NEWS

Hiring Housekeepers & Other Domestic Helpers in Mexico


Many people in Mexico hire domestic help to assist with home chores—most usually for routine home cleaning and general upkeep, although helpers can provide other types of home based assistance, too.

This article describes how to find house keepers in Mexico, how they work, and the responsibilities that come with having a housekeeper or other domestic helper working at your home.

Common types of domestic helpers in Mexico

Housekeepers are the most commonly-hired home help.  They typically attend a home for one to six days a week, depending on the household’s needs, and some housekeepers live-in at the home.

Gardeners, part-time or full-time, are common at larger homes with extensive gardens to maintain, and at gated communities and condominium developments that have green areas requiring constant attendance.

Pool maintenance helpers are also common in gated communities and may also be hired to maintain a pool at a larger private home.

Some domestic helpers provide practical living assistance to help people with their daily home routines.  These workers are especially helpful to people who are are elderly, have low mobility or need extra care at certain times, perhaps during a period of convalescence.

Wealthy households might have live-in housekeepers who work full-time six days a week, although most people hire a housekeeper only part-time—typically for up to one or two days a week.

Finding a reliable housekeeper in Mexico

Finding a reliable housekeeper in Mexico most often requires you to use your social skills and people networks.  Most reliable housekeepers are found and hired on a referral basis. Here are some tips for scouting for a housekeeper to help at your home in Mexico.

Finding housekeepers through previous owners and occupiers

Housekeepers working at a certain property might have been attending that home for many years. If you are moving into a rented house or buying an existing home, you might be asked if you wish to employ the housekeeper that already works there, or you may ask the property owner or house seller about any housekeepers they know who are looking for work.

If you are buying a house, it’s not uncommon for the previous owners to offer to introduce you to any existing home helpers they might hire, most commonly a housekeeper and/or gardener.

Helpers referred by property owners or previous occupiers is an ideal way of getting introduced to potential new housekeepers (and other helpers), because workers who have been ‘with the property’ for some time tend to be the most reliable; they live locally, they know the property and have a history with the previous owners or occupiers. Loyalty that has been built-up, perhaps over many years, can reflect in reliability for you.

You will, however, need to negotiate terms and cultivate your own relationship with the people who you hire to help at your house and be able to express to them (in Spanish) what you require.

Finding a housekeeper through other referral channels

If you want to hire domestic help but don’t have the convenience of a previous owner or occupier’s reference, common ways to find a housekeeper include:

  • Asking your neighbors, friends, and work colleagues for connections to people they know.
  • Sometimes a neighbor who hires a housekeeper one or two days a week may be able to refer you to their housekeeper who might be looking for an additional day(s) to fill in their work week.
  • If you live in a gated community or condominium development, ask the Home Owner Association about any housekeepers they might know, or post an ad on the community notice board.  Gated communities usually operate WhatsApp groups, which are another way to ask for referrals.
  • Visit any local community centers you may attend to look for ads on notice boards, and ask community members for references or referrals.
  • Search and ask on online community groups related to the location in Mexico where you live. Sometimes community members will post a notice if their housekeeper (or someone they know) is looking for additional work
  • If someone you know (or is part of a local community group) is moving away, they might want to help the housekeeper find new employment.
  • Sometimes a neighbor, friend or work colleague may have a housekeeper who has a friend or family member looking for work.
  • Some people put a notice on their front door asking for a housekeeper—although that’s less common now than it used to be.  This ought to be a last resort effort, as it’s always preferable to hire by referral.
  • If the referral is not a direct contact from someone you know and trust, carefully interview the candidates to get a feel for them and their previous experience, ask about others homes they help (or have helped) and ask for references.

Communication is key – in Spanish

Having a reliable housekeeper can be an enormous help, especially if you are older or have mobility issues and need someone to help you keep your daily routines, house and home in good order.

Fluent and clear communication to the key to cultivate a good working relationship with your housekeeper, and you must to be able to speak Spanish to hire domestic help to guide them and give them instructions about what work you need undertaken in your home—as well as any details about how you might want certain routines carried out.

If your Spanish language skills are not apt for this, have someone interpret for you, and if that person is not part of your household or a close neighbor who can and is willing to regularly assist, it’s a good idea to write out the routine of work you want doing and have the interpreter express this to the housekeeper so that the person who attends your home is briefed and will know what to do routinely.

How day-visit housekeepers and some other domestic employees work in your home

Most housekeepers and other domestic employees (e.g. gardeners, pool maintenance people) only visit for some hours during the day.

Housekeepers’ schedules

House helpers, whether day-workers or live-in housekeepers, work a maximum of six days a week. Under Mexican Law, all laborers are entitled to one day a week off work, and most people take Sundays off to be with their family.

Some housekeepers might work all day, others may work a half day or only 2-3 hours if the home is small.  In cases where they work less than a full day, housekeepers will usually want a nearby neighbor to hire them on the same day, to make their commute worthwhile.

Gardeners’ schedules

Depending on the size of your garden, gardeners might attend for a a few hours, or work at your property one or more days a week. Properties with large or well-developed and manicured gardens may have a full-time gardener.

Pool maintenance

If you have a swimming pool at your property (your private residence or gated community) the pool maintenance people will usually come at least one or two days a week; some will attend daily—their visits tend to be short as they will be managing pools for several properties in the area where you live.

Arrival and departure times

Schedules will vary, and are by negotiation.

Housekeepers

If you live in Mexico City, or some other large city in Mexico, housekeepers might have a long way to travel to your house and therefore may not be able to arrive very early in the morning; however, they might stay later into the evening or night before finishing their day.

Ask your housekeeper about their commute and essential family routines so that you can be sensitive to their needs in regard to and arrival and departure times; for example, some housekeepers may have children to drop-off at a local school before they travel to your home.

