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How to hire an indonesian employee ( helper )

Hi
I am going to Bali tomorrow to meet my agent to process my retirement Visa, I will be choosing my Villa but I have no idea how to hire an Indonesian Employee ( Helper) any advise will be appreciated

Hey there.

You are not going to hire an employee. An employee indicates that you will have a business and then a working relationship usually here. And the remuneration is often regulated by labour laws.

What you need is a helper or called locally by:
PRT (Pembantu rumah tangga or in short Pembantu)

Prices varied. You need to establish whether you need in-house or out-call.
Your best avenue initially is to ask around on locally where you live.
If you live in a villa, ask your villa management, owner, or housing agent.
Or you can pay an agent fee for one of those Helper Agencies, and has a greater selection and 'warranty changeover'.

Ask for the standard price range in your neck of the woods. For locals and not foreigners.
For long term retention,  increase a few hundred thousand Rupiah than the standard local rate, taking account work experience - whether can cook or not.
However, if you require an English speaking helper. You are most likely already paying an inflated price for foreigners. In this case, you pay a premium price willingly.

Ask the landlord/landlady. There may be one who has already worked there before and might be willing to work there again. Find one that lives very close to your villa. Treat them nicely and show them respect. Don't get angry with them. Be kind to them.

Pembantu (maids) are available easily, but vary in ability.
We've had a couple of total duffers, but also some very good ones.
If you don't know anyone, your security guards probably will.

There are also lots of agencies available, and they'll commonly have English speaking people available, but they add a premium for special skills.
Agencies will also take a percentage of the maid's salary, so be careful of that.

Monthly salaries start at about a million, and go up from there.
I've heard of people paying a lot less, but that's extremely unfair and I won't have anything to do with it.
If you get a good one, increase her salary from time to time without her asking for it.

Don't be surprised if a sixteen year old girl turns up with three years working experience - a lot of girls drop out of school as soon as they finish primary because their parents can't afford the cost of educating them.

If she's live in, you'll be expected to provide a reasonable room, but most medium sized houses and above commonly have maid's quarters built in.
You see houses listed as 3+1, meaning three bedrooms and a maid's room. The same goes for bathrooms. 2+1 meaning two toilets/bathrooms and one for the maid.

.....................

We have pembantu/maids since the 1980s. (It has become an endangered profession increasingly really).
Depending your house size, you often need 1 to 3 person in the house. (some houses need 5 person)

I have stories of maids who are total duds.... and total gems.

So far you can meet worst case scenario for maids:
- unmotivated
- steal food while you are not looking
- steal clothes or small things inside bag while leaving
- break stuff and not telling
- ask to leave after 1 day/1 month / 3 months of work with a variety of excuses
- running away in the middle of the night or while you are not home
- promise to return but never call back.
- have an affair inside your house or outside your house
- mentally unstable: like to shout, sing songs, or kesurupan (demon possessed)

Sometimes you wonder if you need 'management' degree to manage all those.

Maids usually wake up 5 am and sleep 9 pm. They often know what to do without asking. Just equip them, and they will do it. And finer points details you have to communicate your likes or dislikes.
They start young. And many good ones are made of tougher mettle than most men.
The 'normal' working cycle/end-time period is until the Lebaran (Muslim New Year).

Well, the above woman is asking for advice is looking for a pembantu in Bali, which is different to Jakarta or Bandung or Surabaya. It is best to get one who lives nearby and get a Balinese one. It's actually not all that difficult to find one.

Hansson is absolutely correct.  The process of getting good domestic help is entirely different here in Bali than it is in the main urban centers of Java.

One similarity was already mentioned by Hansson, that being the good chance that any existing villa you are about to lease may already have staff.  That would apply to villas rented out by foreign owners as well as villas owned by local Indonesians.  With many villas “owned” and rented out by primarily absent foreign landlords, very often the folks leasing will have no other choice.   

In the absence of any current in place staff, the best way to go about finding someone is to call on the head of the village where your villa is located.  You should do this anyway, if only to present yourself and establish “adat” relations within the village.  To whatever degree possible it is ALWAYS best to hire staff from within the village you are living.  And in your case Fifitadog, not needing full time or live in staff, this is essential.

Ubudian :

In the absence of any current in place staff, the best way to go about finding someone is to call on the head of the village where your villa is located.  You should do this anyway, if only to present yourself and establish “adat” relations within the village.  To whatever degree possible it is ALWAYS best to hire staff from within the village you are living.  And in your case Fifitadog, not needing full time or live in staff, this is essential.

