House helps are very much an integral part of the family in today’s scenario. Whether it is the old parents whose children are in a different city or country or the young children of a working couple who do not have any support system, the house help becomes very important. Depending on the situation of each household, a full-time house help or a part-time one who comes for a specific duration can be employed. House helps perform all chores like the cleaning of the house to cooking and taking care of kids. So, their wellbeing is equally important to the wellbeing of the family they work with.
We hear stories about house help being ill-treated, underfed, or underpaid etc. These are not desirable situations and happen since they come under the unorganized sector and there are no minimum wages or rules and regulations defined for them. But that should not stop us from looking after them and taking care of them. They may be uneducated, due to which they opt for such jobs and are uninformed about many things we take for granted in life. There are many ways in which we can make a difference to their lives.
Reasonable pay with yearly hikes
It is mostly the norm that when you employ a house help, you haggle with them to bring down the pay. It is best to understand what a reasonable pay would be with respect to the job being done and offer that rather than haggle. If the house help is through an agency, then the pay is fixed as per them. There are no set rules, but you may consider providing bonuses for festivals, or gifts for any special occasions like their kids’ birthdays or marriage etc. A decent pay hike may be given every year. Just like how we all expect a pay hike from our employers, they too will be happy, especially if given without asking. Give yearly offs too with pay so that they appreciate and come back happy.
Many of these people do not have bank accounts. It is for this very reason that our Prime Minister started the Jan Dhan Yojana Bank accounts. You may encourage and aid your house help to get a bank account as that will help them in the long run to build a savings habit. In fact, you may choose to deposit part of or full salary into the bank account.
One of the toughest times for such people is if theirs or any family member’s health suffers. Medical treatment is costly in the private hospitals and Government hospitals may not always be the best choice. A medical insurance taken out in their name can actually prove to be a lifeline for them. Life insurance or the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana for accident insurance too may be considered.
Read more about how you can access these government schemes – https://www.samarth.community/money-matters/remonetisation-and-how-you-can-help
Apart from the above, treating them with basic respect, and providing them with good food, and being reasonable in the expectations can help a lot in having good relations with your house help.