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
Another illegal Indonesian maid, who refused to give her name, said she was working as a hostess in wedding halls, especially during the summer season, for SR2000 ($533) a month. “Because there are no weddings during Ramadan, we work in houses at a lesser price until marriage season begins again,” she said.
Many of the Saudi housewives who talked to Arab News were embittered by their failure to obtain housemaids to help them during Ramadan because of the higher prices. “All the housemaids I contacted asked for salaries of SR1,400 ($373) a month minus cooking and with a weekly holiday. Those who do not speak Arabic would demand a monthly salary between SR800 ($214) and SR1,000 ($267),” said Ihlam Omar.
She said she is desperate to find household help during Ramadan, during which her children will be on vacation.
“They have turned the house upside down. I cannot control them. I need someone to help me,” she cried.
Um Mahmoud, an aging Saudi woman, said her maid went home on her annual vacation and she was still looking in vain for a replacement.
“They all asked for high salaries and weekly holidays. They also threaten that they could not care for a large number of guests in the house,” she said.
Asked to comment on the issue of housemaids staying without iqamas, a spokesman for the Madinah passport police, Lt. Col. Saad Al-Zaidi, said they were doing their best to catch and deport men and women who were illegal workers.
He asked Saudi citizens to cooperate with the passport police and to inform them about anyone staying without an iqama. He also warned against hiding such people and said whoever hides an illegal alien will be subject to harsh punishments.