Paying the Help and Tipping in Lima

As I mentioned in my posting about what I like about living in Lima, I wrote that I would blog about domestic staff. One of the nice things about life in Lima is the affordable help. Most people use the term “empleada” as the term for domestic help since traditionally one’s domestic help was a “female employee” and some refer to them as a maid. I use the word cleaner if they are someone who comes to clean or “ama de llaves” (homemaker of the keys) if it is a female housekeeper. Expats pay between 60-150 soles per day, average 70-90, soles per day. Some pay up to 180 (Peruvians may pay less). Domestic help sometimes lives in the home, but these days, this is becoming rare even for the Peruvian households to have live-in help.

I think that payday is twice a month or per day (if part-time). If the employee works full time, then they must have a contract and insurance. If they are part-time, they don’t need insurance. Twice a year, in July (to be paid by early July) and December, there is a bonus payment. The bonus is half of a month’s salary (there may be some calculation for how many years they have been employed, but I think that’s a percentage as well). Some people pay for a uniform for their staff. These days, the uniform seems to be a polo shirt and khaki pants (not distinguishable as a uniform — at least to my untrained eye — I guess it’s sort of like “gardening clothes”).

The doormen (porteros) also receive a bonus in December. Commonly, a Christmas Panettone (a type of sweet bread) is given in December. Or money. One can give them something in July as well. Or, one can give them nothing. It’s not required.

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Tipping: Generally, tipping has become common at higher end restaurants. It’s 10 percent. At the local places, just a few soles if you thought it was good service. No tipping in taxis. That said, if you have parked somewhere, generally you tip the parking attendant or the person who has flagged you in (and kept an eye on your car…). Just a few cents like 50 cents or a sol. Some stores, like Wong, have bagboys (they are always young men) who carry your groceries to your car or house (yes! if within a certain distance), but they don’t need a tip and the ones who carry your stuff to your car will actually refuse a tip.

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