I want to also state the importance of what Ubudian says about presenting yourself to the Head of the Village. Here in Bandung, and probably most other places it is expected, and extremely polite to introduce yourself to the Chairman of the direct area where you live. It means also that should you have any problems later on, you can easily speak with the Chairman of the small area or Head of the village for help or advice. The neighbours or the security guards in the area will tell you where the Chairman or Head lives. Just call in and introduce yourself, tell them where you are from and what you are doing in Indonesia etc.

Furthermore, it is sometimes required to get a signature from the Chairman (and those above him) such as proving to Immigration that you actually live at the address you have provided them. So it is a good idea to introduce yourself soon after you move into an area.

Very true, what you wrote Hansson.

Regarding yourself, I’m likely “preaching to the choir” however, there are
way too many newly arrived expats to Bali that fail to understand the importance of establishing themselves within their village.

Balinese life centers around their family, and their kampung (village).  Within the Balinese village there are two forms of adat, and adat is best described as the governing body or establisher of rules concerning secular and spiritual matters.  While a foreigner is never “forced” to embrace adat within their village, the fact is, they will never enjoy all the benefits of mutual co-existence that comes from compliance and willing participation to the village adat.   

The heads of Balinese villages are most often called, Kepala Desa.  They are voted into their office, and they can hold two five year terms. 

IMHO, it is best if one meets the Kepala Desa of the village even BEFORE they contract a rental.  It’s always very easy to meet them…just ask anyone in the village where their compound is located.  One can either arrange an appointment, or (and as the Balinese would do), simply drop by their compound.  At first meeting, it’s customary to bring some gifts…and, once again, it’s best to do what the Balinese would do…bring some ground coffee, some sugar, and some sweet cakes. 

You’ll be very welcomed to sit and talk, and this is the best opportunity you will have to announce your intentions, desire, and reasons why you would like to become part of that village.

The importance of initially presenting yourself (first impressions) cannot be overstated.  And, in my experience, it is primarily the failure to do this which eventually leads to disaster with many expats to Bali.

Thank you Everyone!! I did follow your advise and I got a helper Monday to Friday , and she lives nearby.

Be Careful... legally, you must have a written or verbal contract for each and every employee, unless you are contracting for a limited scope, short-period job (like hiring a contractor to fix something in your villa).  And by law, when you terminate an Indonesian employee (even for misconduct!) you have to continue to pay them substantial amounts - on a monthly basis, for an unbelievably long period of time in addition to what is effectively severance pay.  In addition, if you do not have residency in Indo or the correct visa/kitas, etc., you are legally not allowed to employ people.  Crazy country, crazy rules. (Not a problem UNTIL you irritate a local, then watch out!  As a Bule, you must follow each and every rule/law/custom here to the letter of the law (unlike the locals - just look at any street and you will soon see under age children and those without helmets driving motorbikes).  But you, the "rich" Bule?  Try it... then get your wallet out and pay big bucks for the "fine" - (nothing more than a bribe in reality).

This might well not apply on the island of Bali as it's mostly Hindu but, if the maid is Muslim, you'll be expected to pay double wages for the month of Ramadan, and she'll expect at least a week off with no penalty.

tmk40126 :

Be Careful... legally, you must have a written or verbal contract for each and every employee, unless you are contracting for a limited scope, short-period job (like hiring a contractor to fix something in your villa).  And by law, when you terminate an Indonesian employee (even for misconduct!) you have to continue to pay them substantial amounts - on a monthly basis, for an unbelievably long period of time in addition to what is effectively severance pay.  In addition, if you do not have residency in Indo or the correct visa/kitas, etc., you are legally not allowed to employ people.  Crazy country, crazy rules. (Not a problem UNTIL you irritate a local, then watch out!  As a Bule, you must follow each and every rule/law/custom here to the letter of the law (unlike the locals - just look at any street and you will soon see under age children and those without helmets driving motorbikes).  But you, the "rich" Bule?  Try it... then get your wallet out and pay big bucks for the "fine" - (nothing more than a bribe in reality).

HAHA.... that is quite funny actually.
But I often do agree with the sentiments... Crazy country... crazy rules.

Anyway, there are bound to be 'nice' locals in your network. If you make friends with them, you will know what you can do and what you cannot do.
Indonesian law won't touch you if you don't do something deemed outright illegal. For most, they are quite tolerant society. If you get "fines" you are indeed getting a slap in the wrist. Trust me.

One important key is learn the language.

If you have been an expat in Indonesia and cannot speak the language, then you learn nothing at all.

way too many newly arrived expats to Bali that fail to understand the importance of establishing themselves within their village.

