Dubai: If you’re a working married man, how would you like it if your stay-at-home spouse were to get a salary equivalent to 25% of your pay?
And yes, that’s in addition to your own salary. In reality, it’s like a pay raise. Aries, a UAE-based marine engineering services firm, is doing just that — a 25% pay raise, but directly credited to the wife of each employee who qualifies in the scheme (not offered to newcomers). The gesture is unique.
It's a token recognition for the role stay-at-home parents play, which includes an endless amount of demands and to-dos — as a tutor, negotiator, nurse, party planner, private chef, caregiver, driver, laundry service, ironing service, house cleaner, counsellor, among others.
To be a homemaker, known as a "thankless job" and long hours, is to be a resilient pillar of the family and, by extension, their husband's company.
“It covers all our 1,900 staff,” Dr. Sohan Roy, Aries Group Chairman and CEO. “Right now, 240 are eligible — as many are not yet married or spouses haven't completed three years with our group (a minimum of 3 years in Aries is the criteria). All will get a salary equivalent to 25% of basic pay of their partner. The Efficiency Improvement tool (EFFISM) developed by us has contributed extra profit through efficiency improvement (and will) meet this expense.”
240Number of stay-at-home wives of company staff of Aries group will get a salary equivalent to 25% of husband’s pay:
Is this going to be a global trend? We asked UAE residents for reaction. Here’s what they have to say:
Sana Sajan, director of American Aesthetic, Indian
“I applaud Sohan Roy, chairman and CEO of Aries Group. It is time to change the outlook of being a homemaker — with no monthly income. It is by far the toughest and thankless job. For all the countless hours of hard work a home-maker puts in, not a dime gets credited at the end of the month. It has rightly been said that being born a woman comes with an additional albatross of adorning different masks in different phases of life. A homemaker’s role is so multi-faceted — running the house, child-bearing and raising kids. It cannot be quantified to a full-fledged job.”
“If the organisation where your spouse toils and puts in the long hours recognises the main support structure of their employee ( his spouse) and remunerates her with any percentage of your spouse’s salary, the spouse will be more motivated. I definitely feel more companies should adopt this and implement this as this is a positive move as this will give a sense of confidence and appreciation to the spouse”.
Fahmi Al Shawwa, CEOand founder, Immensa Technology Labs
The concept and initiative by Aries is great. It showcases appreciation for the spouses that forgo their own careers to take care of their home and the children. The incentives can be devised in various ways, whether you elect to grant it as a salary to the spouse or as benefits to the family - the unit economics are similar.
Companies put a target return to their shareholders, assuming its 15 per cent, anything generated that is above that should be allotted to the people working their. Whether the shareholders opt to grant it as bonuses, increments, or any other form, that is their discretion. It is good to see empowerment and appreciation of women in this regard. It is the best way to do that via paying them a percentage of the spouse’s salary. Although, it is not my place to make such a judgement. As a first step this is definitely not a bad idea, but we can find ways to show appreciation while developing skill sets and having the spouses contribute productively in more than just taking care of a home.
Pakistani expat, Uzma Suleman, 42, manager, digital marketing
I don’t really agree with this approach of giving the wife a percentage of the husband’s salary. This is something that should be agreed between the husband and wife, not the company.
I do not believe the wife is entitled to only 25%. She deserves more as she takes care of running her house in all earnestness. Ultimately, if I am the earning member, then I should be able to decide how much of my income should be distributed to my dependents.”
Nidal Khoury, CEO of Accienta
While this concept is touching, I don’t see this picking up as a trend with companies. Firstly, it involves handing out extra money in addition to salaries of employees. In times where companies are struggling to make ends meet and pay employees’ salaries, I don’t see them paying spouses too!
It is a great concept, one that empowers women who rightfully need all the support and care for the work they do for their families. I just don’t think it is feasible in the long run.
Haneen A. Khzam, 32, project assistant, Lebanese
I definitely agree that giving a salary for the wife of an employee is beneficial for all and it’s a really nice approach in terms of appreciation to homemakers! This step forward will give lots of women confidence. It affirms them, that what they’re doing does matter a lot. Running a household is tough. It takes a homemaker to do so, so why not give them something back…”
Jordanian expat, Nida Odeh, 32, who works as a nursery manager said: “I do believe that this is a great initiative for all women. A woman, a stay-at-home wife deserves more than this, given her efforts and all that she gives her family — without any charge. Her love, though, is priceless. And I definitely agree with this gesture. I do think it will be a trend that will catch traction with more and more companies.”
Albino Allado, Occupational Safety and Health Manager, Filipino
Among merchant mariners, this has been the standard practice: the wife of a sailor automatically becomes an “allottee” — and collects a big portion (more than half) of her husband's salary. This has been the practice for decades, on tens of thousands of our merchant mariners.
As for all salary-for-stay-at-home-wife, I don’t agree with this. The concept of employer-and-employee relationship does not interfere with personal matters. As for medical insurance, education etc., an extended benefit for the spouse of a working husband and their children is a good idea. If the salary for housewife is not mentioned in the original contract, or not mandated by labour law, this is just a one-off token gesture.
Somabha Bagchi, 60, homemaker
This is a thoughtful gesture from the employer to recognize the spouse’s contribution in her husband’s profession. However, the choice of such a distribution should be by the employee and his spouse.