5 May 2015

Maids (FDW) in Singapore

All topics - everything about Employing Domestic Maid (FDW)
Read:  Special needs.Happy day

Winter:  I do not agree that employer should keep maid's salary.  How FDW uses, overspends is her problem.  FDW is an adult who should learn to manage her money.  We shouldn't encourage FDW to act like a child.  Maid shouldn't pretend or cry no money because of her poor money sense.  You may feel you're helping her to save but to her, she may feel you're controlling her hard earned money and every time she needs access to her OWN money, she has to report/seek your permission. 

JA has been spending money .... I felt unnecessary but JA felt she has to go home each year and buy lots of old/new clothes to send home... shipping a carton home, excluding her 20 kg check-in luggage and 7 kg hand luggage.  I thought JA will eventually learn to manage her own money (after my 2-year nagging) but she still claim no money .....hoping one day I would be soften and give her extra $.  Each time JA tries her trick, I reminded her:
- You are paid promptly each month, your money is yours, how you spend I don't care.  No money is your fault!  
- You are already 38 years old, a mother of 2 teens and should know what to spend and when to save for rainy days.
- Any money required by your embassy or related to OEC is your duty to pay.  I don't owe you anything as per Spore contract.
- If the salary I'm paying you is too little to support your lifestyle, you're free to find a better employer (this is my message but I word it in a simpler form).  Don't compare me with your cousin (claimed her fresh maid cousin is paid $650) or friend's employer.  What I am offering is as per agreement/contract.  I am not a perfect employer but I don't agree I have short-changed you.

JA pulled this trick again for her coming home leave.  She asked me who pays for OEC.  She's holding a multiple OEC, used once last year and intend to use this year (stated valid till 2016), thought can use but one agency staff said can use as long as there are 4 green copies ... JA has.  Last weekend, another agency staff told her can't use because the new OEC is a piece of white paper.  Advised JA to take half day leave on a weekday, take her passport to the embassy and ask (I'll have to apply leave to take care of my girl during her absence) ... the other half day utilise on her usual Sunday but JA is not keen ... so my problem?  Your Sunday is precious, can be taken away? JA made it seemed like I'm not 'helpful' enough.  I am not interested to take the extra mile and visit her embassy on her behalf because I am not a carrot waiting to be chopped nor intend to open my ears, be cornered by filipinos and lectured how to become a desirable employer as per source country!  

I reminded JA, any money required by your embassy is your duty to pay.  If your own country wants your money, you want to go home every year, you have to give feed them, satisfy their greed.  I am implying "You have money nowhere to spend, they are ideal receivers.  Miss your family, this is the price you pay."

My first Filipino FDW, I opened a POSBank savings account in her name (not joint, maid's own personal account).  She holds her own ATM card and PIN.  The flaw about this is POSBank requires all account holders to maintain minimum $500 savings, otherwise admin fee will be levied each month.  This is to the maid's disadvantage.

FDW knows how to use her brain to scheme yet doesn't know what is best for her?  I think most maids know what's the best ... sponge on the employer, rely on any ill-fated/soft-hearted employer, pretend pitiful/poor .... I refuse to be a FDW's nanny!  I am just an employer.  I can give her lots of advice.... nag and nag, print on paper for her 'short-memory' but I am definitely not a 38 years old FDW's MOTHER!  Also by safekeeping a maid's salary, the snowballed amount can be 'heart pinching'.

Safe keeping of maids’ pay can be trickyStraits Times, 2 May 2015
Mrs Felicia Wong pays her domestic worker, Ms Nurhaniyah, through a bank account and keeps her bank card for her, at the latter’s request. Ms Nurhaniyah says she is worried she will misplace the card and has no concerns about the arrangement as she trusts her employers.

About 600 complaints from maids about non-payment of salaries were received by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) each year for the last two years, and most involved safe keeping of the money.
Releasing the figures in response to queries from The Straits Times, MOM reiterated that it discourages safe keeping of pay by employers, to minimise misunderstandings and avoid disputes.
Earlier last month, a Singaporean woman was fined $32,000 - the highest so far - for not paying her maid for more than a year. During the two-day trial, Tang Lee Sung, 39, said Ms Astrilia Agustin had agreed to Tang's mother keeping her salary for her and paying her later.

But Tang and her mother did not pay Ms Astrilia when her employment contract ended as they claimed that she did not perform her tasks well. The arrears amounted to more than $5,700.
According to regulations, employers have to pay domestic workers their salaries no later than seven days after the last day of the salary period, which cannot exceed one month.
While safe keeping is a private arrangement, the salary must still be paid in full when the helper asks for it, said MOM.

Failure to do so is tantamount to unlawful withholding of salary, and the employer could be fined up to $10,000 and/or imprisoned for up to a year.  As of June last year, there were 218,300 foreign maids in Singapore.

Out of 10 maids whom The Straits Times spoke to, five said they sign a document drawn up by their employers or employment agencies on their payday but do not receive the cash upfront.
Ms Tini, 23, from Indonesia said: "I ask my (employer) for the money to send back and she will give it to me, or else she keeps." According to the Indonesian Embassy, more than $227,000 in unpaid salaries was owed to domestic workers last year.

To protect both employers and maids, MOM encourages them to sign a written employment contract specifying the pay amount, mode of payment and date.  Another way is for "a licensed employment agent to sign off and declare that everything has been accounted for, so employers cannot send maids off to escape from all this", suggested Nation Employment's managing director Gary Chin.
If employers prefer safe keeping and both parties agree, it should be all right, provided there is a strong enough deterrent to prevent employers from defaulting, he added.
My employer trusts me and I trust her: Maid

When the Wongs first decided to hire a maid to take care of their newborn son, they were uncomfortable with having someone unfamiliar at home.  But after half a year, Mr James Wong and his wife Felicia - both teachers in their 30s - saw Ms Nurhaniyah, 28, as a friend. Ms Nurhaniyah in turn trusts her employers enough for them to keep her bank card - which holds all the money she has earned in Singapore.  The idea of paying Ms Nurhaniyah through a bank account came from Mrs Wong's aunt.  It was mainly for convenience as payment was a monthly, recurring process, said Mr Wong. Added Mrs Wong: "We also wanted something in black and white."

Ms Nurhaniyah agreed to the payment method and also asked the Wongs to hold her bank card for her. She said: "I don't know how to use (the ATM). I'm also scared of (misplacing) the card."  Every month, when she needs money, she asks Mrs Wong for about $100. Her expenses include school fees, food and calling cards. She is pursuing her Secondary 4 studies at Sekolah Indonesia Singapura in Siglap. She sends money back to West Java once every three months.

Her priority is to save as much of her $550 monthly pay as she can to build a house. She bought a plot of land in Indonesia with her savings from working here from 2005 to 2008. She is also saving for her three-year-old son at home. She thinks of safe keeping of her pay as a way for her to take home as much money as she can.  While working for her previous employer, she had to pay for everything - from shampoo to clothes - so she could not save. "But here, 'Mummy' pays for me so I don't spend so much money."  When asked if she was concerned that Mrs Wong might not return the bank card to her, Ms Nurhaniyah said: " 'Mummy' trusts me and I trust her."

Mrs Wong said: "I can always give her back (the bank card), but it's whether she wants it or not."

17 Aug 2014
Peace and harmony cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.
If FDW doesn't accept her work scope and try to understand her employers' needs (requirements), the relationship won't be good and last long. 

If FDW kept thinking she was forced to work and given a job scope that she was unwilling to deliver for at least 2 years, no matter how understanding or tolerating her employer is, FDW will soon cause a boiling point.  Thinking she could get a FDW job with lesser duties and shorter working hours or her ass will forever be covered by activist and MOM, no matter how bad/lazy she is ... all these unrealistic 不切实际 好高吾远 不负责任 mentality won't make any FDW become a responsible, desirable and an appreciative worker.  Good Life isn't an entitlement for FDW. 不劳而获 should be discouraged.  When you are thankful for what you have, you are rewarded with more.  I doubt all employers have hearts like stone, unkind or can't see your valuable contribution.  

You don't work hard and meet expectations, you don't gain any reward.  Don't need a FDW job, go back to home country, don't be glued to Spore and whining about your bad decision to work as FDW.  You felt you deserve something better, go and tell your government and agency. Get your government and agency to please you, make you feel like a respected FDW-princess or living creature... if anybody dares to hire you.

每个人的心情都时常变化,有时早晚都会不同。有的人善于转化心情,能让阴霾变成阳光;有的人则易受外界影响,容易朝无辜人士发泄 如: 雇主的孩子。你错误的决定 (当女佣)也可严重影响心情 或未来的工作态度与人生观。 心情是可以创造的。心情不好不代表你有权力 迁怒于人他人。。。无论你是女佣或雇主。   你的心情, 对生活 对雇主的谅解在于 你有多务实, 正面的想法与感恩的心。  没有人的心情永远阳光灿烂 人生没有十全十美, 一诺千金 对得起自己, 活的问心无愧  应该就对了。 世上不应该有人刻意说谎 还理直气壮 认为自己没错或借口被雇主诱惑/逼迫成为低等女佣 (人类)很多女佣在埋怨自己命不好 没有遇到好的机会, 好的雇主。其实,机会可能一直都在,只是她们没有尝试去认识它,诚心接受。 一个拒绝, 一个错误的工作态度 或不切实际的比较 将影响她们和他人

人会感到痛苦,个中原因就是没有深刻了解“足够”的意思,只有觉得够了,才会“足”。 永不知足,或索求太多,让内心填不满 。。。是贪心。能对自己说“够”,是人生智慧,是豁达胸怀,也是保全自己的秘诀。从大局出发,从大处着眼,包容待人,塑造良好的自我形象,获得他人的认可,为自己赢得更多的口碑和影响力。别把心给丢了! 

女佣虽然不是令人羡慕的职业但并不可耻也不可悲 (以你的才华,留在自己的国家会更好吗?)。以女佣为职业是你的选择,雇主不认识你,没法逼你离开温暖窝 离乡背井 成为不令人羡慕的弱势女佣。无论做了什么决定 都该承担后果。若你真的身处水深火热 遇到虐待狂雇主, 我同情你, 相信好多人会奋不顾身 无条件愿意帮你。 可惜, 被欺雇主 永远不会有人奋不顾身 无条件愿意鼎力帮助。

Winter:  Repatriating a FDW at short notice
To you, it could mean it's the end of an ordeal because you're repatriating a bad maid or FDW unsuitable to work as maid - behaved more like a princess, didn't recycle her to another unfortunate employer and allow agency to earn another round of easy money... which means you deserve good karma/blessings.

But if you are sending your FDW home without giving her prior warnings/reminders for her mistakes .... all the while, she thought she's a perfect maid, lived in illusion thinking you're satisfied with her performance ... maybe you're swallowing your grievances, maybe you felt FDW won't change even if you tried to counsel her, gave her chances but a leopard can't change its spots ... I don't know the actual situation that resulted in 'instant/short notice termination'. I personally think a bad/lousy maid should be terminated on the spot if employer can 'afford the losses' (if any).  Don't allow bad apples to remain in Spore.  FDWs who want to come to Spore must have the right working mentality, not holidaying mindset.  Don't let them think we owe them a good living.

Some employers may thought allowing maid to be transferred is like a time bomb waiting to explode.  You don't know how soon she will be out, she may take up her 21 days 'leisure time' to shop for employers.  While waiting to be transferred, maid doesn't need to work but you still need to pay levy, continue her insurance coverage and pay her lodging fee imposed by agency.... can't cut the relationship instantly, very draggy procedure ... the ordeal cost more than a one way air ticket.... I fully agree all these harsh conditions are to employer's disadvantage due to MOM's pro-maid and pro-agency policies.  If this maid gets hurt while waiting to be fished by another employer ... you're liable!  It is unfair but there's nothing we can do unless you change the decision makers in MOM/PAP.  To reduce your damages and fears, you certainly can repatriate a FDW at instant/short notice ... you are trying to protect yourself, what's wrong?  There is no activist, no organsation or a good Ministry of Manpower to side you ... you are on your own to be freed from the clutches of FDW!  MOM is already so harsh on employers, why should you allow yourself to be bullied or be at people's mercy since you've a better option?

If the maid is really not a bad FDW and you are sending her home at short notice, do you know how she feels?  Personally, a good helper deserves to stay in Spore.  I won't say the poor (poverty) FDWs should be given sympathy, numerous chances to repent ... they are not fit, some FDWs refused to learn the right ways and complaining frequently .... didn't reflect on themselves, thought they are wonderful and desirable helpers!  Stop spoiling FDWs!  Being poor is not a good reason for FDWs to come to Spore and sponge on us.  Generosity and kindness are not for bad human beings.  FDWs' govt owe them good lives, not us!  When a FDW delivers what I taught and expected her to do, she is a perfect helper.  Don't give me bad face when reprimanded for her mistakes.  Don't tell me "I am a human and deserve some respect or human rights" ..... don't try to be funny or play mastermind games. If you agreed to work in my house, you do it and do them well!  

Think of the money FDW paid her agencies (she has to work for free for so many months), she hasn't break even or started to receive a salary ... still running a loss but you are repatriating her for no good reason.  To me, it is quite cruel to repatriate somebody without letting her know what mistakes she did.  Probably, she felt you're nagging or too demanding.  Maybe maid thought those mistakes or forgetful incidences were no big deal ... but at least you did voice out and get them to sink inside her brain.  Nowadays, I made my FDWs write down their own repeated mistakes so that they can't deny.  Maids can really act forgetful and innocent..... believe them totally, you're in for trouble ... my lessons learnt!  If FDW doesn't want to write, eg M (ex-Indonesian maid), it just showed her unwillingness to change for the better and become a satisfactory helper.... nobody is perfect so I am happy just to have somebody who does her work according to how I trained.  Satisfactory means if she said she cannot cook very well but improved her cooking as days go by or maintained a 70% standard.  Bad means she stopped learning and going backwards ... from bad to worse..... expecting me to accept her to way she wants to be.  80% is good (did 80% of what I said, followed the training I gave), 90% is extremely good and 100% in my rating is of course, Perfect (followed strictly, 100% according to my training and accommodating to my needs) .... not attainable, where to find a perfect FDW?

If you encountered a clever but not-too-bad maid who complains to her embassy, agency or pro-maid MOM, what's going to happen?  You have no grounds to fight the activists or her agency.  Yes, you are paying for her air ticket.  Yes, she's employed under your name and you can terminate her work permit online any time but in terms of humanity, shouldn't you have a chat or some counselling sessions before kicking her out?  My advise is, point out to your FDW when she is doing something wrong or acted forgetful, lazy, etc.  Let her know such performance/attitude would mean she's not keen to work and you have the rights to send her home or be transferred out to another employer once your tolerate level hit its limit.

When I had my 2nd filipino who told me she's not keen to work in my house on the day I fetched her from agency, I was shocked, angry and felt 'myself stupid' but for the sake of both of us (we paid the fees), I decided to give her chances.  Agency has no immediate replacement.  Was told I need to keep No:2 for 21 days at least!  She appeared not keen to stay and delivered tasks badly, was a cry baby (cried almost everyday), quite unhygienic and we had many chats ... eventually, I took my video recorder, asked her whether she was keen to work and her 'forced to work in my house by maid agency' excuse.  I showed that video to agency (not forgetting to email our pro-maid MOM the unfair deal I got) to clear my miseries and demanded for partial refund of agency fee, as well as all outstanding maid loan.  I was still made to pay lodging fee, MOM levy, continued her insurance coverage although it was FDW and agency's fault.

To avoid FDW making a scene, Employer may want to 'bribe' her with some termination money.  Ensure your FDW walks thru the Airport immigration gate.... no turning back or 'escape route'!  

Try not to give FDW a surprise termination.  Let her know (mentally prepared) what are the reasons that could lead to work termination from the day she works for you 勿踩地雷.  I would advise all Employers to set your house rules, Dos and Don'ts.  Give FDW a clear direction so that she knows what you want.  What you told her during interviews, I believe she has forgotten or confused with other prospective employers.  Some may comment why employer so strict, so fussy, why need to 'spoon feed' FDWs ... the bad news is, some FDWs really behaved like big babies or stubborn woman.  Example the way I mopped the floor is different from my FDW's ex-employers.  It is my house, I have my own way.  The tools and detergent I am using is different.  The house I am living is just a 4-room HDB flat, others may be living in condominium; could be buying expensive brands (eg Dynamo) instead of house brands (Fairprice) so how can you compare?  FDW works for me so if I pointed out her method is not what I want, she has to modify and do what I prefer .... that's what I mean by becoming a good helper, not a hard nut to crack. I don't need a FDW to tell me how she wants to do her chores and comparing me with her employers.  Simple reason, it is my house, not hers or her ex-employers.  Want to work for me, please don't be stubborn, just do what I have trained you. 

To avoid misunderstanding, don't expect FDW to be automatic and know what is expected of her.  Don't expect your maid, including those who claimed they are experience FDWs, to deliver what you want.  Show her, demonstrate and get FDW to do task in your presence.  If you thought by saying 'iron the clothes' and FDW should know your preference ..... you could be wrong.  You can get FDW to iron one of the clothes and then rate it.  Tell her what is your 'right way'.  Her usual method may not be your right way. I am not being a perfectionist.  If I asked for fish, don't buy me chicken .... got the logic?  If I say buy me bee hoon dry, don't get me bee hoon soup .... understand?

Below is what Facebook maids felt if being repatriated at short notice:

Maid agents get 'dos and don'ts' about marketing maids
The Straits TimesWednesday, 16 Jul 2014
In a letter sent on Wednesday morning, it told them to not include words such as "cheap fees or promotional rates" in advertisements as this may "liken foreign domestic workers to merchandise that can be purchased".

The advisory is reproduced:
Dear Key Appointment Holders and EA Personnel,
We are concerned by incidences of insensitive advertising and inappropriate display of FDWs by EAs.

Insensitive Advertising by EAs
We understand that advertisements indicating very low agency fees are sometimes used among FDW-placing EAs to attract prospective employers. However, these advertisements which emphasise cheap fees, promotional rates, and/or discounts inadvertently give the impression that the FDWs are being marketed as merchandise. EAs should ensure that all advertising collaterals accord FDWs basic respect and human dignity.

EAs should therefore refrain from all forms of public advertising (eg on shop fronts and websites) that casts FDWs in an undignified light. EAs' advertisements should not make any mention of fees or liken FDWs to merchandise that can be purchased and replaced when found unsatisfactory. The Ministry considers such practices unacceptable. EAs can however continue to communicate the full schedule of their fees and policies to prospective clients upon their request.

Inappropriate Display of FDWs
While we understand that the presence of FDWs at EAs' premises is aimed at facilitating job matching between the FDWs and prospective employers, displaying FDWs in an undesirable manner (including having them sit outside EA premises) reinforces the impression that FDWs are commodities to be "tested" or traded is unacceptable to the Ministry.

The Ministry considers the practices listed above as potentially detrimental to FDWs, who are ultimately EAs' clients. The Commissioner of Employment Agencies has grounds to take action against EAs with such practices under Section 11(1)(c) of the Employment Agencies Act which states that an EA should not act in a manner likely to be detrimental to the interests of its clients.
EAs should therefore cease the above unacceptable practices with immediate effect. The Ministry will take action against EAs which persist in such undesirable practices.

Please contact us at Tel: 6438 5122 or email: mom_fmmd@mom.gov.sg if you require any clarification.

