QCOSTARICA | Looking for a maid in Costa Rica can seem an easy thing, whether for full-time or part-time, in reality can be stressful and costly.
While there many small and informal agencies to help employers and domestic workers connect, several have built a reputation, one, like Domésticas CR, had business for 20 years.
Domésticas CR, Agencia de Empleadas Domésticas GDL, Femme and Esposas de Alquiler (wives for hire), offer options to meet the needs of its customers.
While a typical agency will change ¢20,000 colones for their services, others charge up to ¢75,000 or more. The fee assures the employer to connect with the right domestic worker, meeting the needs of hours, days worked and special needs. In some cases, the agency takes over the payroll process and assures that social security (Caja) contributions are made.
And while some agencies simply recommend a domestic worker, others do background checks, require reference letters and even a police record before presenting to the client.
Agencies can recommend the correct wage for full time work, or the number of hours to clean a small apartment, for example. Hiring through an agency can also reduce the possibility of theft and are there to help in the even of an accident.
A point often overlooked by employers is the trustworthiness of the person they are allowing into their homes, to their pesonal lives. The biggest fear has certainly to be theft, yet, is easily overlooked, taking on a maid that just happened to knock on their door at the right moment or a friend of a friend of a friend.
Hiring through a company allows a third-party to intervene in the event of an incident.
Many foreigners in Costa Rica hire a domestic to clean their home, look after their property, pets and even childcare. Often they forget the social responsibility that comes with the hiring, such as payments to the Caja, minimum wage, hours of work, conditions of employment , worker rights and bonuses, like the Aguinaldo, the year-end bonus payable by law to every salaried employee. And the process and responsibility of severance pay when the relationship comes to an end.
The current monthly minimum salary for a domestic worker (Servidoras domésticas) full time is ¢169,142 (US$316), plus meals.