Idul Fitri holiday ends, the hunt begins
for new maids and nannies
The long holiday is over for most people, but
not for an agency that supplies domestic helpers
located in Cempaka Putih, Central Jakarta.
Since early Monday morning, the first day after
the weeklong holiday, Santa Santa Theresia Maid
and Babysitters Agency, on Jl. Letjen Suprapto
Siaga has been hearing the same question repeatedly: "Do
you have a nanny or maid?"
"Every year after Lebaran demand goes up by
10 percent," Johan Edward, whose mother --
Menuk Saragih -- started the business seven years
ago, told The Jakarta Post on Monday.
There has been a constant stream of calls and visitors,
he said, while fielding a call on his mobile phone
and his office phone at the same time.
Johan said demand for domestic workers was usually
high for two months following Idul Fitri each year.
The agency placed some 400 maids last year during
John called to his sister, Rina, asking her to
put one of the nanny candidates on the phone. "There's
a customer on the line who wants to interview her
On Monday, 30 women who would soon be working as
domestics were at the agency (20 from Pandeglang,
Banten; 10 from Sukabumi, West Java; and 10 from
"All of them have been booked. We're expecting
new arrivals tonight.
"Tomorrow, we will have more people coming
from Lampung, as well as Tegal, Pemalang and Brebes
in Central Java, koh", he said to a caller,
apparently an Indonesian-Chinese man on the other
end of the line.
Even before Johan had finished his call a grandmother
from Grogol, West Jakarta, was asking him a question. "Do
you have two maids for my daughter? She lives in
Bumi Serpong Damai, Tangerang", said Oma Cun,
"I have been using this agency for over five
years", she said.
Cun hired one maid on the spot and asked Johan
to find another one for Wednesday.
Newly hired maids make between Rp 300,000 (about
US$32) and Rp 400,000 per month, depending on experience
and on the employer.
Families pay more for experienced nannies. Silvy,
who lives in upscale Pantai Indah Kapuk, North
Jakarta, and has an infant, said "I'm paying
the new nanny Rp 850,000 a month, because she has
only been babysitting for five years."
For a more experienced nanny, Silvy - whose previous
nanny did not return after the holiday -- says
she would pay up to Rp 1 million a month.
"Even during our low season, we still place
four or five maids every day," said Johan,
adding that the agency supplied domestic helpers
not only to Greater Jakarta residents but also
to families of civil servants in Manado, North
Sulawesi, and Pekanbaru, Riau, as well as Papua.
Johan said there were several keys to keeping the
business healthy including maintaining good networks
with regional affiliates who recruit maids and
"We have about 10 sponsors in Lampung alone
and 10 more in West Java -- Sukabumi, Cianjur and
"We pay them between Rp 250,000 and Rp 350,000
per person recruited."
Making sure the agency maintains a good image is
also vital, he said.
"We always advise our workers to contact us
if there isn't a good fit with the employer - instead
of simply leaving - as our people can always call
us to be picked up.
"The employer also has the right to get a
substitute within the first three months."
Johan, whose agency has more than 150 maids, 70
babysitters, 150 nannies and 50 caretakers for
the elderly, said, "We do not cut their salary
a single cent, unlike other agencies, which usually
excise their maids' first monthly pay, or cut out
5 to 10 percent of their nannies' salaries."
"That way, we try to maintain the loyalty
of our workers."
Meanwhile, just several meters from Santa Theresia
Agency, another domestic help agency stands without
much activity, although it has also experienced
Since morning, the owner, Kusmito, 45, had to answer
several phone calls and visitors by saying "We
have run out of workers stock. We are still waiting
for them to come."
However, when asked when and how many helpers would
come to his agency, he replied, "I don't know
yet ... because I don't have many active sponsors
at the moment."