Related posts to read further.  Reader need to scroll to the relevant part with these keys words:
Maids 'on display'
Poor treatment by maid agency
A Myanmese's view via Facebook regarding Maids on Display

Channel News Asia - MOM also reiterated that it is unacceptable for agencies to display FDWs in an “undesirable manner” which gives the impression that FDWs are “commodities to be ‘tested’ or traded”, including the mentioning of fees.  However, employment agencies can continue to communicate the full schedule of their fees and policies to prospective clients upon their request.

Since the warning was issued, some agencies were spotted taking down posters which emphasised low fees or discounts. Agencies Channel NewsAsia spoke with said the advisory would not affect their business strategies. One of them is Homekeeper, which an Al Jazeera report says treated its workers like "commodities", although MOM says it has found no evidence of wrongdoing.

"For us, we don't need to take much action, because all along, our marketing strategy is that we do not advocate price wars," said Homekeeper's General Manager Mark Chin. "We will tell the customers what we can provide (in terms of) the different types of training."

Some agencies have also welcomed MOM's advisory, saying that it creates a level playing field. "It's fair competition for all the maid agencies in Singapore," said Flora Sha, Bukit Timah Branch Manager at United Channel Employment Agency.

Other than insensitive advertising, agencies are also not allowed to display workers in an undesirable manner, such as having them sit outside their offices.   Since the advisory was issued, MOM officers have been on the ground to check that employment agencies are adhering to the rules. Action will be taken against agencies which fail to comply, MOM added, which include penalties such as demerit points. Uncooperative agencies may also have their licences suspended or revoked.

"MOM proactively audits Singapore employment agencies," said an MOM spokesperson, "and those found to have acted in a manner detrimental to the interest of the FDWs, will be dealt with in accordance to the Employment Agencies Act.  "EAs which flout Sec 11(1)(c) of the EA Act, which states that an EA should not act in a manner likely to be detrimental to the interests of its clients, may be issued demerit points. Recalcitrant EAs may have their licences suspended or revoked."

The Association of Employment Agencies says the advisory is long overdue. Its president K Jayaprema said "Every EA will definitely take it very seriously, because it's not just an advisory to tell them 'We advise you to be mindful and follow certain ways of managing your business'. You can see that they have spoken of legislation. They have to conform to what MOM has requested for. So we are definitely going to see a lot of improvement in the industry."

They're human, stop 'selling' them, Mypaper, 17 Jul 2014
But the product on sale is not from the bargain bin. It is someone who could soon help you out at home.

To put an end to such marketing, the Government has advised agencies that they should not portray foreign domestic workers (FDWs) as "commodities" to be "tested or traded".  And in another move that could lighten the burden that falls on FDWs when they find jobs here, the Association of Employment Agencies (Singapore) has proposed cutting the upfront fees that employers pay.

Its president, K. Jayaprema, told My Paper: "We have sent out a recommendation to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) saying that the upfront fee that employers pay on behalf of the foreign domestic worker should be limited to the local two months' agency fees that is approved by MOM. This will mean they will not heavily be in debt."

Currently, the placement fees can run into the thousands and is deducted from the FDW's salary every month.  She also said that the Government's proposal to treat maids with respect would improve the image of the entire industry.  Agencies have been told not to run advertisements which emphasise cheap fees, promotional rates and discounts.  They should also refrain from having the foreign domestic workers sit outside their offices.

This comes after a news report pointed out that maids are being "displayed" and treated as commodities by some agencies here.  It is also important to take action against such agencies, and to step up on public education, said Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home) executive director Jolovan Wham.  He said: "Many employers don't respect domestic workers. We expect them to be at our beck and call. We see workers who put in 15 hours of work every day."

John Gee, who does research at migrant worker organisation Transient Workers Count Too, noted: "Singapore compares itself to the most developed nations when it comes to economic progress, and this should also be the case when it comes to how we treat and view foreign domestic workers.  "In countries like Europe and America, there is a cap on their working hours and they have mandatory days off. Those are the basic standards."

Mr Gee added: "It's easy to take foreign domestic workers for granted. It's very convenient to have someone to do your washing and cleaning. You can easily sit back and give them more work and think this is the natural order of things."

MP Zaqy Mohamad, who sits on the Government Parliamentary Committee for Manpower, said that the advisory "sets the tone for us to respect foreign domestic workers here".  "While it targets employment agencies, we have to look beyond scrutinising them. We also have to treat our workers well - we don't want a culture where we degrade or cheapen what they do."

An MOM spokesman said that the ministry "proactively audits Singapore employment agencies". Those found to have "acted in a manner detrimental to the interest of domestic workers" may be issued demerit points, and "recalcitrant" ones may have their licences suspended or revoked.

Sporenot  •  All this talk about restricting human right for domestic helpers are not sensible when goverment put the employer responsible of the domestic helper behaviour. include them in the event fxxking around and return pregnant.
If we are responsible to their behaviours, then we should have a right in the discipline. However, that does not mean you dont treat them as people. Treat them with mutual respect, give reasonable food, shelter and rest but expect them to respect and listen to us is not unreasonable.

I read from newspaper that the government is considering capping 2 months salary for the placement fee. While it is good news, but the agencies will end up encouraging the increase of maid salary to boost their placement fee. At the end, it is always the employer who suffer.

John  •  If those labour activists truly care about those foreign workers and maids they should first look into the agency fees unreasonably charged by agents in those countries that these workers and maids came from, many of these workers and maids took more than 2 years using up to 50% of the wages paying those unscrupulous agents.

Undignified advertisement? How about doing some real work getting those agency fees reduced instead of barking here on issue that won’t really improve the life of those workers and maids?

To EVERYONE in this Website (Yahoo news), Especially to the PAP , Opposition Parties & All Singaporean ,
" Proper Channels " for workers to seek helps from relevant authorities & private organizations in Singapore do not seem to be enough , presently.

If these " Proper Channels " are full of LOOP HOLES & WEAKNESS that can be ABUSE & EXPLOIT by BAD PEOPLE in the top management of Employers , OR , WORST, DISHONEST , INCOMPETENT , IRRESPONSIBLE , UNRELIABLE people are put in -charge of all these " Proper Channels " , then these " Proper Channels " are completely USELESS & UNWORKABLE.

A GOOD TYPICAL EXAMPLE is the NKF Scandal in 2005, on how come despite " Proper Channels " had been in place, but such DAMMED Nonsense still happen & had been going on for many years, since 1998 when there are already people complain of NKF's bad practices, but the PAP-run government had not done anything on it until heavy damages have been done .

Not only the Many Poor Foreign Workers , even SINGAPOREAN Employees, including the highly educated Singaporean, also face such BIG DAMNED PROBLEM & our PAP-run Singapore Government do not seem to care about it over so many years . . . .

So the PAP-run government must need to GO IN-DEPTH to FIND OUT whether such FAULTS exist or not & do not jump so fast into CONCLUSION that it, that it is other people’s faults, it is VERY UNETHICAL, IRRESPONSIBLE to behave in this way.

