Ok, on Friday I posted my thoughts about how to find a maid. I said in that article that while it was hard to find a good maid, it was even harder to keep her. I really believe that this is true. Now, Julius did post a comment there saying that he is paying his maid somewhere on the order of P4,000 per month for his maid, which is quite high in my experience, and he has been able to keep his maid. Perhaps that is one solution to keeping a maid around. Let’s look at my experience on this matter, and I’ll make some recommendations.
Now, first, let me say…. a lot of what you read here will seem like it is the opposite of what you would expect. I agree, it does seem that way. But, what I will say is true, in my opinion and experience.
Rule number one is that you should not be overly generous with your maid. I know this flies in the face of what Julius said, and it also doesn’t seem logical, right? I mean, the more generous you are, the more the maid will stay so that she can reap the rewards. Doesn’t it seem that way? In practice, it doesn’t work that way. What I have observed many times is that some of these girls from the Provinces that you hire are not used to having very much. If you give them too much money, or some kind of nice gift, they will soon start feeling that they have everything they could possibly need, and will soon quit to go home to their families in the Province and share their good fortune. I remember one time when my Mother came here to visit. We had a boy working for us, doing yard work and other jobs around the house. My Mom took a liking to this kid, who had been with us for around 5 years. My Mom started showering him with gifts – a new watch, clothes and other such items. Soon after my Mom left, he told us he was quitting. We asked why – he had been with us for so long and was like part of the family. He told us that he had already gotten so much stuff, he didn’t need to work anymore! This is very typical, in my experience. We have had similar happenings with various maids. In our experience, pay the maid a decent salary (the amount varies depending on what part of the Philippines you live in), and don’t give much in the way of extras. They will stay longer that way.
Of course, you should treat your maid kindly. Don’t yell at her, don’t be mean. Treat her the way that you would want your employer to treat you. But, don’t go overboard. It is good to remember that she is not a part of the family. We got into that whole thing for a time, making our maids as a part of the family. It leads to misunderstanding, and problems in the long run. Just treat them as an employee, but you must be kind to them. If you do that, they will stay longer. If you treat them like they are family, they will come to feel entitled to things, and feel that whether they work or just become lazy, they are entitled to the job. They are family after all! Well, I am sorry, but they are not family, and they should realize that.
Give them the time off that they deserve. In our case, our maids work 7 days per week. That is what they want. But, when they want to go home to the Province and spend some time with the family, we allow them to do so, and are generous with them in that regard. So, while they don’t have a regular day off during the week, we give them ample time off to go spend time at home when they want.
Make sure that your kids are treating the maid properly. For a while we had a problem with our kids in this manner. Our kids attend a fairly exclusive school, and at school, they picked up the attitude from their friends that “she’s only a maid, after all.” Well, I am sorry, but that is not how the maid should be treated. The maid is our kid’s elder and should be treated with respect. If there is a problem with the maid, the kid should come to Feyma or myself and tell us. If we feel it is a problem, we will deal with the maid. The kids, however, are not allowed to disrespect the maid. Period!
I am sure that maids get treated a little differently in every household. I am only posting what has worked for us. Your mileage may vary!