Most individuals in the Kingdom, whether a Saudi or expat, will usually employ a housemaid. So many opt to have a fulltime live-in housemaid as the cost to do so is overall reasonable and it is very convenient. Others like me, for whatever reason, may choose to have someone who comes in part time and does not live in.
There are pros and cons to both options. A full time housemaid is usually a housemaid which the individual has sponsored directly. By sponsoring, I am referring where one has requested a housemaid from an agency, pays the agency fee as well as the costs associated with acquisition of a visa and airline ticket. The housemaid then arrives in the Kingdom under the direct sponsorship of the individual (not the agency) and the individual is identified as the sponsor on the iqama of the housemaid. In the majority of cases, the employer (individual) usually retains the housemaid’s iqama and passport. You might read that last sentence and immediately wonder “why?” or think “that doesn’t sound fair.” The reason is because many housemaids shortly after arrival may try to run away from their employers.
Housemaids will attempt (or succeed) in running away for various reasons. A lot of them come here already having friends, relatives, boyfriends in the Kingdom. Naturally they want to be reunited with them. Yes; some housemaids are abused by families whether it is physical, mental or simply treating them like a slave. Other housemaids run away for they quickly discover they can earn more money by “freelancing” than by working for one steady employer. In those cases, the housemaid will usually live with a group of others of the same nationality and they have their own network for finding various jobs. However these groups are now in the Kingdom illegally (without appropriate documentation on their person) and if such a housemaid is hired, it is difficult to check up on them in the event of items getting broken in your home or problems such as thievery.
So to wrap up about a full time housemaid before segueing to part time…a full time housemaid really does become part of the family. She is in the home 24/7. Depending on the family she may be given a day off from work one day a week but even so, still relies upon the sponsoring family to go anywhere if she wishes (remember, the sponsor likely retains the iqama and passport).
The part time housemaid as I alluded to in earlier paragraphs is someone who is already in the Kingdom and not sponsored by the individual hiring her part time. In the majority of cases she is an illegal having come to the Kingdom and either she has run away from her sponsor or may have been in the Kingdom legally but the iqama expired. In the minority of cases she is a legal resident of the Kingdom with a valid iqama. There are a number of Saudis who will sponsor housemaids and drivers but rather than have the housemaid or driver work for them will instead collect a monthly fee from them in turn for the sponsorship. These individuals are then free to find their own work and way in the Kingdom.
If engaging a part time housemaid in the Kingdom, whether she is legal or illegal, be prepared to pay an hourly rate and usually a higher rate than compared to having a full time housemaid. The average going rate for a part time housemaid is 30 SAR per hour. Some housemaids will accept a daily rate and agree to work until an entire house is cleaned to satisfaction. These rates can vary.
With any housemaid and especially a part time housemaid it is ideal to have them work with supervision. This tactic assures a return on the investment and that the housemaid is indeed working the expected hours agreed upon. The terms and scope of work must be made clear. She may need to be reminded of house rules, especially when concerning the use of appliances. If a home has multiple currents like mine (both 110 and 220) be sure and implement some kind of a color code system that is easy for a housemaid to understand in regards to what appliances can or cannot be plugged in where!
For a part time housemaid, I recommend knowing her situation. Be aware if she is legal or not. Offer in the beginning to pick her up and return her to her residence. Make every effort to confirm that she truly lives where she says she lives. She’s part time, you’re not her sponsor so you will not be holding her passport or an iqama in case of any difficulties. Therefore do your homework.
If she is not a legal resident of the Kingdom, ask yourself if you are willing to take the risk of employing an illegal alien. This is especially most common in Mecca where many will come to perform hajj or umrah and not return, instead preferring to remain in the Kingdom and take various odd jobs. If an illegal is apprehended by authorities she will be deported unceremoniously back to her home country. I’m not exactly sure what repercussions are faced by the one employing a housemaid illegally as to whether there are fines to pay. It would not surprise me if that were the case.
A part time housemaid can work out well if she is reliable, dependable and trustworthy. Determining these factors can be challenging sometimes.