If the PAP-run government continue to use all types of EXCUSES on “ MUST FOLLOW LAWS, RULES or PROPER CHANNELS “, but don’t care whether its WORK or DON’T WORK, HARMFUL or NOT HARMFULS, BRING PAINS & SUFFERINGS or NOT, then don’t Blame the Singaporean population or even the Foreign Governments for blaming the millionaire PAP top leaders.

Using Old 3rd World Management Method to run our 1st Class Economy Definitely lead to Very Big Destruction & Troubles to our Society , our Job Security & Singapore Economy

Perhaps , it may not be a BAD IDEA to TEACH PAP a lesson that it don’t forget in the General Election 2016, if PAP still behave in Cruel , Harsh , Double-Standard minded , Irresponsible , Mercenary –minded & Uncaring Ways ? ? ?

Deaf Mute  •  Maid agencies should be more sensitive to maids' feelings and dignity. They may provide cheap services but they have their personal worth. Treat them decently. And that applies to employers too.

Marco  •  The Singapore government should ban employment agencies. Those agencies typically sell head count and profit without doing anything.

It should be consider illegal. How can any company sit there doing nothing and take a huge commission every month from that worker pay?

Employment agency nowadays mostly deal with outsource manpower. They seat in the middle doing almost nothing and collect money.

$3.5K in, $1.8K out. The rest is profit for the agencies. That's inhuman.

Globe  •  their own country men are fucking them up by charging sky high agent fees. 
certain gov are barking up the wrong tree to cover for their incompetence in running their own country

JS • A country that sends their women abroad to do mean jobs like maids etc is worst governed.It shows that their rulers are not at all doing their job.

Sinbad2  • what slave gets paid? what slave signs a contract? what slave can quit?
If it's not forced and you are not someone's property, you are not a slave.

Jack  •  Respect? My maid came back from her first Sunday off and told my mom that her Philippines friends told her to get a boyfriend here and if she got pregnant, just abort it. Just be happy and do not think about the consequences. Have to be careful about the friends you make.

Nick C  •  Please lah! These days everyone is a "commodity". In the corporate/employment world, Singaporeans are discarded & forgotten by the time we reach 40. No more employment opportunities for us whether we are a double A-Star or triple A-Star or President's scholar or World A-Star scholar! 

In the end, everyone is a commodity including us & all thanks to the great PAP.

Mylene  •  Oh, if this is the case, perhaps we should be like Hongkong,...Just send back FDW who are not suitable to work here..no transfer....If hongkong can do in this way, why cant we....That will cut down transfer maid in agency... waiting for potential employer to interview ..

Jane  •  many if not most maids are prostituting themselves....it is a old story.....a few years ago I was at a park, a Filipina maid with a dog at the park , after a while an India man came....she tied the dog nearby and went into bushes with the man....dog was supposed to have been taken for a walk.....many are mistresses too...it is a known fact.... weekend prostitutes many....some even do in weekdays....being a maid is just a 'front' for MANY....

Youlahthan  •  Philippines should just ban all their citizens from becoming "maids" in Singapore...... but everyone knows it will not.

Heaven Know's  •  MOM should investigate the Philippines Embassy's Standard Employment Contract for "Filipino Household Service Worker" (Domestic Helper)........

Clause: 3.
Basic Monthly Salary: Six Hundred Dollars (SGD$600) or equivalent to US$400.00......Why should there be condition on how much Employer should pay to their maids as long the rate are reasonable and acceptable by both parties...Anyway the Philippines Embassy is not the one paying for these "Filipino Maids" coming from the Philippines...and in the Philippines they earn "$0"... who is the Embassy telling us what to do as long we do not abused the law with the Singapore Government. Who is paying the maid salaries?

Try asking their own Philippines Government to provide their own Filipino people with jobs and better salaries in order that their own Filipinos will not come out of Philippines to work!
The answer is very clear....so they should be lucky that the Filipinos working oversea sending billions of pesos to Philippines which their own country can't even help them!
So don't "demand" and be bless that they have money to send home to the Philippines! 

Clause: 9
Vacation leave with full pay of not less than 15 calendar days for every year of service to be availed of upon completion of the contract.
They must be "Joking"? Our normal Standard Leave for the first year of work in accordance to MOM laws for Employee in Singapore starting with seven (7) days.
Do the Philippines Embassy knows' what they are "talking"?

Clause: 15e
It shall be unlawful for the Employer to hold or withhold the Helper's passport with or without his/her consent.
What Rubbish is this?
We entrust our own innocent children, our valuables in the house and other important documents or things to a "stranger" so call maid and let her have her passport without holding her legal documents for her to leave Singapore?
What security do the Employer have if in case something goes Wrong with the maid?
Under the law of MOM, she can hold her work permit card for identification purpose. 

Undertaking of Employer.....
Clause 4
That I shall provide the HSW(Maid) with a separate sleeping room.
What are we employing here a "Golden Maid"
Our own children need to share their sleeping room with their brother or sister.
Maybe in the Philippines they can build a maid's quarter's not in Singapore!

The Philippines Embassy are really not helping thier own people but just making the Employer up set with such conditions whic does not make sense and considerate for the Employers!

My Question....would the Filipino people treat their maids in the Philippines like what we do here in Singapore? Answer: NO! maybe worst!
Please "clean" your own backyard first before........?????

TOMOJIRO  •  What ? what maids ? Oh ! you mean weekend Comfort women for banglas.....

Not Aladdin  •  well their own countries send them off like commodities, so why not here?

The Business of Making Money from Maids
HOME: Singapore’s Employment Agencies Act stipulates that agencies are allowed to charge a maximum of two months salary as a fee to foreign workers entering Singapore, yet most workers end up with a debt that is much higher, either knowingly or unknowingly. Singaporean agencies justify charging higher fees by claiming it is not a debt but a loan, or by claiming that they are merely asking workers to pay off fees charged by agencies overseas, for which they have no responsibility.

Jessel is a domestic worker from the Philippines currently staying at the HOME shelter. She shares with us her story of her agent, who when she complained about having been deceived with a false contract, send Jessel a text message stating ‘I told you before my business is making money’.

‘Getting married at an early age is quite difficult. At 19, I gave birth to my eldest daughter, and the following year to my second. Life was hard with my husband having no permanent work. So I decided to apply for work abroad, in Singapore. Applying to work in another country takes time, money and patience. My first attempt failed and I had no choice but to stay with my family. I gave birth to my third and fourth child.

