The Fresco condominium Residents’ Welfare Association (RWA) in Sector 50 has formed a committee to help domestic helps and also resolve their disputes with apartment owners. The members have already resolved more than 20 disputes and have helped more than 200 domestic helps open bank accounts and apply for Aadhar cards.
The RWA members had formed a domestic help sub-committee, comprising seven members, in November last year. The purpose of this sub-committee was to act as a bridge between the residents and the domestic help.
In the case of a dispute, maids or the residents contact the subcommittee, which listens to both the parties and offers a solution which is acceptable to both parties in the dispute.
It was formed as a part of the RWA’s endeavor to streamline all policies and functioning related to domestic helps or household staff — be it maids, servants, drivers or car cleaners. As the number of residents has increased manifold in the last couple of years, there was a growing need to manage the affairs and issues of the domestic staff to avoid run-ins with employers and ensure smooth services.
“Fresco RWA has formed various sub-committees pertaining to security, traffic, legal affairs, waste management, domestic help etc. The most active of all these groups is the one on domestic helps, as it seeks to settle issues faced by them on a regular basis. We encourage the residents (both owners and tenants) to be part of these subcommittees and help RWA make Fresco a better place to live in,” Nilesh Tandon, president, RWA, said.
Out of the seven members that the committee comprises of, two can speak in Bengali, the language spoken and understood by 90% of the maids working here. The committee members meet every fortnight to discuss the complaints and issues that have been raised by either the residents or the maids, formulate new policies and ensure that all rules are being adhered to. The members said the objective is to protect the interests of both the parties in a dispute.
Monika Talwar, a resident and committee member, said, “Both the maids and the residents are happy with the subcommittee, as now, they have a body to deal with any issues concerning domestic helps and household staff and it also clears all doubts and misunderstandings which might have arose earlier because of the communication gap or lack of awareness of the defined rules.”
Sonica Kohly, another member of the subcommittee, said, “Since inception, the committee has been instrumental in resolving multiple cases where maids were either underpaid or the employers had issues with their helps. All issues were resolved amicably and to the satisfaction of both the affected parties.”
Shanti, a domestic help working at the Fresco apartments for the last two years, said, “I hadn’t been paid a month’s salary. I approached the sub-committee and got my salary in two days.”
Pratima, another maid, said, “My madam had stopped paying salary after I made a mistake at work. I took up the matter with the sub-committee and they summoned her. She then called me over to her flat and paid my salary. We are happy. Finally, we have a body to settle our disputes.”
After the government’s withdrawal of high value currency notes, the committee had organised a donation camp where residents were encouraged to collect funds and ration was distributed for free to all the domestic maids, as they didn’t have a new currency notes to buy essential food items. The sub-committee members also helped them exchange their old currency notes, as they didn’t have time to go to banks.
Helping domestic maids get Aadhar cards
Encouraging them to open bank accounts and making them aware of the formalities involved in the same.
Making a rule book, defining processes easier for everybody to understand.
Making leave rules/policy so that there is no communication gap or dispute
Drafting a suggestive rate list for residents/helps to be aware of