MUMBAI: As Lockdown 4.0 looms, Mumbaikars want to be better prepared. In the bargain, the best offers are going out to domestic staffers to convince them to convert from part-time to live-in. The biggest premium is a higher salary, but other fancies thrown into the deal include the wifi password for data access, a movie during the weekend and a home visit every fortnight.
The three phases of lockdown have clearly left women pining for the maids. While societies are still debating whether maids should be let in or not, some families are clear — they want to avoid the coming and going of bais.
Anupam Sinhal of online maid agency Bookmybai said they have been getting at least 80 to 100 inquiries for live-in maids per day since the beginning of Lockdown 3.0. Sinhal said they placed as many as 45 live-in maids in the city on May 12.
Priya Tandon, a Powai resident, said: “I had a live-in for several years but she got married and is now doing odd jobs at several homes. I’ve now approached her to join me temporarily till the air is clear on the lockdowns.”
Many of Sinhal’s clients have also been requesting their part-time maids to work full-time. However, Sinhal, whose firm made around 2,000 calls on May 12 to part-time workers asking whether they would like to change, says only three agreed. “Not many maids are agreeing as they have their families, children and other obligations,” said Sinhal, who believes the situation might change when the part-time workers find themselves without jobs.
Ankita Singh, a resident of Wadala who used to work in a mall toilet, is one of those willing to change. She grabbed the chance when a man from her slum who works as a security guard in a residential tower offered her a job to join a family as a live-in. “Close to 30 women of my area who were in malls and shops have been offered higher salaries by different homes in that society,” she said.
“We also get Wifi connection to make a video calls to our families. We get some time off every day. And since we can’t step out, we will get to see TV every weekend,” she said with a smile.
Another online domestic help provider Mychores.in has been getting almost 6 to 8 enquiries per day for live-in maids, chiefly from working couples across the city. “The demand for live-in help has been more or less consistent through the lockdown but it has gone up in the last week or so,” said Andrew V, founder and CEO, adding that they have been unable to meet the demand due to restrictions on the movement of domestic help.