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As Idul Fitri holiday ends

Touristclick Indonesia Travel News

As 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 that period.

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 right now."

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 Lampung).

"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, age 70.

"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 nannies.

"We have about 10 sponsors in Lampung alone and 10 more in West Java -- Sukabumi, Cianjur and Sukabumi."

"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 increased demand.

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."

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