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Maid for Ramadan
Increased demand for housekeepers in Saudi Arabia ahead of the holy month is encouraging maids to demand higher pay and better working conditions, reports Arab News.
August 19, 2009 9:50 by Aarti Nagraj
With Ramadan round the corner, the demand for housemaids has snowballed and, with it, the cost of hiring them. As there are not enough maids to meet the demand, the housemaids have insisted on a number of work conditions: they will only cook meals if their employers increase their salaries; they require weekly or fortnightly holidays; and they will not handle more than one request at a time.
Most of the times the families, which are in desperate need of household help, especially during the holy month of Ramadan, have no other option but to acquiesce to the maids’ demands.
It is a marked shift in attitude toward housekeepers in Saudi Arabia.
“I came to Madinah about 15 years ago. At that time I did not know Arabic. Now I am fluent in the language. My salary cannot remain the same as when I first came,” said Mariam, an Ethiopian maid who does not have a valid resident permit. She said she is not only in command of the language now, but she is well aware of favorite Saudi dishes and Saudi traditions and values.
“I am now a real house lady. I do not only cook Saudi food but I also help in the upbringing of children. My salary cannot be less than SR1,500 ($400). I am also entitled to a day off every two weeks to go home and rest,” she said.