook :) For cooking (once a day), the going rate here is Rupees 1000/- She can repay me in three months! And I am realising it's nice to have someone cook for you sometimes...but sometimes I wonder if our maids aren't underpaid....

I wonder how the maids are paid in other places. How much do you pay for jhadoo-katka/jhadu-poncha? How much for doing the dishes? And how much for live-in help? Are boys paid more than girls? Recently my maids said they want to be paid four hundred rupees per job. What do other bloggers think?? Do you get someone for ironing? (We pay 300/- for ironing around ten articles a day).

Edited to add:
Drivers are paid between Rs.3000/- to 6500/- depending on experience.
Car Cleaners Rs 200 to 500 depending on the size of the car.
Mali (gardener) I pay Rs. 100/- for Sunday visits to trim, turn the soil etc
Jhadu-Poncha Rs. 300/- 400/-
Bathrooms Rs. 50/- to 100/- per bathroom
Dusting Rs. 200/- 300/-
Live in maids Rs 3000/- and above.


Me said...

umm is this per month?

my mouth is watering...i wish I could get such cheap help here in the states!! I would be so grateful... :-)

Sachin said...

I have no idea what is the rate of maid and stuff ;-)

But i guess u did the right thing by not letting her think that she can walk away with the money......

next time i am in need of money, i know whom to contact ;-)

Indian Home Maker said...

Me Yes it is per month ... I am curious to know how much people are paying in other parts of India, and outside India. Most domestic maids earn around 3-6 thousand a month by working in 3-4 houses. They also get old and new clothes, tips, festival bonus and gifts, used gas stoves, mixies, colour televisions, music systems and sundry household items. (In Maharshtra)
If their husbands worked they would do quite well.

Indian Home Maker said...

@ Sachin - I feel they are underpaid Sachin...I really want to find out how much they are being paid everywhere else. We used to pay Rs 200 per job twenty years ago in Mumbai, and in most places it is still the same! Now how fair is that? Are we earning the same??? Isn't that exploitation??? Why doesn't the Left do something about THEM??? Just want to know what others think.

D said...

The maids at my place are paid much more and that could be because there's a lot more work for them to do. We are a biggish family, so there are lots of utensils to clean and we have a biggish house, which means there's lots of cleaning to do. Therefore, it's difficult to compare salaries.

Priyanka said...

If you want to know about outside of India, then I am in Singapore. I recently hired a full-time maid. We are paying about S$700 per month for her i.e. about Rs. 20,000. ($320 to the agency + $320 to the Govt + the rest for her med. Insurance). Out of the $320 to the agency, I believe the maid finally receives aboout $150 - 200, which is about Rs. 5000 - 6000 per month.

Anonymous said...

I have a jhadu poncha maid who takes 1500/- and a live in servant who takes 2500/- ... which I feel is reasonable - and I end up cooking all the meals sigh!!! But I hate making chappatis which he does.

Anonymous said...

I have a jhadu poncha maid who takes 1500/- and a live in servant who takes 2500/- ... which I feel is reasonable - and I end up cooking all the meals sigh!!! But I hate making chappatis which he does.

Indian Home Maker said...

Maybe there is more work to do, maybe they are just paid more...just wanted to know how they are paid in all parts of India.

Indian Home Maker said...

Priyanka It all seems so organised over there, though she gets only a small part of what you pay her!

phoenixritu Yes, this sounds far more reasonable! Though the live in help must be chopping and helping in the kitchen...?

Mampi said...

Well, rates vary from city to city, from area to area in a single city. However the variation is between 250-400.
Yes, they are grossly underpaid.

And love you for letting the maid keep the money and getting her to do work instead. She would earn it and you wont have to face the embarrassment of asking her to return it. You solved a similar dilemma of mine.

Monika said...

wow!!! i wish i could steal ur house help... i pay my live in maid (who takes sunday off) who basically takes care of my son and helps me in the cooking... we both manage to do it together 5000 and another maid who comes in and cleans the house and dishes and washes clothes (mostly in the fully automatic washing machine and some by hand) 2750... plus as u said the new clothes sweets etc at festivals... tips from visiting relatives and i quite some time end up paying for their children notebooks etc but that's because i want them to continue studying... i am sure my maids are not underpaid it can be said other way round may be :(

PS: i stay in blore

How do we know said...

I live in Gurgaon, and pay my part timer who cleans about 1800 rupees and the full timer who is a general help, about 4500 rupees a month...The part timer is being paid way above the market price, but the full timer is about making market price or just below market price.

Monika said...

BTW u stay in mumbai right?

Reflections said...