Gardeners and pool maintenance

If your gardener only comes periodically, e.g. every two weeks, or once a month, they will likely arrive on the agreed date, but arrival times may vary.  If your gardener has a regular schedule one or more days a week, they will likely arrive in the morning at or around an agreed time.

Pool maintenance teams will either attend the property daily, or periodically as agreed with the owner.  Most pool maintenance teams work in defined areas and go to several properties for an hour or less each day; they may stay longer if the pool has a specific issue, e.g., the rains cause the water to turn green.

Providing refreshment for day-helpers

Housekeepers who attend your home during the day ought be given an hour’s break if they work the entire day, or short breaks if they are working part day. It’s appropriate to have water/juice available for them.  Gardeners ought be provided with a reliable supply of fresh drinking water, as a minimum.

Meals for housekeepers

Not all people provide a meal to their housekeeper, but it’s appreciated, good practice, and we recommend you do. A common practice if the housekeeper will do some cooking as part of their routine is for them to eat part of the food they prepare for you and your family.  Otherwise, ask what they enjoy eating and have some of those fresh ingredients stocked so that they may prepare a meal for themselves.

Errands and shopping

Some housekeepers will be prepared to go out and do simple shopping for you.  If you ask them to do this, be sure to give them enough cash for the purchases you ask for, as well as their public transportation to the market/store, and back.

If what you ask them to buy is going to be heavy or bulky, e.g., a large order of fresh fruit and vegetables, you ought to pay for a return cab.

Insurance to cover housekeepers and other workers in your home

Whether you own or rent your home in Mexico you can purchase home insurance that will cover injury claims and medical expenses for any workers that attend your property and who do not live there, for example, day-worker housekeepers and gardeners, as well any ad-hoc workers you may hire, e.g. plumbers, carpenters, etc.

Learn more, and get an instant quote and coverage online

Live-in housekeepers

Live-in housekeepers are not as common as they were in bygone eras, but there are plenty of housekeepers who continue to live-in at homes to provide day-long support without having to commute back-and-fro to their home each day.

Some housekeepers prefer a live-in arrangement as it provides regular full time employment, one day (usually Sunday) plus public holidays to rest, and no need to spend time and money commuting each work day.

If you hire a live-in housekeeper in Mexico, you will be expected to provide suitable and comfortable accommodations (most larger houses and condos in Mexico have housekeeper’s quarters) as well as all meals and usually a uniform or other suitable work clothing.

Live-in housekeepers can expect one day per week off work as well as all Mexican public holidays off and may require extra time off for family emergencies and exceptional occasions (e.g., weddings, funerals).  The family unit is an important concept in Mexico and it’s therefore appropriate to ask your live-in housekeeper about their family routines and and be sensitive to their personal and family needs as these arise.

Rates of pay for housekeepers and other domestic helpers in Mexico

Check with your neighbors and/or friends and colleagues about the current daily pay rates for housekeepers in your area.

Housekeepers and domestic helpers working in larger cities (especially Mexico City) are paid more in good part because they often have a long commute involved in getting to and from your home.

The Aguinaldo

A Christmas bonus (Aguinaldo) is expected and required by law, equal to at least two-weeks of their pro-rata pay, and it’s appropriate to pay four weeks.

For example, if they work for you two days a week, and you want to pay two weeks bonus, the bonus is four day’s pay (2 days x 2 weeks); if they work for six days a week, the bonus is 12 day’s pay (6 days x 2 weeks).

Many households will pay four weeks’ equivalent pro-rata pay as a Christmas bonus, especially to long-serving housekeepers and other helpers. In the examples above, this equates to a payment equal to eight days’ pay (2 days x 4 weeks) and 24 days’ pay (6 days x 4 weeks), respectively.

Making payment

Most payments to housekeepers and other domestic helpers are paid in cash, although some housekeepers might accept payment via local bank transfer.

Day-helpers: Housekeepers (and others) who work one day a week in your home are paid daily on the day they attend; if they attend two your home two or more days a week, you may pay them on the last day of that week’s work.

Live-in housekeepers: Most live-in housekeepers are paid every 15 days and some are paid weekly.  Some may ask to be paid in cash, although others might accept payment via local bank transfer, especially when you’re paying every two weeks.

Employment law, healthcare, and well-being

Changes in Mexico’s laws now stipulate that people who hire domestic employees (housekeepers, gardeners, etc.) register at the Mexican Health Service website.

By doing this, the housekeeper/other helper receives health and medical coverages from Mexico’s social security institute, the IMSS.  The employer (homeowner) is also required to pay a tax to cover this cost, based on minimum salaries.

In practice, many housekeepers in Mexico, particularly those who only work a day or less per week at the house, continue to be informally employed by private homeowners (as well as those renting homes) as neither they nor the people employing them register.

Full-time and live-in housekeepers are most likely to be registered under the scheme as they are effectively a full-time employee of the household they work for.

If your housekeeper is informally employed by you, there is a tacit understanding (culturally) that you are responsible for medical costs (including medicines and medical equipment, where required) caused by any injuries which might be sustained while working in your home.

Furthermore, many householders who hire housekeepers, informally or as full-time housekeepers, and live-in housekeepers, contribute to their housekeeper’s well-being in a variety of ways, including, for example, giving some support to them or their families in times of exceptional need (medical, emergencies) as well as remembering their children’s birthdays and other special occasions, e.g., wedding of their children.

Insurance to cover housekeepers and other workers in your home

Whether you own or rent your home in Mexico you can purchase home insurance that will cover injury claims and medical expenses for any workers that attend your property and who do not live there, for example, day-worker housekeepers and gardeners, as well any ad-hoc workers you may hire, e.g. plumbers, carpenters, etc.

Learn more, and get an instant quote and coverage online

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