At that point, life got even harder. When my youngest son turned two I decided to apply again to work in Singapore. I had to pay six months of salary to the agent, but my employer let me pay small deductions every month. I was lucky, my employers were good people. I felt at home with them, even if I did not have any days off and they did not allow me a handphone. After two years, my contract finished, and I had to find another employer. I did not go home to take a vacation because I wanted to earn money. To transfer I had to pay two months of salary to the agent again.

My second employers were good people too. They treated me as family. When my mam gave birth, I felt like I was having a baby too. After a year and a half, I made a mistake that I regret badly. I decided to go back home. My mam wanted me to stay, and I am now very sorry she agreed to send me home.

Life back home was difficult, as I did not have any income and could not provide for my four kids. I felt so down. I applied for a job in Singapore again. Processing went very fast and after only one month I was back in Singapore. I was very shocked when the agent told me seven months of my salary were going to be deducted as an agent fee. I did not get to see my contract until I had been working for the new employer for three weeks already. By that time I had little choice but to sign it. I felt that I had been fooled. Why had they not told me this when I was still in my own country? They had said that because I had worked in Singapore before, I would be a direct hire and would only get four months of salary deductions, spread out over a longer period. I had trusted them to tell the truth. Another mistake.

This time, I had left for Singapore together with a friend, through the same agency. My friend’s contract stated she would pay four months of salary deductions, and that they were going to be spread out over ten months, just like we were promised. Me, I would not have any money to send home to my family for seven months.

I asked my agent, who had turned out to be my mam’s sister, why my loan was so much higher than my friends. The agent said my friend was different, but when I asked why, she would not answer me. Neither did she answer me when I asked to go home. When I told the agent I was very disappointed in her, she texted me back, saying: ‘I told you before my business is making money.’

I thought I was very strong. I thought I had patience. But now, I started to feel unhappy with my work. Every time my mam raised her voice to her kids, every time I even saw her, I felt nervous. I could not fight the thoughts anymore about my own kids, now I could not send them any money. If I can’t send any money to my kids, they will starve. I was worrying so much I could not work properly. I felt depressed. I wanted to go home. That is why I ran away .’

HOME has managed to negotiate a reduction of Jessel’s agency fee, and she is hoping to find a new employer soon. It is common for domestic workers to find upon arrival in Singapore that agent’s fees are higher than agreed. Since contracts are either substituted, or not signed until after they have arrived at their employer’s house, domestic workers find they have little choice but to accept the new conditions.

Singapore’s Employment Agencies Act stipulates that agencies are allowed to charge a maximum of two months salary as a fee to foreign workers entering Singapore, yet most workers end up with a debt that is much higher, either knowingly or unknowingly. Singaporean agencies justify charging higher fees by claiming it is not a debt but a loan, or by claiming that they are merely asking workers to pay off fees charged by agencies overseas, for which they have no responsibility.

The Philippines government regulations stipulate that domestic workers should not be charged any agency fee. By allowing agencies to charge up to 8 months salary, and more in some instances, the Singapore government has contravened its own laws and also violated the Philippine government’s regulations.

rhealyn alonzo:  My agent also the same charged me 6mos deduction it was so unfair..this happening must pulished to news and let all the employers and agency knws about it..thank you.more power to your office.

Nixon Darlington Umblas:  I have a lot of friends who are in the same predicament as Jessel have gone through. Talking to them, I’ve come to know that most of them do not know what to do with their unsatisfactory predicament. It’s nice to hear, an organization such as HOME is out there to readily extend some support and help.

iksrahm Animeg:  Singapore agencies,will process homeleave and charge us 4 1/4mos.salary dduction.

Ulol Ka Na Magnanakaw:  I have a 7 months salary deductions... My agency take advantage of us!!! After i finished my my deduction salary they called mo to signa the blank sheet of parer for how many pages! That was against the law I WANT TO SCREAM AND PUT THE PAPER ON THE RUBBISH BUT still i cannot do because am here in singapore they still can hold my neck! When i come home ds Agency will stop their craziness!!!    i want to make a move for our justice being a maid.

Alejandro Ruizdelacuesta:  So what can be done? Can a collective claim be brought on Singapore courts on behalf of the workers?
If the Act stipulates a maximum charge, then this is beyond the realm of freedom of contract and goes from being a civil contractual dispute to an administrative one. The case should be referred to the Administrative institution that implemented the Act. At the same time the case of people like Ulol above, which show blatant abuse and fraud by coercion and intimidation, I think should be taken to small claims court. I expect that she cannot be represented but she can be assisted in filing and presenting her claim.

Mariz Casiping Kashem:  Dans agency collect 5 month salary deduction if your from philippine but if you change employer her in sg 2 month salary..they only say but the agencies not follow..even indonesian maid also pay 5month or more..

Rrhecy Yam Garde:  My agency took 7 1/2 months of my salary, that's equivalent to s$3,210..im finishing my contract few months from now.what should I do ???any legal suggestions pls.

Roselyn Pastidio: How could we do? Complain then nobody listened and nver take actions,.suppose to be all agency hv standard minimum deductions,minimum wages,.as per m.o.m and both country sides regulations to follows?.

Heaven Bye Urside:  dan's agency charge me 8months 
I went Der ask f I change employer how much it cost...they told me I pay 2months... coz finish already my contract my current employer they went back on their country so I need to change employer....

HOME:  Even though agencies are not supposed to charge more than 2 months, the additional costs are labelled as 'loans' and MOM allows that, unfortunately.

Analiza Arcojada:  im months and half salary deduction here in singaporw ... and my agent take from me thw contract document said latwr Ii will gve it back to you but until now she never return she has so many alibys about my doc... please
how to get from her I want to get my contract doc please help me... thnks

Janvier Lee:  Well, MOM allowed the employment agencies to do for the past decade. Anyway, it boils down the repeated suggestions made by the public several few years ago. 
1. Orange Law to allow maids to try the new home and be tested for 48 hours. So there is no need to display them and their skills like exhibits.

2. When EITTHER party finds it not suitable, then the deal is OFF. No need to sign the Employer and Maid Agreement.

3. During the 48 hours, not a single cent of agency fee is paid. It saves the hassle of getting refund, disagreement to make payments for maids behalf . . 

4. Allow this 4 hours for the employer to show proof that a GIRO application is made to pay maids salary.

5. Ensure that the Employment Agency has someone who can translate English to Indonesian/ Myanmar language to the maid.

6. Set a 90 days Orientation Plan for the maid. Both parties must have the same expectation.

* * * * * * * * * *
Extracted from MJ's Facebook.  If you happen to see your FDW's name appearing in my extract .... you, as an employer better find out what sort of good advice she has been brainwashed to believe.  Being over smart and trying to manipulate you is not a good helper.  Maid can demand, negotiate nicely but not showing you the attitude of Employer owes her a great deal!

