Survey Results: How Much Do YOU Pay Your Domestic Worker?

Written by January 2, 2014 9:36 pm 2 comments

Here are the results of the Nirmukta survey How Much Do YOU Pay Your Domestic Worker?. We received 484 responses to the survey. 3 responses which had some suspect/confusing data were not considered. Thank you to all who participated! Before we get to the results, please note that this survey was not designed or analysed by social scientists, so the findings should strictly be considered to be of the “suggests” variety, rather than definitive. At the end of this post you will find a link to a proper study.

For those who want to see the data, here are the download links:

Raw Data (Google spreadsheet)

Raw Data + Analysis (Excel .xlsx file) (if Google throws a “404. That’s an error” when you “click to download”, click File -> Download instead)

(update) Further analysis done using R (thanks Ankur C.!) (PDF)

Summary of Findings

  • Number of female domestic workers vastly higher than number of male domestic workers
  • Non-live-in employment much more common than live-in employment
  • House cleaning, washing clothes, cooking most often performed tasks
  • Median monthly salary in metro non-live-in part-time (6-7 days per week, upto 2 hours daily) employment (219 responses): Rs. 1,500 per month
  • Normalised median salary per hour in metro non-live-in employment (333 responses): Rs. 67 per hour
  • Median monthly salary in metro live-in full-time employment (41 responses): Rs. 7,500 per month
  • (update) Inverse relationship found between monthly workload and hourly pay. I.e., there appears to be a “ceiling” beyond which we do not pay, regardless of how much work the domestic worker does.

Response Break-ups

These were the break-ups by Live-in/not live-in, Sex, Age and Location:

Graphs showing break-ups by Live-in, Sex, Age, Location.

Graphs showing break-ups by Live-in, Sex, Age, Location. (See text for values; click for larger version.)

Live-In

Yes    54
No    430

Age    
14-18    5
19-30    121
31-40    212
More than 40    146

Sex    
Female    454
Male    29
Other    1

Location    
Metro    375
Non-metro city    81
Town    17
Village    11

Tasks performed

The following is the break-up by Task Performed. It’s no surprise that House Cleaning and Cooking were high, but it did come as a surprise to see Washing Clothes as the second-highest:

Graph showing break-ups by Task Performed. (See text for values.)

Graph showing break-ups by Task Performed. (See text for values; click for larger version.)

House cleaning    391
Car wash    15
Cooking    168
Washing clothes    179
Child care    40
Errands    20
Market shopping    27
Gardening    15
Elder care    17
Other care    27

 

 

 

 

 

Salary Analysis

One problem with comparing responses is the variation in the employment arrangements with respect to days-per-week and hours-per-day. A domestic worker who comes in 3 times a week for half an hour and a domestic worker who comes in every day for 2 hours both get a monthly salary, but comparing their absolute salaries would be a mistake – the data needs to be “normalised” somehow to make a comparison. At the same time, normalisation would introduce errors and we would still like to take some measures of absolute salaries as well. So we took two approaches to analysing the salary:

1) “Normalise” the data by computing salary per hour, to enable comparisons of responses which  have different daily and hourly arrangements;

2) Segment the data into the most-occurring patterns, and compute average monthly salary within these subsets.

1) Data “Normalised” to compute salary per hour

To estimate the salary per hour, we limited the data to (Metro locations + non-live-in), since the number of these responses was significantly higher than the others (320+), and their values are likely to affect salaries. We then calculated the upper and lower bounds based on the (a) days per month, (b) hours per day (range) and (c) monthly salary, and then took the mean of those two values. The excel spreadsheet linked above shows these calculations (look for the coloured columns). Here is a chart of all the salary per hour values:

Scatter graph showing salary per hour values.

Scatter graph showing salary per hour values. (See text for details; click for larger version.)

As the graph shows, a bulk of the values are below 100 rupees per hour. Here are the actual numbers for salary per hour (in rupees):

Average =    82
Standard deviation =    62
50th percentile (Median) =    67
75th percentile =    104
90th percentile =    150

Here is the frequency distribution of the same, again showing that the most common salary per hour is in the range of 50-70 rupees per hour:

Frequency distribution of salary per hour values.

Frequency distribution of salary per hour values. (See text for details; click for larger version.)

2) Segmented Data

In the second approach, we considered two data subsets and found their average salaries:

a) Metro, live-in, 6-7 days per week, 4-8/More than 8 hours per day (this was the most common category of response for metro live-in arrangements – 41 responses)

Graph showing monthly salaries for metro live-in arrangements.

Graph showing monthly salaries for metro live-in arrangements. (See text for details; click for larger version.)

Monthly salary averages (in rupees per month):

Average =    7,451
Standard deviation =    3,509
50th percentile (Median) =    7,500
75th percentile =    9,000
90th percentile =    10,000

b) Metro, non-live-in, 6-7 days per week, up to 2 hours per day (this was the most common category of response for metro non-live-in arrangements – 219 responses)

Graph showing monthly salaries for metro non-live-in arrangements. (See text for details.)

Graph showing monthly salaries for metro non-live-in arrangements. (See text for details; click for larger version.)

Monthly salary averages (in rupees per month):

Average =    2,005
Standard deviation =    1,317
50th percentile (Median) =    1,500
75th percentile =    2,500
90th percentile =    3,300

We also used this subset to measure the Annual Bonus and Annual Leave:

Median annual leave = 30 days

Median annual bonus = Rs. 1000 per annum

3) (update) Monthly workload vs. Hourly Pay

This was a surprising finding – as the monthly workload increases, the hourly pay decreases. In retrospect perhaps it’s not surprising at all and is an indicator of the low value we place on domestic work – that there is a “ceiling” beyond which we will not pay, no matter how much extra work the worker does. The PDF link above has the details of this analysis, below is one of the relevant graphs which show this relationship:

Graphs showing inverse relationship between monthly workload and hourly pay.

Graphs showing inverse relationship between monthly workload and hourly pay.

Thank you once again if you took the survey. For more reading on this issue, here is a good resource – a study conducted by the organisation Jagori of 691 domestic workers in Delhi. The study analysed several factors including wages; it’s  exhaustive and worth reading. These were their findings on wages:

In our sample, the average wage was Rs. 2194 with the range varying from Rs. 200 to 8000 per month. It has been noted that there is a socio-cultural hierarchy of work with cooking at one end of the spectrum and cleaning tasks, especially cleaning of toilets, at the other end. Majority of the households (71 percent) paid in the range of Rs. 200-400 for cleaning tasks such as sweeping and mopping, 71 percent households paid in the range of Rs. 200-400 for washing dishes, 43 percent households paid between Rs. 400-600 for washing clothes and 15 percent households paid in the range of Rs. 600-800 for cooking, while 38 percent households paid more than Rs. 800 per month.

 

 

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- who has written 46 posts on Nirmukta.

2 Comments

  • For the benefit of people who are not in India, what do these salaries mean? It is a “living wage”? Does it allow them to pay rent, buy food and clothing, or are they barely able to survive?

    (FWIW, my live-out housecleaner is paid $20/hour in the USA, and she grosses about $35,000. She’s worth every penny of it!)

  • Sanjay Preeja

    I do not understand what this statement means ” is not even 100 per hour” if my memory serves right the minimum wages fixed by the government is around 150 for 8 hour work which works out to little less than 20 per hour. With that benchmark I feel the average salary per hour exceeds 3 times the minimum wage.having said that I do not subscribe to the notion that the domestic workers have better quality of life if not for governments subsidies with the kind of income they earn

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