MAKKAH, 17 September 2007 — With a high demand for maids during Ramadan, many people employ runaway maids and pay them extortionate salaries ranging from SR1,100 to SR1,500, instead of the standard SR600 to SR800 paid to legal maids working legally.
Fahd Amash’s wife is a teacher. The couple have five children. “My wife is a teacher and our circumstance requires us to have more than one maid. However, the authorities say we’re only allowed one. Before Ramadan I employed a legal maid, who ran away leaving us in a mess,” said Amash.
With Ramadan at hand, Amash decided to hire a runaway maid. “We had to do things illegally in the end,” he said. “We contacted an Indonesian woman who provides people with illegal maids. She brought us a maid and said we had to pay her SR1,500 a month. She also said we had to give the maid a day off every 10 days and that her work for the month would end on Ramadan 28 in order to give her a chance to perform Umrah,” said Amash.
SR600 is $160. Saudis are saying that it is practically extortion for them to pay a maid more than $200 or so a month, and it is borderline obscene to have maids ask for a day off every ten days. Plus, the maids certainly are not allowed to practice Islam the way that their owners, um, employers can.
Not only that, but a family of seven finds that a single maid is clearly not enough - they must have two of them!