Many girls are shy to negotiate with employer as they think they are asking for too much or they do not want to offend the employer or lose the job. Here are some subtle techniques, used by even corporate executives.
Most important things are salary, your off days and curfew hours. Instead of asking directly, always ask INDIRECTLY in such a 'leading" manner that employer will themselves make their offer before you let your expectations be known. Always try to get the employer to disclose their RANGE (not fixed amount but RANGE of amount) before they ask you about your expectations.
indirectly ask them "sir/mam, which are my off days or how many off days...". You may have only sundays off in mind but generous employer may offer "all sundays and public holidays off" even before you mentioned your expectations. In case they asked you first, always say all sundays off and may be pubic holidays too (make it sound tentative).

Winter:  In Spore, FDWs are not entitled to paid off days for all public holidays.  Also, off day is not all Sundays, it can be a weekday, depending on what you've agreed with your Employer.  The poster MJ made mistake and mislead others, thus, make maids felt they are short-changed/cheated.  MJ is a foreign talent who proclaimed himself as an Indian expat.  You know how expat behaves in Spore .... so there is nothing wrong to say 'NO' to your demanding or pushy FDW. Any employer who is in doubt, browse MOM's handbook.  Don't just agree because your maid or 'her friend/MOM' said so.  You are just being kind and extremely generous if you can afford to give all Sundays and Public Holidays as paid rest days to your FDW.  

Q: Must the FDW's rest day fall on a sunday?
MOM's answer: You and your FDW can mutually agree on which day of the week her rest day should fall on. It does not have to be a Sunday. As rest days typically fall on Sundays, if you prefer your FDW to take her rest days on other days, it is best that you reach an 
agreement with her before she starts employment with you. 

Same way, ask "what are the curfew hours". They may say, 8am to 10pm already or may offer for u to stay out on Sat night. he he he ... if not, and if employer is unreasonable and says 10am to 6pm (too low, you must not do any work on your off day and you must get full day off, min 8am till 8pm or even 10pm, not just 8 hours from 10am to 6pm). In case they asked you first, always say 8am till late e.g. 8 or 10pm.

Winter:  In Spore, as per MOM, employer and FDW can discuss on some light duties to be carried during FDW's rest days.   

Q: How many hours of rest constitute a rest day, and what time does the rest day span across?  
MOM's answer: Most employers provide their FDWs with at least eight hours of continuous break from work. As work arrangements in a domestic household setting are varied, you should discuss and mutually agree with your FDW on the time and duration of her rest day.

Q: Can i ask my FDW to do light chores on her rest day?
MOM's answer: Work arrangements in a domestic household setting are varied. You and your FDW should work out a mutual arrangement that is reasonable for both parties. Generally, you may ask your FDWs to perform light duties. 

3. SALARY RANGE: Never mention fixed amount, but mention a wide range
If thay ask for salary, and your expectation is $600 and always say "I am expecting $600 to $800" and let employer decide, YOU WILL BE SURPRISED THAT A LOT OF EMPLOYER WILL OFFER MORE THAN YOUR EXPECTATIONS e.g. offer many employer $700 or $800. If an employer offers less than Sg$600, then let them know that it is a LEGAL REQUIREMENT by Pinas/Indonesian embassy to have min monthly salary of US$400 = Sg$600 and your contract must be authenticated/stamped/endorsed by your embassy and let employer know that embassy will not stamp the contract if salary is below MINIMUM MANDATED level.

Winter:  In Spore, only expat offers ridiculous salary such as $700 or $800 per month.  Expats are rich, paid few times more than locals and able to use their money to spoil the FDW's market.  US$400 is equivalent to S$499, not S$600.  Go online to use latest currency converter or visit any bank/forex exchange to see who is trying to sow discord.  Please don't be dumb and be mislead by people who are oblivious.  Your greediness will result in a sour relationship between yourself and your not-too-bad employer.  Others are smiling at your stupidity.  If you end up leaving your current employer and need to find a new one, both you and employer have to pay agency fee to find a new relationship.  You'll cry if you land in the house of a bad employer!  Your friends and activists are not going to minimise your losses or 'polish your bad luck'. 

Be flexible, dont be shy to ask or negotiate. Negotiation is all about trading offers until both parties mutually agree. Do not accept the offer, if you are not happy. If they offer lower salary then ask more off days including public holidays and extended hours, give n take.
Remember, MONEY IS A RELATIVE THING. RICHNESS IS A RELATIVE THING. Asking for $100 or $200 may seem too much but it is NOT too much for an employer who is earning $5000 (local employers) or expat/local employers who may be earning $10,000 (lower income) or even $20,000 (reasonable) or $30,000 to $40,000 (people working as Director or VP for large multinational) a month. And, all these bosses get all SAT & SUN, PUBLIC HOLIDAY pluS 10 to 20 working days off every year from their own employer, so deep in their heart they know what you are asking for a very reasonable. An employer has to be truly a moronic idiot to think you deserve less humane treatment.

Winter:  Goodness, $5000!  I wish I have such salary. If hubby earns this, I don't need to employ FDW .... I can happily 'retire' and stay home.  Sad to say, I don't earn this amount ... still far far away.  Only expat/foreign talents earn S$5000 to $20,000 per month.  If my FDW ask for $100 increment which is 23% pay hike, I'll tell her to pack and get lost!  

My ex-maid J wanted a huge pay jump.  She was employed at S$340 per month. I gave her a pay increment after her 1st year to S$400.  Then when she was about to finish her contract, I gave her my increment proposal.  She accepted but later claimed short-changed.  Based on S$340 and her dreamed salary after finishing 2-year contract, her expectation of about 50% pay hike was scary.  She didn't allow me to be prepared for the next wave and just dropped me a bomb!  If J had endured till the 3rd year, I would have given her an adjustment based on continuous good performance.  Based on her agency contract, J was supposed to be earning S$340 for 2 years.  I gave her a pay adjustment at the end of her first year so seriously, I thought I wasn't that bad and have recognised her work performance.  Comparing J and JA, I really miss J's cooking.  Not that perfect because her trainer (me) isn't a great cook but compared to JA, she's definitely better.  JA's cooking wasn't the kind "Practice makes Perfect".  The more she displays her culinary skills, the worse the food turns out .... same dishes that she has cooked umpteen times but result was bad to worse or she forgets something.  When JA takes her Sundays off, it is the time we buy pack food from coffee shops or food court.  I can't task her with new dishes, she's not keen to learn well ... sick of eating the food that she cooks. J 'behaves' like a working cow.  When I tell her to rest, she said she is used to work long hours.  J's betrayal was really a tight slap on my face, mixture of sadness, disappointment and angry.  Whereas, JA and M wouldn't want to miss any chance to rest/skive.

