A Story and a Few Questions
My cook P asked for my advice today.
She had a story to share. She works as a cook in a house in our neighbourhood. Let’s call them family A. The family A has 6 members… a man, his wife, parents and a brother and a sister. Family A hired a maid B from an agency in Delhi.
The wife is expecting and is due in 2 months or so. The maid B from Delhi is basically to help post delivery and is hired for 6 months only. B currently does cleaning and dusting and some odd works in the home.
B helps P in the kitchen in chopping etc. So, they got talking.
B told P that she doesn’t want to work in this house and wants to work elsewhere so can P help her? B has a story too. She lost her parents some time back and her relatives sold her at a brothel in Delhi. She ran away from there and went to Police. Police sent her to this office of a Placement Agency for Maids. She has worked as a maid in some houses at Delhi too till she was sent here in Jaipur.
B’s main grouse is that she is never paid for her work. She was not paid when she worked in Delhi as a maid and nor is she getting any money now from her current employers. Though she is treated as a family member, she is concerned about her monthly salary.
She asked her employer about the same and the lady informed her that she is depositing her salary of Rs 5000 in the bank. Now this could be true or could be false!
My knowledge of maids from agencies is limited to scams/exploitation that I have read in newspapers. I have read how the agencies dupe the people who hire maids through them. (They charge some Rs 10,000 to 40,000 upfront and send the maid and then in a day or two, the maid runs away from that house. The phone numbers of the agencies no longer functions and they shift their office elsewhere too.) Or how the employers exploit/abuse the maids.
So, can you help in answering a few questions…
- I believe placement service agencies have a network of people and they help them with jobs as maids, drivers etc. They charge a fee ranging from Rs 10, 000 to 50, 000 from the interested clients and send the maids as per their requirements. What happens next? I read somewhere that the salary of the maids is deposited in the agency’s account. Is that true? If yes, then would they be getting their due salaries? Or the agency would be taking its commission from the maids too!? In that case, I wonder how much would the maids be actually getting in their hands!
- What happens if the maid decides to leave the current employer and works elsewhere? Is there a legal document that binds her to the agency?
- Should B think of ‘fleeing’ from her current employers? Though she is getting a comfortable life, a home, food and clothes… but no money as of now.
What do you think? Please share your experiences and views.