In Dubai the going rate for a fulltime maid is inbetween dhs.1200-1500(around Rs.12,000-15,000). She does practically everything u want her to do.
The part-timers charge dhs 250 per hour(tho I hrd the rates have gone up).
I have a fulltime maid..a bit of a lazy person but the kids are fond of her & she cooks pretty ok. Her cleaning is not the gr8test but since we dont get everything v want in life...I sort of adjust with it:-P.

Reflections said...

And u r tagged:-D

Priyanka said...

I am a bit confused. I was reading the comments above, why do people have a part-tme maid if they already have a full-time maid? Isn't the full-time maid supposed to do all the work?

Unmana said...

I live in a small 1BHK flat. The help comes in every morning to sweep, mop, clean the bathroom and toilet, and wash dishes. We pay her Rs 700 (300 for dishes, 300 for cleaning the floors,and 100 for the bathroom). I think that's higher than in other areas of the city - but she works efficiently, doesn't gossip and doesn't ever not show up - so no complaints at all!

At my earlier house, I had a maid who was pretty much dependent on us. She only worked at one or two other places, and would ask for money quite often. She was also squeamish about how many hours she would work - I know she has refused work more than once because she thought it was too difficult or she wanted to be home with her son (who's at least ten). I've paid her extra almost every month and given 'loans' that I never got back. I don't regret it - she was in need and I'd do it again. But I do wish she would try harder and save some money and accept the fact that she's not going to be rescued. (She's a widow and her eighteen year old son ran away from home last year and hasn't been heard of since.)

Roop Rai said...

just very biased observation from the outside ... it is exploitation of cheap labor. but again, that's an opinion from the outside. i've got into many debates regarding this topic before and wont go into it again. just wanted to add my bit. :)

dipali said...

My part timer does the jhadoo-pocha, utensils and handwashes all the clothes, kneads the atta, and sometimes cuts veggies for me, if required. I pay her 1400.
I also pay her medical bills, which average around 250-300 per month.
Plus home repair loan of Rs 5000, which she hasn't started paying back yet.
Press-wallah charges average 2.50 per garment, we must be paying 4-500 p.m. for ironing.
Boy cleans bathrooms on alternate days, Rs 350.
Car cleaner Rs.300
Driver 4500.
This is in Kolkata

Oreen said...

here's what I pay my household helps:

a monthly sal of 650 for doing the dishes and mopping the floors, once in the morning...

the cook charges 1200/month for cooking once a day...

car washing @ 350/month

our maid needed some 5000 bucks to get her daughter married off and she has a long, interest-free EMI scheme with us ...

we are gonna get her a mediclaim policy for a lakh. It costs only 1500 per annum, which is something we owe them...

Anonymous said...

We dont have maids in the US, since its just the 2 of us. My friend has one coming over to her place bi-monthly. She pays $70 per visit. I think it includes dusting, vacuuming and cleaning the kitchen. She has a big house....3 bedrooms. Comparatively, I think labour is cheap in India but when I was there I noticed that maids work in so many homes that they dont clean very well.....are tired all the time and not to mention the truants and borrowing money! Its better to pay them extra and work for you exclusively.

Pinku said...

Hey IHM,

u have touched cords with all women who have to look after households and therefore are the managers of their respective maids it seems.

So to help u with the endeavor here is my bit:

I pay my maid 600 bucks which is for washing clothes (for 2 people)and jhadoo poncha.

This is a price she herself asked for and i didnt haggle. She also takes 4 days leave in a month and at times more.

We have decided to pay her a sort of bonus at the end of the year if she continues and though she isnt the greatest one could ask for she is manageable.

Hope u compile a chart of all the info for people to go thru and compare easily.

btw I stay in delhi.

my space said...

well you can`t really compare as salaries differ within a city also..In bandra the rates are much higher than say Andheri or Borivili-that is in Mumbai..I agree they are grossly underpaid ..0ne of my part time maid who does utensils and jhadoo pocha charges 1500 , the live in cook all i pay around 14000 including the sweeper,maids and driver-individually I think they deserve more..when my cook is away I call for food occassionally and each order is minimum 1000 bucks..

Indian Home Maker said...

D Yes the size of the house, the number of members matters...but still would like to know how much more.

Mampi ... but I also feel some maids are really well-trained and clean, some others have never worked before. Any standardisation is impossible, all I feel is we should pay them MORE. If we like them and their the work (also their PR skills) we pay more willingly! Like I like my new cook, so I don't mind cooking with her most of the time :)

Monika No your maids are definitely not underpaid :)They will probably stay with you longer too :)

How do we know - Part timers are paid lesser everywhere. I think 1800/- is higher than what most of them earn for cleaning...

Monika I am in Pune.

Reflections I once had a maid who had worked in Dubai earlier, and she was probably the cleanest, smartest and most efficient maid I have ever had.

