Sunday, July 25, 2010

Maid in the Philippines

I have been down with a cold the last few days, and have not done our laundry for the last two weeks (we went out last weekend to be with relatives). Which means that as of today, I have a mountain of a laundry. On top of that our 36-square meter, one-bedroom unit certainly needs some cleaning.

But since I am coughing profusely, much of the chores have been left undone. Luckily, in the cooking department, my husband is an able cook. But in the cleaning and laundry I have not been of any help.

I guess if anything else, I can always bring the laundry to the nearby laundry shop which will do my 5 kg laundry for roughly a little more than P200 ($4). The problem sometimes is if you chanced upon a laundry shop that doesn't do their job well, you can lose a piece or two, or have small holes on t-shirts (like my husband had a couple of weeks ago). On the other hand, I am no goddess of laundry, and maybe somebody else can do better than me. :p

In the matter of cleaning our small living space, I have asked one janitor in the office before to clean our entire place (36 sq m) for P500 ($10). I can also do that when I am pretty busy.

But lately, I have been considering getting a maid. I can surely use the extra time off after work to myself. I do a lot of planning/thinking after work, and I need the luxury of time to do that.

On the other hand, I hate having a stranger in my home, and at 36 sq m, there is not much you can do about maintaining privacy and avoiding one another. I guess, we can always move some place else with a bigger living space but I like the security that a condominium can offer. Also, our condominium unit is in a complex which allows us just to go outside our unit and buy some essentials in the store nearby which is within the complex itself. We do not have to worry that just by going to the nearby store, a stranger can follow us around and plot to rob us. I guess that sounds a little phobic, but I just do not want to risk my husband's safety. Everyone thinks foreigners have so much money. They certainly have more than what the average filipino has, but they shouldn't be fair game to robbers because of that.

Also having a maid who is not a relative compromises ones security. You do not know the kind of people you are letting in your house and whether when you leave, they would let someone in. Again that sounds phobic, but better safe than sorry. I have two officemates in this year alone who had their houses robbed, and the suspects were workers they hired when they had repairs/renovations done in their houses. With every stranger you let in the house, and with them knowing you have a foreigner inside the house, you put each other at risk.

On the other hand, if I ever get one, I will get from an officemate of mine who gets from the women in her province. I know she would not risk people she knows by her referral, she herself being a lawyer.

So what is the average rate for maids here in Manila? I would say from P2,000 up ($43 up). And that doesn't count social security contributions. Of course alot of people don't necessarily follow the mandated social security benefits, but honestly, if your maid gets sick, that social security benefit can save you the money you will end up paying for their hospitalization.

I recall one time when my mother was hospitalized for heart attack, we were in a private hospital, and there was this maid who was suffering from high blood sugar -- 200 ++ I think. And the most unfortunate thing was her employer left her to fend for herself. It was her boardmates who took her to the hospital. It was sad and unfortunate, and what could have been resolved with a little less stinginess and a few pesos worth of contribution to SSS.

Here is some of the breakdown for employer's contribution to SSS:

Salary Range Salary Employer Cont. Employee Cont. Total
1,000.00 - 1,249.99 1000 70.70 33.30 104.00
1,250.00 - 1,749.99 1500 106.00 50.00 156.00
1,750.00 - 2,249.99 2000 141.30 66.70 208.00
2,250.00 - 2,749.99 2500 176.70 83.30 260.00
2,750.00 - 3,249.99 3000 212.00 100.00 312.00
3,250.00 - 3,749.99 3500 247.30 116.70 364.00
3,750.00 - 4,249.99 4000 282.70 133.30 416.00
4,250.00 - 4,749.99 4500 318.00 150.00 468.00
4,750.00 - 5,249.99 5000 353.30 166.70 520.00
5,250.00 - 5,749.99 5500 388.70 183.70 572.40
5,750.00 - 6,249.99 6000 424.00 200.00 624.00
P.S. the minimum wage for domestic helpers now is P1000. That is in the same law.

Likewise, those who are SSS (private employees)/GSIS (government employees) members are automatically enrolled to Philhealth under R.A. 7875. Otherwise coverage in Philhealth is compulsory.

The Philhealth employer and employee contributions can be found in the Philhealth website.


  1. Interesting. I knew employers were responsible for mandate SSS contributions, but I didn't know that PhilHealth benefits were included .. I thought they had to be paid separately.

    We've had no luck whatever with maids. One whom we tried and who was a great worker (whom we also enrolled separately, on her own in PhilHealth) had her drunken husband coming to call at odd hours, demanding her wages for himself ... so that didn't work well.

    Several others became immediate targets for family members who came out of the woodwork, demanding "their" share and stirring hate and discontent about how they were not beingtreated well enough by their ricvh kano emplyer ... they both wound up leaving on their own.

    I really can't abide the number of foreigner and Filipino families who employ a maid and then refuse to take care of her medical needs ... it's a pretty common area of tarnished human behavior though if you look back over the last three political administrations in the US ... every one had their "Nanny Gates" where potential cabinet members, etc., had to confront the fact they had employed household help without taking care of the basic Social Security requirements. A real case of might making (assumed) right.

    We now have a niece living with us while she attends college, so that pretty much leaves the maid issue dead in the water for the moment.

    It's not easy, no matter where you live and what the size of the home ... your point about not knowing who is in your home is a real concern ... I'd much rather take the chance of en empty house with good neighbors around than having a stranger n our home when we are away ... it doesn't really matter where the girl is from or who recommended her, if someone from her family or who knew her in her home province pops up, the most honest of them all can be intimidated/threatened into compliance.

    I sure do wish we had a local laundry shop nearby, though, especially the past few days of rain ... the laundry hamper seems to be like a 'cold volcano' with a life of it's own .. every morning when I wake up I swear the level of clothes is higher than when I locked up the night before ... we wash every time we see the sun but still the mountain grows ... do you think if I put $100 dollar bills or one thousand peso notes in there at bedtime they would grow overnight too? ;-)

  2. Hi Dave! I think Philhealth is paid separately. But if I read the law right, it just means that those who have SSS/GSIS are automatically enrolled, and thus is mandated (as opposed to compulsory)to pay Philhealth contributions.

    Well I washed my laundry today! :D Its just in two pails in the bathroom, waiting for the rain to stop... (tough luck with that though). :p

  3. It might help for the readers to know the Philhealth premium contributions for employer and employee.>>

  4. What, you are married to an American and you don't have a big Sears Kenmore dryer sitting there to pop the clothes into for drying. _I_ have one on our back porch/dirty kitchen. (although, it can't be hooked up to the wiring in our rental house and for four years now it has served as a repository for empty plastic bags we recycle LoL ... saves a lot on energy costs that way, I am just such a green guy LoL.

  5. Hahahaha! Funny! :p I may have to get a dryer soon... I am violating condo rules hanging our clothes in the back porch. :p But I am old-fashioned pinoy, I like the way clothes smell when they are hung to dry under the sun. LOL!

  6. We much prefer the sun also, although I have to say, even when you turn everything inside out for hanging, it is pretty brutal on the clothes ... they don't last nearly as long as I am used to.

    I looked at some relatively well-designed condos in Q.C. not that long ago and the provision for clothes drying was pretty "sketchy" to say the least ... a tiny closet about a meter or so square with lovers to the outside air ... or the alternative of an American-style "apartment-size" electric dryer mounted atop the tiny "apartment-size" washing machine ... not even the common laundry "cage" up on the roof. Sad to say I need more htna that.

    Guess it's an issue all over Asia .. when I taught conversational English in Japan the textbook my employer wanted me to use had dozens of scenarios involving "John" the foreigner having conversations with his landlady, "Mrs. Garcia" (Garcia-San ... sounds a bit out of the ordinary), regarding his many misadventures involving doing his laundry and getting it dried without hanging it in certain areas of Mrs. Garcia's balcony. Poor John LoL.

    Hopefully our house sale is pushing through soon, when it does, a part of my renovation project is a large flat roof on the second-level for a dedicated sampian space. Will we have the dryer available as well? You bet, for occasional use during those times when the rain decides to come in bursts every few hours for days on end.

    It's either that or rent a currently vacant store near a major jeepney stop close by and set a sister-in-law up with a wash/dry/fold/plancha service ... maybe I should do both and put that big Kenmore to work there ;-)