With the exception of the expat ghettos (Crazy expensive serviced apartments with swimming pools), that applies to the whole of Indonesia.
Always take a wander around your new area with a bright smile, especially when it come to meeting the village head (Pak RT and RW).
There's a better than average chance they'll know someone who wants to work as a maid, so double bonus.

tmk40126 :

Be Careful... legally, you must have a written or verbal contract for each and every employee

Want a job?
Yes
1.2 million/month?
OK

Contract completed.

Are you saying people actually make written contracts with maids?
Perhaps if you use an agency, but no one I know has ever done so, and I know a lot of people with maids.

"Are you saying people actually make written contracts with maids?"

Fred is 100% spot on insofar as here in Bali. 

The best way to find domestic help in Bali is to consult and ask the kepala desa (head of the village) where you live.

In Bali, ALWAYS hire a local girl.

heh... I thought most recent apartments in Indonesia would have pools as a standard. Those without pools I havent seen in my life...
I do disagree that apartments is bad living in Indonesia.
Many middle class Indonesian find apartments to be affordable and easy access to a variety of services. 

However, the bummer part is the high monthly service fees... I recommend renting rather than buying an apartment. There are plenty to choose from.
Just dont choose those with serviced apartments, with dollar rates geared to expats.

It is really cheap....  compared to overseas living rates.

And most apartments come with maid room/bathroom too.

You do realize, (I hope) that this thread is about hiring domestic help in BALI.  ;)

Yes... I realize this is about domestic help (and we have both local security personnel and pimbantus ("maids") working for us.

Yes...  people do "actually make written contracts with maids" - IF they understand the law AND they want to protect themselves! 

After years of living and working in Indonesia, we all understand that there's a double-standard here:  one for Bules, another for locals.  You can't change it; it makes no difference if its fair, legal, ethical ,etc. - its just the way it is, so understand and accept it (and realize that much of this is due to Indonesians being subjugated for 400 years by White/Dutch occupation).  Same is true in Hawaii with local Hawaiians vs. "Haoles" (the Hawaiian version of Bule), where we are from.  (In this case, the locals were subjugated by British invaders, who overthrew the monarchy, jailed the reigning Hawaiian queen and imposed "white man's' law and customs on the populace).

What do you do?  Protect yourself by understanding and conforming to "the letter of the law", take the time to learn, then be respectful and understanding of local culture, customs and people - remembering this is their country and we are visitors here - regardless of how ridiculously frustrating it can get for Westerners.

Yes... if you fly under the radar, keep a low profile and don't piss anyone off, you will likely not need to do all the extra things required to be completely legal under the law.  Problem is, if you have ANY dispute of ANY kind here, you are exposed, and in the worst case (which has occurred, MANY times to Westerners, you get jailed and/or deported or at least heavily fined -  REALLY BIG fines). 

And remember, Bules always lose (and pay).  Again... just the way it is.

Finally, yes... by all means engage the Kepala Desa - its one way of showing respect and it will definitely help if any problems later arise.  By the way, also consult the Kepala Desa if you do later have a problem - he can be a powerfully ally (especially if you "contribute" to him).

The summary (ending) of your post is precisely the resolution to all the pitfalls you mention in the first part of your post.

My point being…the more one assimilates themselves into local Balinese society, the less the “double-standard here:  one for Bules, another for locals” is applicable.

Consider this…90% of “deals” or arrangements between the Balinese are by word of mouth (a hand shake).  No Balinese enters into employment contracts with their domestic staff (and yes, plenty of Balinese have domestic staff).  Even major work contracts are handled on a regular basis without a written agreement, and surely not a contract.

Also consider this…the chances of you, or any foreign expat here in Bali wining a dispute with a domestic worker (because you have an employment contract) is slim to none…and moreover, going down that road would pretty much determine that the rest of your years in that village will not be pleasant.

And finally consider this…your insistence to have an employment contract with a domestic worker in your village…a worker suggested by the kepala desa, would be an insult. 

You know the old phrase, trite as it is…”when in Rome, do as the Romans?” 

Sama, sama, here in Bali. 

The more you rely on living with their “rules” and are less reliant on “western rules” the more respect and appreciation for being a part of their village you will obtain.   

In Bali, there is essentially only one law that really matters...and that is village adat. 

The Balinese hardly ever call on the police, or seek outside legal remedy to the issues and disputes they face from time to time. 

Always keep in mind the famous line by Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. 

“Toto, we aren’t in Kansas anymore.”

No, you’re not.

