I have been calling maid agencies for the past few days. From my findings, I am rather perplexed with the structure of the agency fees imposed by these agencies. From what I have gathered, different agencies charge different rates on the agency fee, some of which charge vast differences in the fees. Most of the agencies charge between RM7,000 to RM10,000 for agency fees (to be shared between the Malaysian agent and Phillipines agent). Monthly salary of the Filipina maid is fixed at a minimum of RM1,000 and some RM1,200 per month. Most of the agencies have advised me to hire a Filipina as maids from this country do not create as much trouble as Indon maids. This I have to agree as I have hired Indon maids for 10 years and so far, only one maid was truly efficient with not much attitude problem BUT she had a boyfriend, whom she befriended just over our house gate every morning!! Can you imagine how they can fall in love without even going out with each other and can even exchange kisses on some mornings? All done at my porch and they were caught in the act locking lips by my nosy parker neighbor!
Yesterday, I called up another maid agency. I was perplexed when they told me that they charge only RM4K+ for agency fee to hire a Filipina maid and the maid's salary is RM1k a month. For Indon maids, they charge close to RM9,000 for agency fee and the maid's salary is RM808 per month. When I 'reported' my findings to the boss, he said "cheap things surely mean no good! If they can charge us a fee which is so low as compared to what other agencies normally charge, surely the maids are of sub quality and who knows, the agency may be one of those agencies reported in the newspapers that teaches the maid to run away after the 3-month guarantee period! When this happens, the employer will surely go back to the agent to source for another maid and another RM7k has to be paid upfront to hire a new Filipina maid. And behind our backs, who knows, the unscrupulous maid agency will be recycling the runaway maid and we will never find out about their illegal modus operandi.
Did you know that a prospective employer has to fork out an average of RM12,400 to hire a Filipina maid? This amount comprises of RM10k NON-REFUNDABLE agency fee and 2 months advance salary of RM1,200 per month. Renewal of work permit after 1 year is about RM1k. Now bring out your calculator and start counting. The average monthly salary of a Filipina maid on a 2-year contract is RM1,616 per month!! That is equivalent to the starting salary of some fresh graduates??
After discussing with the hubs, he still thinks that hiring part-time maids who come in several times in a week is the best solution. I need part-time maids who can come between 6pm - 8pm as this period is the busiest time for me -- preparation to cook dinner, piles of dishes, wok and pots to wash and scrub and messy floor to mop after dinner. I have called 3 part-time maid agencies today and only 1 agency (working on a very tight schedule) can provide a part-time maid to me, who can come in on Monday and Thursday from 6-8pm. Cost is about RM260 for 8 sessions (twice weekly, 2 hours each session). For other days of the week, I will have no choice but to slog like a dog for the sake of my 3 angels. If not for the 3 of them, I would have eaten out everyday, just like what I did before they came along. But back then, life was a tad lonely and incomplete without them and they are my missing pieces to my complete jig saw puzzle now :)