Help Your Apartment Maid / Cook to open a Bank Account & Cope with Demonetization

by Krishanu

Here’s a 5 Step guide on how you can help your domestic help (cook, maid, driver, gardener) open bank accounts (even if they do not have ID or Address proof) and cope with demonetisation. Read about how 3 years back Adarsh Palm Meadows (a 550+ villa community) in Bangalore got bank accounts made for all their domestic staff.

The segment of Indians who has been worst effected post government’s recent move towards demonetisation are the poor and workers from unorganised sectors. They do not have bank accounts and hence has no means to conduct transactions without cash. Most probably your domestic help (cook / maid / driver, etc.) belong to the same segment.

While we can still manage most of your payments through plastic money, our domestic help would be in dire need of cash for their daily transactions.

5 Step Guide To Help Your Cook / Maid With Bank Accounts

An estimated 3 crore people are presently employed in India as a part of this unorganised sector of domestic help. A well thought out national policy is the need of the hour to organise this sector, so that the workers can avail benefits which society today offers to members of the organised service and manufacturing sector.

As apartment residents, we can however, definitely take some proactive steps to help our cook, maid, etc. to brace the demonetisation wave.

1) Provide them some immediate relief by exchanging their cash

Though you should encourage your help to open bank accounts, do consider helping them out with some cash now.

Here’s how you can help them:

  • Your maid/cook/driver is most probably maintaining their savings in cash, using notes which has been rendered useless
  • Take the cash amount from your maid/cook/driver and deposit it in your bank account
  • Withdraw cash in new notes and give it to your help for their use.

2) Help them with opening a Bank Account

Presently many banks are conducting various initiatives to get more and more Indians to use organised banking. If you are part of a management committee then you can ask your manager to visit the local banks and see if they can hold camps in your complex for domestic helps to open bank accounts.

The usual documents which are required to open a bank account are:

  • Passport size photos
  • ID Proof
  • Address Proof

How to open a bank account if your cook/maid does not have an address or identification proof?

In case your domestic staff does not have an ID or address proof, then you can provide him/her with the below document which are being accepted in banks as both ID and address proof.

  1. Paste your domestic help’s photo on white A4 paper
  2. Mention Name of your domestic help.
  3. Mention his/her current address
  4. Mention since when he/she is working in your apartment.
  5. You can sign it yourself or it would be better if you can put a stamp of your association on that.

“We are getting bank accounts done for around 20 domestic staff working in various apartments inside our complex in Bank of India, using this document,” said Mr. Amit Motwani, from Oasis Breeze, Bangalore

3) Enrolling into Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana

Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana is a scheme started by PM Modi to bring banking services to all Indians. This is aimed to bring services like debit/credit, insurance, etc. to the poor of India.

PMJDY accounts can be opened in almost all Indian banks including both public sector and private banks: SBI, Bank of India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, etc. These are zero balance accounts and can be opened with minimum documentation.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) vide its Press Release dated 26.08.2014 has clarified as under:

“Those persons who do not have any  of the ‘officially valid documents’ can open “Small Accounts” with banks. A “Small Account” can be opened on the basis of a self-attested photograph and putting his/her signatures or thumb print in the presence of an official of the bank. Such accounts have limitations regarding the aggregate credits (not more than Rupees one lac in a year), aggregate withdrawals (nor more than Rupees ten thousand in a month) and balance in the accounts (not more than Rupees fifty thousand at any point of time). These accounts would be valid normally for a period of twelve months. Thereafter, such accounts would be allowed to continue for a further period of twelve more months, if the account-holder provides a document showing that he/she has applied for any of the Officially Valid Document, within 12 months of opening the small account.


Some Important Links:

In case your domestic staff already holds a Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana account, they can avail the 500 and 1000 Rs notes exchange facility from any bank, subject to the caps and other laid down limits in accord with banks norms and procedures.

4) Encouraging your domestic help to get Govt. ID proofs

You can help them with information or any required documents which you might be able to provide. Example: if you are a government gazetted officer, then you can issue a Certificate of Identify having photo, which is an accepted document to get Aadhaar cards done.

5) Encourage domestic helps who have bank accounts, to use them

If your domestic help has a bank account, then do consider paying them through online transfer. This will encourage them to use their ATM cards. Many maids, cooks has their salaries snatched away by their husbands. Paying them online provides them financial security.

In the ADDA App, we provide the facility to add your domestic staff’s bank accounts. You can access this data right from the ADDA App and make salary payments online to your cook / maid.


Management committee members / apartment managers can add the bank details of the domestic staff from the Admin App. All details of staff can be managed right from the ADDA Admin App in your phone.

If you do not have the details of all your staff updated in ADDA, then you can ask your apartment manager and a couple of more staff to quickly take photos and input all the required staff details right from the App. Such an activity is best conducted in the morning when all your domestic staff come in to work in various Apartments in your complex.


Adarsh Palm Meadows: Domestic Staff Initiatives

Adarsh Palm Meadows, Bangalore starting initiating their domestic help into the cashless movement almost 3 years back! Here’s what they did..

1) Getting Aadhaar cards for all domestic staff

An Aadhaar camp was conducted inside Palm Meadows campus. Though the camp was also for residents of the villa complex, 3-4 hours everyday was reserved for domestic staff.

“This exclusive time was given to domestic staff as, us residents, have other government issued ID proofs. But many of the domestic helps had no ID proofs. This was their opportunity to get one created”, said Mr. Sanjay Swamy, an Adarsh Palm Meadows resident and one of the members who spearheaded the staff welfare initiatives.

2) Opening Bank Accounts for all domestic help:

Collaborating with Bank of India, Adarsh Palm Meadow resident volunteers organised a workshop for domestic helps, educating them about the advantages of having bank accounts. This was followed by a 2 day camp when Bank of India officials helped in opening bank accounts for all domestic staff working in Adarsh Palm Meadows.

Along with opening of bank accounts, all the domestic helps also received a debit card.

“The problem was that our cooks and maids are more comfortable to have cash in hand. They fear that once they deposited money in banks, they will not be able to get it back. Fear of the unknown and illiteracy were the only 2 challenges. Sessions conducted by the BOI correspondent helped here. We also had to encourage our domestic helps a lot”, said Mr. Swamy.

Today, most of the domestic help working in Palm Meadows get their salaries paid online, directly to their bank accounts. For the domestic helps this is highly advantageous as this removes any chances of disputes over salary payment and at the same time they get surety of getting paid.

PMJDY Rupay Card

The transition towards making full salary payments online was made gradually. On the first month, residents would only pay a part of the salary online, rest was paid in cash. Over subsequent months the entire payment was moved online.

Almost all domestic helps have a family back in villages, to whom they send money. This is usually done through ad hoc means today.

“Enabling them to spend through debit cards and transfer money online is the next step”, added Mr. Swamy.

Adarsh Palm Meadows has set a great example for all apartment and villa complexes in India, through their exemplary domestic help welfare initiatives.

Such an initiative was not easy to implement 3 years back when having cash in hand would suffice and online methods for money management was left for the “tech-savvy”. Financial Inclusion was just a fancy word back then. Implementing such an initiative required a lot of support and forward thinking from all residents. Some inconveniences faced back then would have been more than justified today, as this is one community that can proudly say that they are well prepared to brace the demonetisation wave.

Photo Courtesy – Economic Times, Business Standard

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