Most expats living in Bali tend to have at least one staff member under their employment. It is sometimes a controversial topic, as in western countries it is very rare to have a maid in your home, and some feel it is inappropriate to keep a servant. That is a very skewed way of looking at the situation though.
For an expat living in Bali a maid’s service can be invaluable, and it also provides a job to a local who may otherwise not have any work. As long as you treat your staff with the respect that any human being deserves, there should be no reason for anyone to think any less of you for employing a maid.
A maid’s salary can vary depending on the situation of her working condition and her skills. A maid who speaks English at a level of fluency to be able to understand a person brand new to Bali is obviously going to cost a bit more. Many locals who employ maids (pembantu in Bahasa Indonesia) usually opt for a live-in maid, who will live in a small room of their house. This concept usually seems a little strange to most foreigners, having an extra person around the house all the time, but it is pretty standard. If you choose to have a live-in maid, her monthly salary will be much lower because you will be providing her accommodation and you will also be expected to provide all of her meals and other needs like soap and other hygiene products. An average salary for a live-in maid could be anywhere from rp 500,000 to rp 1,000,000, with most locals employing maids for around rp 500,000 and many expats going up to 1,000,000 per month and sometimes even more.
For those that don’t feel comfortable with having an extra person living in their house all the time, having a maid that comes in the morning and leaves at night is also a popular option, although is a bit more expensive as she will be responsible for paying for her own accommodation and food while not working for you. This will cost you approximately rp 600,000 to rp 1,000,000 per month, with the former being on more of a half-day basis and the latter on a full time scale.
Maid salaries can be controversial, but as long as both you and she are happy with the price agreed upon then all should be alright. A maid just like any other employee will over time expect saome raises for cost of living and also for their hard work. If you start out paying over the going rate, you might be confused later down the line about how to handle a raise for her.
As far finding a maid to look after your house, the person renting you your house will probably be able to recommend someone to you, although he may have vested interest as it is very possible it will be a member of his family. This will cause some tension later on down the road if there is a problem and you need to let your maid go. Another popular option is to find someone from the area that you live in, which will not only help to give you a bit of respect in your community for employing a member of the village, but she will also know more of the goings on in your area and will be more capable of helping out with certain things. The one thing to remember is to treat your maid well and with respect, and if you find one that you really like, don’t let her go because a good, reliable and hard-working maid is worth her weight in gold in Bali.
There are some services out there that will help to find maids for people that are in need of one and don’t have any leads on where to look. Many of these places will have maids that are already trained and usually have skills in English to help to make things easier. Some places like that are listed below.