I

The above is a truth.
Written contracts are probably pointless anyway as no one will much care about them.
I'm trying to imagine taking a maid to court for breaking her contract, but I'm rolling all over the floor when I try.
Kansas is a long way away.

I don't think you understand what I am saying:  Yes... written contracts are entirely pointless and unnecessary - unless and until you get into trouble, which most will not or will be able to settle by talking and negotiating.  Problem is when and if this fails and things get adversarial.

Perhaps you have never experienced this; perhaps you've never personally witnessed another who's had immigration or the local polisi show up at your/their doorstep for a technical "violation of the law"?

I have personally witnessed this happen (on several different occasions, with several different persons) and it has changed my perspective - which used to be like yours:  "Hey... nobody does that, its not necessary, its not the usual practice, etc. etc." 

Problems is, if trouble does start (and I personally have not had it happen to me), are you as fully protected as you can be (and will then need to be)?

But, watch a friend go to jail on a technicality (because he/she has angered someone - even while the accusation wascompletely bogus and without merit) and/or get deported - both of which I have seen.  Perhaps your perspective might change?

I am guessing that the scope of my activities here - owning and operating more than one Foreign Investment Company (PMA), hiring many employees, on many projects, etc., is a bit more far reaching than that of the average expat.

What you say is true.  And granted, there are many levels of rules, laws, procedures, policies, agreements here in Indo - its an amalgamation of so many different cultures, laws, rules, politics,  religions, etc.  And, while Bali is a bit over 80% Balinese, Indonesia is 87% Muslim and even in Bali, you will often be dealing with Muslims - as well as Christians, other religions, etc.)

And even with Balinese, in my experience and to my knowledge, I've never had any worker or the KD be "insulted".  (And we do consult with the many KDs, in the various areas we operate for new hires and many other matters - unless we are filling a highly technical position and it would clearly be out of the KD's scope).

OK... up to each and all how they proceed. 

I am simply sharing what I have learned - take or leave the advice/experience as you wish.  Just trying to help. 

As we all know,  sometimes lessons here in Indo just have to be learned the hard way.

Keeping in mind that I’ve been living here 24/7 for almost 18 years…yes, I have witnessed police and immigration “visits” with several expats, including myself.  And at one time, (very early on) I was threatened by the then head of immigration in Denpasar with deportation because I was doing computer related work while here on a sosbud visa.  In the “early days” we all lived here on sosbud visas as back then, there were far more limitations than these days. 

But no, it wasn’t a pay out that resolved the problem, in fact, quite the contrary.  It was a discussion…mild mannered, factual, and sincere. 

You ask the question, “are you as fully protected as you can be (and will then need to be)?”

Absolutely.  My family is my best protection, but my family is my entire village.  I’ve earned that “protection” by the way I’ve lived here, and for what I’ve done for my village without being asked.  But keep in mind, I don’t own any PMA companies, nor am I even a partner in any PT.   

As for a Balinese being insulted…the fact is, you’d never know when you insulted one.  They don’t react to insults in any sort of manner that would give you even the slightest clue that you just insulted them.  But yes, being married to one and being totally infused in Balinese society gives me a huge advantage in understanding them…and them…understanding me.  For expats not sharing that same experience, no question, the challenges are far greater…but the path remains the same. 

I’m a firm believer that when it comes to Bali, “many are called, but few are chosen.”  I’ve seen expats ebb and flow like the tides here…year after year.  As I see it, those foreigners who are most successful and happy living here on Bali are those who learned, sooner or later, to park their culture at the airport from which they flew here, and work hard at being willing to accept things that aren’t changeable, to work hard at those things which will benefit all, and to have the good sense to know the difference.

Roy is in a very happy position, one that I partially have and am working on improving.
As for a maid calling the cops, it'd have to be pretty serious for them to bother with, and that means heavy proof being required.
I do know of one case where a British dude got himself deported, but he was sexing the maid, and several other women.
That was always going to be a problem when he wife found out.

I agree with all you say Ubudian...

Yup... most issues can easily be resolved with friendly talk and negotiation. 

And... most expats are not married to Balinese, so you have a huge advantage there and likely will never have to face what many others have and will - not all, not always; perhaps most - never.  Especially if you live in Ubud, which is a relatively cultured community with much Bule interaction  (unlike most of the rest of Indonesia and it's 17,000 islands and many different cultures, some of which are still quite primitive, and unlike Ubud, no used to Bules).

