You’ve already heard that Mexico is one of the cheapest places to live in the world.
You may have heard that you can expect to lower the cost of living in Mexico when you move here. But it’s also not uncommon for many expats living in Mexico to maintain the same amount of expenses because your income goes so much further in Mexico.
Many retirees in Mexico are coming to enjoy their later years. To finally be able to afford the luxuries that would be almost impossible north of the border.
One of those luxuries is household help. Hiring household help in Mexico is usually very reasonable, and there’s no shortage of personnel available who are looking for work.
Let’s dive into the details of hiring household help in Mexico:
The Going Rates for Household Help in Mexico
The rates depend on the type of help you get and their skills. A caregiver who can assist older adults and administer medication is more expensive than someone who does regular housework. And the rates differ between areas.
At a minimum, expect to pay $100 MXN per hour or $450 MXN daily for basic services.
I’ve put together the following summary of services and rates to give you an idea:
Understanding Domestic Employee Benefits
Mexico is largely a cash-based economy. Workers and business owners sometimes prefer to earn cash so they don’t have to report that income (and pay taxes).
However, the informal economy has resulted in many household workers being exploited and treated poorly. Earlier in 2022, Mexico’s Senate approved a reform to give domestic workers social security benefits in Mexico.
Before you read the rest, please note that I’m not a lawyer or an expert in labor laws. The information in this article is taken from our recommended lawyers and is solely for informational purposes. Always get professional legal advice as needed.
What’s Considered an Employee in Mexico
First, you must understand who falls into the category of an “employee.” It is generally any helper you get on a full-time or part-time basis. The one-off services you get don’t typically fall into this category. They are considered independent contractors.
Here are some additional payments you must make when hiring household helpers considered employees:
- Pay for national holidays:
You must give your helpers paid leave on these holidays. You must pay three times their usual rate if they work a holiday.
- Vacation entitlement:
Employees are entitled to 12 days’ vacation in their first year. It increases to 14 days in the second year, 16 days in the third year, 18 days in the fourth year, and up to 20 days in the 5th year.
- The “Aguinaldo” (like a Christmas bonus):
Aguinaldo is considered a Christmas bonus in Mexico, and it is mandatory even if someone works part-time.
The aguinaldo in Mexico is equivalent to 15 days of regular pay. (On top of regular wages).
However, if someone does not work for you full-time (like housecleaners or gardeners who only come once or twice a week), for this kind of household help in Mexico, you have to calculate it a bit differently.
Here’s an Aguinaldo in Mexico example:
For that, you must divide the 15 days of Christmas bonus between the 365 days of the year.
15 days / 365 days = 0.041
Multiply that result by the number of days you worked in the year.
Let’s assume you hired a cleaning lady, and she comes once a week. That’s 4 visits a month.
Let’s assume she’s worked the last 5 months. That’s 20 days worked in total. Let’s assume you pay them $400 pesos daily wage.
20 x 0.041 = 0.82
$400 pesos x 0.82 = $328 pesos- Aguinaldo
$328 pesos is their Aguinaldo. You can always round up. In this case, I would round up to $350 Pesos.
You can also use this handy tool that calculates the aguinaldo for you. https://empleojustoencasa.org/aguinaldo.html
- IMSS (Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social) payments:
Historically, domestic workers such as nannies, house cleaners, and caregivers were not usually enrolled in the IMSS. But as of October 2022, there is a new pilot program that intends to become a new law to provide more services to domestic workers who don’t have access to social security benefits like a salaried employee does.
The pilot program is voluntary until further notice. With this new program, you are encouraged to register your household helpers and pay for their IMSS, which is Mexico’s social security system.
See IMSS’s advice to learn more. The page has a link to a calculator to check how much you will owe.
Domestic employees who are registered with the IMSS will have benefits such as medical attention at IMSS hospitals and pharmaceutical and obstetric care services. They can also have access to a disability and lifetime pension. Your social security payments help them put money into the government-run retirement fund. And they also get social benefits such as funeral services and nurseries.
Next, let’s look at:
How to find household help in Mexico
First, know what you are looking for. You may want someone to live with you, come in daily, part-time help, or an occasional cleaner. Do you have any special needs?
Here are some sources to find help:
Get recommendations and referrals
You must be careful with whom you invite into your home (anywhere in the world, including Mexico). If you know and trust anyone in the area, like neighbors, ask them for recommendations.
Most locals only hire through word of mouth or recommendations.
Go on Facebook Groups
You can also ask on Facebook expat groups. However, the service providers recommended by expat groups are likely to be more expensive than the others, especially if you ask them to know how to speak a bit of English.
Do a thorough reference check when you’re hiring someone to care for an older adult, a child, or a person with an illness, particularly if they will be administering any medications.
Your Rental May Come With A House Cleaner or Gardener
It’s also common for some rentals to come with a weekly house cleaner and/or gardener. Usually, the house owner pays for this service, so you don’t have to. But it’s important not to assume anything and ask these questions before renting in Mexico.
If your landlord has an agreement with a specific house cleaner, make sure you ask what is included in their daily work, how they will get to your house, and when you should expect to pay for additional work.
Other tips to keep in mind
You Need to Supply Equipment and Products
One of the reasons that household help is so affordable in Mexico is that, in most cases, you will need to provide all cleaning chemicals, vacuum cleaners, dusting rags, paper towels, lawnmowers, garden tools, or any of the tools expected to use.
When in doubt- don’t assume. Ask
Having a contract
As I mentioned earlier, many household help agreements are informal. But to save yourself from any problems, you can make a short written contract. That way, you both know where you stand.
Here’s a contract from the Mexican government for hiring household help.
You’ll need some Spanish.
Most household helpers in Mexico don’t speak English, except for some nurses and caregivers. But speaking some Spanish will be necessary to communicate with your housecleaner. Otherwise, you could use Google Translate to type up a message and leave it printed out for her/him.
Many expats in Mexico manage household help in Mexico with little Spanish. So, it’s possible! But knowing the language will help you avoid a lot of miscommunications and develop a good relationship with them.
Many foreigners living in Mexico have great relationships with their household helpers. But it’s always good to understand how the system works so you can make good decisions.
The idea of moving to Mexico and starting a new life can become overwhelming. And there is a lot of misinformation out there! But don’t let it discourage you. Our COMPLETE Mexico Relocation Guide has all the important basic information for you to make a move to Mexico the right way!
And we include our complete directory of contacts across Mexico that will help make your life easier.