When I first moved to Bangkok, Thailand, having a maid was a strange thing.
Growing up in the west, my family had never had maids so, when I suddenly had one, for a while I really didn’t know how to treat her. At first, it was uncomfortable having a maid as, from a western perspective, you feel a bit like you are supporting some form of slavery.
Once you become used to Thai culture though and realize that, for many people, being a maid is a step up from a job in the fields or selling food on the street, you start to look at maids a little differently and treat them differently too.
Treat Your Maid With Respect – During my years living in Thailand, I have come across a fair few western expats who aren’t so nice to their maids. They treat them like indentured servants, watch every move they make because they don’t trust them, talk about them badly to their friends then, the minute the poor maid makes one false move, they fire her.
I have learned over the years that, if you treat your maid with respect in Thailand, most of the time you will reap the rewards.
She will work harder for you, she will take care of things better for you, she will give you some great advice about things you know nothing about, and she will do a great job protecting your house when you are away.
Treat your maid with respect, just like you would any human being, and you’ll immediately find your relationship with her improves.
Trust Your Maid – So many westerners in Thailand start out their employer-employee relationship with the maid by deciding they don’t trust her. Now, I am from a family where my parents always taught me to trust people first. Only when they prove you cannot trust them do you treat them like you can’t.
In the years I have lived in Thailand, I have had three maids. I have trusted all of them implicitly, left them alone in my house for hours on end, and given them money to buy things at the store.
I have never once been stolen from, taken advantage of or treated poorly. Every Thai maid I have had has been honest, hard-working and an incredibly helpful person to have around.
Be Generous With Your Maid – Having a maid in Thailand is extremely inexpensive.
Most people pay their maids between 8,000 and 10,000 baht a month ($266-$333). This is for a live-in maid who will also be given a small room, with use of a bathroom and television.
My maids are not live-in, they just clean for me a couple of times a week, so my current cost for a maid is 2,000 baht ($66) a month.
But, above and beyond the basic salary, I also tip her every time she comes to clean, as well as often buy her small things (a t shirt, a scarf, snacks, clothing for her kids) in gratitude for her help.
If you are generous to your maid in Thailand, because so many people are not, you will find she works harder for you and takes care of things even better.
Talk To Your Maid – At the company I worked for we had four maids in our department. They took care of cleaning the bathrooms, clean the offices themselves, wash the dishes after lunch, wash coffee cups, bring the executives (myself included) cups of coffee, tea and water.
They served small snacks, and even bought and prepared breakfast and lunch for the executive level employees.
My office was near the kitchen area so I saw the maids often and, every day, I made sure I talked to them. They taught me Thai, teased me about my western behavior, they brought me new Thai snacks to try, and generally treated me like a special daughter.
Talking to the maids made my work day just that little more fun, and I also learned more about Thai language and Thai culture.
Having a maid in Thailand may seem a little odd at first, but it is amazing how quickly you get used to it.
Besides, maids in Thailand, for the most part, have jobs they are proud of, treat their employees with respect, and generally put in a hard day’s work for a sometimes-not-so-fair day’s pay.
It is only fair therefore that you treat your maid with a bit of respect and she will thank you with loyalty and friendship.