Many families employ domestic help either on a full-time, live-in or part-time basis. Having a domestic helper or nanny is an affordable luxury in Cayman and makes entertaining a pleasure, allows parents to spend more time with their children, or have precious quiet hours away from them!
Helpers are employed primarily to do housework, cook and care for children and pets. The domestic help network in Cayman is mostly Jamaican, Filipino and Hispanic.
You should be diligent in your enquiries if seeking someone through word of mouth or via ecay online. Always insist on reference checks from recent and reliable sources and an interview. A better alternative is to use an agency that hires out help on an hourly basis. You may need to register with the agency if you would like to secure the same person on an on-going basis. They charge approximately CI$12 per hour for a minimum of four hours if hired on a full-day or half-day regular weekly basis. If you hire them as a one-off, the hourly rate is CI$14 (more if they supply the cleaning products).
The convenience of using an agency is that they train the staff, pay their health insurance, pension (if required) and will replace them if they can’t work for any reason. Agencies also interview and try out potential domestic helpers. Refer to the Having A Baby page for more detailed information on securing a full-time domestic helper or caregiver through an agency.
If you do not go through an agency then the going rate for a full-time (five days a week) helper is approximately CI$1,300 per month for an 8.30am-5.30pm day. More if they are very good and can drive. Helpers cost more per day if you only have them part-time; for an eight hour day allow CI$80. For occasional babysitting you will find that almost everyone will ask for CI$10 per hour.
If you hire your own helper on a full-time basis, you must apply for a work permit. Paperwork and instructions can be collected from the Department of Immigration or downloaded from their website: www.immigration.gov.ky. Both the employer and the employee must fill in separate parts of the application and such things as a police clearance, passport photos and a full medical are required.
They may be required to take an English test as well. It is worth noting that the Department of Immigration does not usually grant expatriates a work permit for domestic help, unless they show sufficient need, i.e. they have children who need looking after, in which case you will also need to provide certified copies of the birth certificate of each child to be cared for and think carefully about the information you provide in your cover letter to support your application. Please note, a work permit for a ‘nanny’ needs to be advertised in the newspaper for two consecutive weeks but a work permit for a ‘Domestic Helper’ does not need to be advertised. The cost for a nanny’s permit for a year is CI$650 and the cost for a domestic helper’s permit for a year is CI$250. You are required to pay for this; getting your nanny/domestic helper to pay for this is illegal.
You will also need to take care of your employee’s health insurance but you do not need to pay into a pension plan for them unless they are Caymanian. You must also give them at least two weeks paid vacation per year and pay them double time for working any public holidays. A good employer will also pay for one airline ticket home per year and consider paying into a pension plan for them, but not require the helper to contribute their 5%. If you hire an experienced nanny, and your employees work permit is classed as a nanny, then you will need to get a pension for her.
Other things worth noting are: you cannot submit your domestic helper’s work permit paperwork until your own work permit has been approved, it is illegal to make them pay for their own work permit, helpers are not allowed to have dependents on their work permit and the absolute maximum time they will be allowed to stay on the Island is ten years.
You can take out a work permit for any nationality as long as you can demonstrate a genuine need (i.e. you have children and need a nanny or domestic helper or you have a very large garden and need a gardener). You will have to show proof of your need, i.e. the birth certificates of your children.
If you want a full-time or part-time helper the following companies can organise it for you: