You’ve already heard that Mexico is one of the cheapest places to live in the world.
And you may have heard that you can expect to lower your 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 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 per day 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. Sometimes, workers and business owners prefer to earn cash, so they don’t have to report that income (and pay taxes).
But the informal economy has resulted in many household workers getting 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.
If you need recommendations, we have a directory of recommended lawyers in our COMPLETE Mexico Relocation Guide as well as more detailed guidelines on employee benefits you may owe to household helpers.
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. If they come to work, you must pay three times their usual rate.
- 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):
The Aguinaldo equals 15 days of pay if they’ve worked a full year. You must pay it before the 20th of December. If they worked less than a year, you could adjust the number of days to reflect that.
Here’s an Aguinaldo in Mexico example:
If you’re paying someone weekly at $500 Pesos a day for 5 days a week (meaning MXN2,500 a week), the calculation is:
(MXN2,500 ÷ 7 days) x 15 days = MXN5,357.14 or about $275 USD
If you’re paying them monthly, divide the monthly payment by 30 and multiply it by 15 (if they’ve worked the full year).
Even if you hire someone informally, paying a Christmas bonus is a tradition in Mexico. You’ll also be expected to tip extra for other services like garbage disposal.
- 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 with the intention of it becoming 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 on a voluntary basis 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 that are registered with the IMSS will have benefits such as medical attention at IMSS hospitals, 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.
- Severance pay:
Typically, you need to pay a lump sum of three months’ wages. In some cases, you’ll also pay 20 days’ wages for every year they’ve worked for you. The payments can be higher depending on the situation. Check the details about severance pay to learn more.
Here’s a list of domestic workers’ rights, including the rest requirements, according to the CDMX government.
Another thing to remember is that paying someone in cash doesn’t remove the risk of them taking you to court, even after they stop working for you.
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 who 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. But the service providers recommended by expat groups are likely to be more expensive than the others. Especially if you’re asking 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 owner of the house 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 due to the fact that in most cases you will need to provide all cleaning chemicals, vacuum cleaner, dusting rags, paper towels, lawnmower, 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 put things down in writing. 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 helpers 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.
Further reading: Do I Really Need to Learn Spanish To Live in Mexico?
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 information you need to have a better life in Mexico for less! Plus, we give you a full directory of recommended contacts that will help make your move to Mexico a lot easier!