Priyanka I like it if my full time maid is free to do odd jobs, if a part time maid comes to do the most time consuming jobs of all, cleaning, dusting and bathrooms- then the full time help can feed the dogs, sparkle a brass lamp or make a nice hot cup of tea for you. You can also walk out of the house anytime, knowing she'll receive any couriers, and take phone calls etc...I am sure most people have similar reasons.

Unmana I am glad you found someone who's responsible and sincere. The trouble with the job of domestic maids is it's not enough to be a good worker, they need to be warm and pleasant too...they interact with us every day, in our homes.

Roop Rai No you are quite right It is an exploitation of cheap labour. But as you read all the rates above, a domestic helpers job in a democracy can fetch you anywhere between a mere 400/- to many thousands. Also there is a lot of support as in loans, free medical help. It's not an organised industry, but smarter, younger girls are earning well, and better than typists, drivers, sales girls. Most of the time it is also a safe environment for women.
But yes, most of them are grossly underpaid.

Dipali Thanks for your input! We also have to pay Rs. 2 50/- if we give our clothes to the dhobi. And the same 4500/- to the driver ...How are you feeling now?

Oreen You must tell us more about this Mediclaim Policy.

Homecooked many people keep one maid exclusively for their house (Full time help) and another part time help. It is true that many house hold helpers are totally unskilled, and that is one of the reasons why nearly all are paid so poorly. If they are lucky the efficient ones find good homes, and are well paid.

Pinku Not a bad idea :)
I also agree to whatever they ask, which is rarely exorbitant.

my space Some of us are paying them more and that is why rates are higher/going up in some places. I think that is just how it should be. It's a case of supply and demand. When they know there's a shortage they ask for more (if they have business sense).That is the only way they will eventually get paid better - by being in demand and by being demanding:)

Renu said...

In chennai, I pay 700/ for cleaning the vessels and house (no dusting) and 300 for washing clothes(150/-per person), and 200/ for once in a week cleaning of bathrooms,100/ for dusting-this so far she has never done:), then I have a maid for cooking who takes 1500/ for 10 chapatis and 2 vegetables.
One thing I know that they can never be over paid, but sometimes maids are also not genuine, they also exploit a generous and soft employer, so my take is always that in all situations in life I prefer to be the exploited rathen than exploit somebody:)

Renu said...

One more thing i would like to say is that I always feel thatinstead of going out for charity if we just adopt or help one family that may be of our maid it would be a win win situation for us and her nd world may become a much better place to live.And following that mantra, I try a little by getting her medicine,when she is sick, or giving her just giving her 50/ for eating some fruit that day,and whenevr she asks advance I never say no, fully knowing that sometimes she may not be able to repay it back.
Like one day she saw one of my bsarees-it was kota cottn with siome work, and liked it very much, I gave it to her then and there, because I knew that I just wear it nonce or twice a year, but it will make her very happy and that happiness meant to me much more:)

Sraikh said...

I am jealous of everyone who has maids :)
I know in the USA, if you hire a cleaning crew, they charge anywhere from $25-$55 per hour depending on how many people and what you want them to do. They also have a minimun of 3 hours.

Thats why I can never afford to have a cleaning crew come over. :)

Aaarti said...

Hmmm... well, here in chennai, as far as i know, there are no rates per chore.. its all put together and a LUMPSOME demanded... yes, i say demanded cos they do and n dear, they aint underpaid.. i am sure of that...

In my grandparents house, the maid is paid 2500Rs per mth, and she comes in the morn, sweeps,mops,vessels, clothes washing..thats it... n sometimes she doesnt wash clothes saying she has to go somewhere.. etc

There is another one who comes in for dusting ONLY= she gets 1000rs

the mad momma said...

In delhi - Rs 6000 for the driver
Rs 2000 for cook - could vary if there are more members. we're just two of us
Rs 1800 - for part time maid to sweep, swab and do utensils. dpends on house size
Rs 3000-5000 for a baby maid - per child.

i have a maali once a week for an hour- Rs 200 for the month

Inexplicably said...


I am in Delhi too but I guess the rates vary. We pay the driver Rs 7000 ( 8 AM - 8 PM). He gets Rs 100 per day extra in case he stays beyond 8 Pm or works on a Sunday.

The full time live in maid takes Rs 4000 ( She cooks and manages house, even helps with the Kids' homework ! )

The Jhadu Poncha Woman charges Rs 500 ( one visit per day)

The part time maid ( washes utensils, dusts, washes the Kid's clothes ( the rest go into the washing machine) and helps with chopping veggies and kneading dough etc charges Rs 2500 without meals. She comes at 9 AM and goes at 6 PM.

Hope this helps ? Am new here...nice space. :)

~nm said...

What I pay/give to my househelps:

Maid who does utensils and brooming 550. (The area of my house is very small.) I do not deduct any money when they go off even if for 10-15 days. Give about 6 used suits to her during the year. One new suit on kids birthday. And something they want for diwali.

Cook: 1200 for cooking for 2 people twice a day (who takes/gets about 10 days of leaves everymonth). Same with her. No deductions whatsoever. She gets a saree on Betu's birthday and again on Diwali.

Manasa said...

My friends who have cooks pay 1k for one-time preparation i.e. noon meals... Cook doesn't prepare breakfast nor dinner... I guess it varies from 1k-1.5k

BTW, which place are you from?

chandni said...

My side, it started with each job costing Rs 200, like jhaddu-pocha, bartan and kapda. So that'll be 600. Now its actually 300 bucks a job!

Priyanka said...

Ah, That makes sense. I guess these are the luxuries we can enjoy only in India :)

1conoclast said...

What city do you live in? You seem to have it a little cheaper than we do in Pune.

Anonymous said...

i am verrry verrry sure i left u a comment on this one..and nw i see its not there!!!god!!
anyway, wat i had said was that i dont look into salaries mom does that...but of what little i do know i think we pay the car cleaner 200 and the part time maid 250 or 300 per work..

Anonymous said...

It actually depends on the city u live in... 300 for ironing is damn cheap... Here in bangalore and kol, its 2.5 rs per article!!! :O

A lot many cities are much cheaper when it comes to maids...

Nita said...

I'm a little late for this post but let me add my two pice bit. In Mumbai as someone mentioned the rates vary but I think both Mumbai and Delhi have high rates. I am in Mumbai, but not in the suburbs where rates are lower. I pay Rs 1500/- to my maid and it's for washing utensils, sweeping swabbing, dusting and hanging out the clothes, cutting veggies etc. Total time spent in my house is about 3 hours a day (she comes twice and this is the combined time). I feel I am paying her less but everyone around me pays about 30% less and they feel I am paying too much. I don't think so though. The Diwali bonus is her pay. Also extras like food, clothes etc are given to her on a regular basis.
Nice post and will be subscribing to your blog from today. :)

Indian Home Maker said...

@Renu I completely agree with you on this. charity can so easily begin at home and it is a win win situation...but sometimes we expect too much in return of our charity, then it is no more charity..more like a give and take, 'we help you, you help us by sticking around loyally to us'.

@sraikh It will be a long time before domestic helpers in India will get paid such rates! But these days you do get cleaning crew sort of, and they are better trained at cleaning, then our average helper. A friend in Kochi used to get a woman to come once a month to clean all cobwebs, fans, lofts, skylights, window panes etc.

@Aaarti LOL @ demanded... they don't seem to be underpaid in Chennai :)

@the mad momma I think big cities pay more. No wonder they all want to go and work in big cities:)

@Inexplicably In all, you are paying 8000/- to your domestic help...yes it is more than what most of us are paying but I feel it's only fair... your help actually helps the kid with HW! That's fabulous!

@nm She seems to take a lot of days off :) I also don't deduct any thing for missed days, but the number of missed days is much lesser. The purpose for keeping three different maids was to manage such absences.The ones who come do part of the absent one's job.

@Manasa I am paying the same to my new found cook, for the noon meal. No breakfast or dinner.

@Chandni The rates are the same here, started at 200/- now above 300/-

@Priyanka True. It is a luxury. Although it is unfair that they are paid so little, I feel the rates are going up and also with booming economies and growing cities, the domestic helper is no longer an untrained help, they learn at the job and switch jobs and the younger and the ambitious ones are earning reasonably well.

1conoclast I live in Pune :)The rates I mention are for the morning help, we have someone else coming in the evening to help in the overall the rates are slightly higher. And I think the rates are different from house to house, locality to locality, in the same city!

@churningthewordmill We pay around the same rates :)If you wish you email your comments at

@worldthrumyeyes Dhobi charges Rs 2 50/- per article here too, most people give trousers, jeans, larger shirts etc to the dhobi. But t shirts, napkins, night wear etc is ironed by the maid, they are not as good as a dhobi, but your daily ironing gets done.

@Nita It's better to pay too much than to pay too little:) Most maids work in more than one house and many make more than their husbands do. I feel their lives have improved because they are earning - the perks like interest free loans from employers, used electronic items are also a blessing. All my maids' kids go to schools and colleges!

ayeshash said...

I pay my maid-multi purpose 3000 for about 4-4.5 hrs work and another part timer 1000 for 2 hrs work in Mumbai Dadar