How much you should pay your full time maid in Dubai is a frequently asked question on our Maid Forum and is often a contentious issue. It really depends on how much you can afford, what the size of her job role is- whether she will just be cleaning or whether there is child care involved- but also you should see this as a way to empower someone from a poorer country and make sure you are paying them a fair wage in order for them to better their life and the life of their family too.
Certain embassies are trying to protect their overseas workers and have set minimum wages- we do feel that these are still very low though:
Embassy Set Minimum Salaries:
Bangladeshi: 750 AED
Indonesian: 800 AED
Sri Lankan: 825 AED
Indian: 1,100 AED
Filipina: 1,400 AED
We highly recommend a salary of around 2,000- 3,000 AED per month- this seems to be the average and you should include some allowances on top of this for food, toiletries, clothes, phone credit etc.
Many ladies who come here as maids are supporting an extended family back home- so the money you pay them will be going to put food in mouths, clothes on backs, school fees for children and pay essential rent. It can be very tough for the ladies who come here, as the family members will be asking for money from them, seeing them almost as the "better off" one and the main priovider in some cases. So some of the ladies can be under immense pressure.
You paying them an extra 500- 1000 Dhs amonth above the average rate can make a massive difference to their lives and the welfare of the family they have left at home. After all that is just one less meal out a month for example and you would be helping a poorer family. You could always save up an extra amount each month to give your helper as a bonus when she eventually leaves you if you would rather she had a lump sum.
Let's take a look at some of the advice from our busy information forum:
Do you give your house help pay rises?
Grumpy says: "Our current housekeeper has been with us for 5 years and we have increased the salary every year - we did 15% for a couple of years when inflation was at it highest, now we normally do around 6% and then round it up to the nearest 50 AED to make the salary a round figure."
Oopsiedaisie says:"In our previous location, yes we did! Between 5and 10% each year. Not for the sake of increasing, but because we were very happy with her. She has been with us 4 years, until we left. I guess I will do the same here."
Daza says: "Yes.
Started at 1500AED
After 1 year up to 2000AED - explained to her that this increase was significantly more than she could normally expect as it was also taking in to consideration that I'd had a third baby and her workload had increased.
After 2 years up to 2200
After 3 years up to 2400
I also give a one months salary bonus upon completion of another year with us.
She gets increases every year because I've always been very happy with her standard of work. If I wasn't happy she wouldn't get an increase and I'd tell her why. Before I stopped working my job had performance based salary reviews which I found was a great way of giving people incentive to work hard."
How To Settle Your Maid InIf you’ve sponsored a live in maid there are some things you can do to settle her in to your home and ensure a long lasting working relationship. For some it may be strange to have another person, not from the family, living in your home and you are experiencing this for the first time. For your maid this also may be her first time away from her home country and family. You maid may suffer from home sickness in her first few weeks and feel quite lost.
Here’s some top tips to help your maid settle in...
Make sure her room is fully kitted out with everything she could need.
Have an orientation of your home with her so she knows where everything is… different rooms, storage spaces, kitchen equipment, gardens, garage etc.
Make sure you have a mobile phone with a SIM card ready for her. Most people find the pay as you go kind of contracts are better and easier to manage… this prevents huge phone bills being racked up.
Have a clear task list drawn up for her so she knows exactly what her duties are.
Talk to her about her working hours and days off and holidays, so she is really clear when she will be working.
Have a chat with her about the laws in Dubai so she knows how not to get in trouble.
Introduce her properly to your children, if you have them, she may or may not have had child care experience and you may have to provide training in this area too. Don’t just dump your baby on her or leave her alone with the children, until you are both comfortable with that.
Talk to her about what your eating arrangements will be- does she eat with the family, can she cook her own meals etc. Some nationalities of maid really like to eat or prepare their own familiar food.
If you want her to cook for your family, she may not have a knowledge of the dishes you would like her to cook, so you need to arrange some cooking lesson time with her.
Some nationalities do things different to how you would, so you may have to spend time training your maid to do things a certain way like cleaning, ironing, washing etc. Take the time to train your maid and you may learn a top cleaning tip you didn’t know either.
If you have pets make sure you introduce her properly to them as some people can be scared of dogs and cats until they get to know them.
Try and let her have access to a computer or laptop regularly so she can email or Skype her family. This will help her feel in contact with her family still and help any feelings of home sickness.
If you have provided a TV set for her you could try and get her channels in her mother tongue for her to feel at home.
You can help her to make some friends with other maids in your neighbourhood. If you know your neighbours or have a friend nearby with the same nationality maid see if you can arrange for them to spend some time together to help your maid get settled.
Your maid may wish to go to worship with her fellow compatriates and they quite often organise buses together to achieve this or trips to supermarkets that sell their specialised food.
Let her know that she can come to you about any issues or problems and that you will talk to her and try and help her as much as you can.
You have invested a lot of money in sponsoring a maid and she is your responsibility in the country. Think how she must feel and that if you spend the time right at the beginning to settle her in, you will both be clear about her position.
At the end of the day she is your employee but she is living in or near your home so there is some blurring of boundaries. It is how you deal with her induction that will set the tone for her employment period. Open and clear communication is the key and a lot of patience and understanding. You will both reap the benefits if you take the time to manage this period properly.
Check out the Maids Board on our busy information forum to ask any questions and read others advice.