Good for you!  I, too contribute to the community without being asked: giving many materials and supplies for local community construction projects, installing toilets in schools without them, donating goats, food and gifts at Ramadan, as well as labor and my equipment (including my expensive excavator, bulldozer and dump truck, etc.), cement building, bricks, besi (rebar) and other materials to construct new meeting rooms and facilities for several Kepala Desa, improvements to local masjids (mosques), installing drainage canals to help with mud-flows during Musim Hujan, etc., plus my much of employees time and energy - all good, all part of being a contributing member of one's community, desa, island, etc.

I encourage all to do the same - as did a good friend who recently spent 5 months in jail and got deported on a technicality (for something he had no part in).  Unusual, yes, an isolated incident, the likes of which has never happened to others - nope.

Go figure...

OK friend... done with this topic from my end.

Thank to all.

I am a local Indonesian citizen, born and experienced in Jakarta matters.
I employ up to 4 maids at a time. And it is similar with my friends or relatives employing up to 5 maids at a time.

What tmk40126 is saying is actually reasonable. Follow to the letter of the laws and you are least likely get trouble or be threatened when the situation arises. It is noted that he is staying in Lombok. Lombok is predominantly Muslim. And only recently even flouted the idea of Muslim tourism following Sharia laws. (no nudities on beach etc).

The laws relating to maids are actually quite complex and grey area. In actual, they have to have a sponsor to leave the village. Also for example, they are considered migrants to Jakarta, and by rights they have to report to Jakarta authorities.

If you employ through agency, you are normally covered and don't have to worry the bits and pieces.
If you employ direct, best write on a piece of paper. Terms and conditions and agreed upon and what you want to emphasise such as salary levels, situations for ending work at any time, etc. Make sure when you paid them, you have a table schedule of proof they signed on it after receiving.

If you don't do it, doesn't mean something will happen. It is very common enough. The vast majority didnt do it.
If you are influential, nothing will happen.
Maids dont come under the jurisdiction of labour laws, and considered as informal work.

For certain, Lombok is a horse of a different color than Bali, and the Sasak people are different from the Balinese people.  Expatriate life on Lombok presents unique challenges than other areas of Indonesia.

I knew of one expat who moved to Lombok after several years of living on Bali and he built himself several villas near Kuta…one where he lived and the others he leased out to other expats.  One night, after post fasting activities during Ramadan at a nearby mosque got to him, he “stormed” the mosque ripping down the wires to the speaker system.  That turned out badly for him as he had to flee to a nearby police station for sanctuary from the mob who chased him.  They then turned their attention on his villa, robbing it and then burning it to the ground.

He ended up spending some time in jail…which likely saved his life, and was also deported, but hey, some would say it was only a technicality…no big deal.   

Once again those infamous words of Dorothy come to mind…“Toto, we aren’t in Kansas anymore.”    ;)

Fred :

Roy is in a very happy position, one that I partially have and am working on improving.
As for a maid calling the cops, it'd have to be pretty serious for them to bother with, and that means heavy proof being required.
I do know of one case where a British dude got himself deported, but he was sexing the maid, and several other women.
That was always going to be a problem when he wife found out.

That is really shocking Fred. He was married and having sex with the maid and sleeping around when his wife was out? But why was he deported? Was it for a different reason or for sleeping with his maid?

Several affairs, a few arrests and a pregnant girlfriend later, he was probably deemed undesirable.
He also did a little prison time, so that might very well have invalidated his KITAS.
I'm old, fat and ugly, but girls commonly try it on with me, so I can understand how he was tempted.
However, he was very foolish as you should never sleep with the maid






You should have sex and kick her out of bed before the wife gets home.  :lol:

Yes of course. The maid is there to clean and cook and she earns a salary like any other person. But I know your feeling, local men are always trying to flirt with me but I too will not be tempted.

Fred :

Several affairs, a few arrests and a pregnant girlfriend later, he was probably deemed undesirable.
He also did a little prison time, so that might very well have invalidated his KITAS.
I'm old, fat and ugly, but girls commonly try it on with me, so I can understand how he was tempted.
However, he was very foolish as you should never sleep with the maid


..
.
.




You should have sex and kick her out of bed before the wife gets home.  :lol:

In the famous words inside the world of Leisure Suit Larry Laffer.
"Oh Larry... A p* is a terrible thing to waste...

I,am as Indonesian really disagree with Your testimony
Not all assistan or Pembantu worst like Your explained


Thank You.

Hendrawan :

I,am as Indonesian really disagree with Your testimony
Not all assistan or Pembantu worst like Your explained


Thank You.

Bit of an old thread now but still valid.
There are a lot of maids out there so a percentage are going to be duff in one way or another but there will also be a lot of good workers to be found.
My advice is to pay an average wage at first but increase the salary if they prove themselves.

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