Dear Ms. Demeanor,
My housekeeper has been working for me for two years at the same rate. Should I give her a raise or wait until she asks for it?
Dear Cleaned Out,
That depends. I think the expectation in the past has been a yearly raise, but the economy of the last few years has made this expectation unpalatable or impossible for many of us. Are you thrilled with your housekeeper or merely satisfied? Have you noticed her work quality or quantity diminishing of late? This can very often be a cue for you to ask, "Is there a problem? Are you unhappy with your work here or with us?"
If you feel comfortable that you are giving a reasonable amount and getting a reasonable result, I think it is fine to wait. If your housekeeper's workload has increased of late (new family member, new pet, new washer/dryer when he or she was not expected to do the laundry before), she is most certainly deserving of an increase in pay.
One alternative: Sometimes a decreased workload and stable salary are acceptable in lieu of a raise.
If you do wait until she asks--and her ask seems on the largish side--you may be tempted to look elsewhere. Just keep in mind that the trust and comfort of a long-term relationship is difficult to replace and may be worth a premium.
Ms. Demeanor is channeled by a longtime Manhattan vertical dweller and real-estate voyeur who writes under the pen name Jamie Lauren Sutton. She is here to commiserate, calm and correct. Please email your quandaries to [email protected] and put "Dear Ms. Demeanor" in the subject line.