Maid's posting:
Heins Donor: I'm been working here with my employer for almost 7years.i start with 340 a month. now 500 a month, 2 Sundays day off per month, from 8am to to 7pm or 8 am to 5:pm to cook.... I'm to shy to talk about this matter. Because they think they always right...And I just put up with my employer until my contract end....don't worry they are good employer!

Rose Alonzo: Thanks po. .for da effort posting ths helpful strategy how to deal wth our employer.u r correct sir it shld be gve and take. .

Mahal Jat: ask them nicely but firmly for ur expectations...always NEGOTIATE, NEGOTIATE and NEGOTIATE...nicely but firmly..once or twice employer may turn down but when they think ur serious they listen to you. 

How can u say an employer is good when they are exploiting poor girls (you) ... sorry, i dont hv respect for them. But u need to subtly, politely but firmly need to standup for urself, remind them nicely, again n again until they listen. There is a saying in Hindi language "even a mother does nto feed a baby milk unless baby ciies" which means sometimes a mother also does not know if the baby is hungry and wants milk/feed, i.e. you have to sometimes ask for what you want or else people may not have a clue what you want, they may not know ur not happy, they may assume ur ok with arrangements. Always communicate, know ur rights, stand firmly for your rights ina polite way and be persistent if employer ignore u 1st of 2nd time. 

Sinamar Rabanal: Hmmm...makes me feel sick when I encounter women who can't even stand for their basic rights...ignorance is no excuse (especially filipinas) because we are not allowed to be out of the country to work without a high school certificate.

Mahal Jat: OFF DAY means ZERO WORK on that day ...you can let them know the law. its ur day for rest and recreation. They gotta ove their lazy bums if they want food n stuff on ur off day.

Sheiner Mhae Labay: "I wake up early then imust finished all my work before I leave the house I prepare their fud for lunch keep ready also for their dinner, omg how stupid my employer I leave the house by 9 something and must be backhome by 6 pm because I must br there to cook for dinner,, my off is week day alama.,once a month ""how is this,, but still I keen until my contract finished

Sheiner Mhae Labay: Yup they say they r always right, lastime also I talk my ma'am because that day is my off then she said I must finished everything before I leave the house, suddenly I get upset, and Im not in a mood I talk to her, excuse today is my off, u know whats the meaning of rest day? I say then the more she talking bla bla bla, she said im lazy., and she can go to our embassy to blacklist me, how is this mr founder mahal jat,,

Luvis Sales Alemania: Feeling down   i've been working with my employer nearly 4years this coming May 2014 with salary $500 curfew till 6 PM every year more job to do instead increas my salary they are expecting more from me but i never argue coz i understand they know much better what is our contract signed and i don't have any copy but read it. So do i need to remind them? Talk about HONESTY.

Rosalinda B. Panague: most of the time we encountered salary and off day problems, i know some of us we try to negotiate to the employer and most of them never accept negotiation, seems like we don't have any right to negotiate but follow their own rules if not they will return the poor worker to the agency or terminate their contract immediately and return home, who is right or who wrong, who followed or do not followed the stated contract that is not their concerned, all they want is for the worker do a hard work and not lazy...huh what a heck....as a worker we also need to do what ever they want us to because we need a job to feed our family back home....that is reality...

Heins Donor: OFF DAY means ZERO WORK on that's day... I will bear that in my mind to protect my self for my employer..

Melai-Santiago Anacan Geronimo: wow!that a very clear explaination. now i know wer to to contact once i finish my contract here thanks a lot
this offdays issue me making me upset too because I have only twice a month from 10am to 6pm...I have to get up early and do the car wash and cleaning and preparing their breakfast.. And when I came home I have to work too and cook dinner .. In the morning I can only got out of the has by 11.and I must not be late of coming home.. 10mins late is a big issue already...  10 more months of sacrificing ... Can't wait for my finish contract

Ako Xi Yham: finishing my contract this coming aug..and slowly and step by step i talk to them i only ask twice off if i renew they havent agree yet

Mahal Jat: stand up for ur legal rights, at least sake of ur kids or else u will continue to be exploited ... stand up n get paid the prevailing fair market wages and off days 
ur letting urself to be exploited, no more. you really need to standup, if you dont standup for urself, then no one else can. at the end, others can only advice but u hv to act/negotiate/move out. sa surgery, it comes out of the mandatory medical insurance as required by MoM and Phil govt, its part of your perks, its not a favor as it does not come out of their pocket.

Melai-Santiago Anacan Geronimo:  I'm really planning to ask for transfer by because I'm so tired in here.. .. She's not giving me any rest at day.. I complained to her already but she said I will not compare her to other household.. My work starts at 6am until midnyt and because they are Indian ..they love guest so I can rest only very late and have to get early.. Pls advice me sir

Evelyn Aquio Dilim: most employers dont want us to give offdays and not allowed to use phone so that they can manipulate us..they want us to behave like a dog.-do what they want and whatever they please them..they want us to be isolated so that we cant gather information specially the laws concerning our rights. so many house rules,works and responsibilities given to us but a single 24h offday.they cant follow.. and they even find it very ridiculous and unreasonable for a maid to practice our rights,. they cant even get their water without me but call me lazy?! no way.!!!

Evelyn Aquio Dilim: showing blackface and turning rebellious is not the proper way to let ur employer know how u feel.and dont try to argue with them specially when theyre in highest point of anger.instead,try to approach,or talk to them when they're calm and in gud mood so u can both talk nicely and u can express more what u really want.in this way u can help them realize their wrongdoings too.trust me and it works,!

Nemia P. Cordero: Hi.....I planed to go spore this year.... since I don't have any experience I learned more from this techniques .....I have my agency there in Manila.... I gonna came from western visayas..... my agency said that gonna be paid 16000-17000 pesos which is equally to 470 Sg$.... that's too low for the minimum that stated in MOM laws.... so what can u advice in me for this situation? Actually I don't talk to my employer yet but only my agency give this idea bout my earning.... can u give me advice for this?

Venus Tunday: how about food allowances Mahal Jat,,do you have any tips to negotiate this matter?
I want to hv it in my nxt boss so then I will be happy with my food and happy to work too,thanks.,,

Roselleth Martinez Doneda: If we .learn .how .to fight our rights ..those kinda employers also get scared.speaking of employers i been .encounter veri wicked one before my present ..lucky i learn how to .fight my rights and thanks God .i get out .from .her ....thanks to .our .mentor .here ...if nt you im sure im .still there .untill .now .god .bless .and .keep .up .the .good work helping .us  .

Mahal Jat: same tips apply ...for food allowance to anything...do not go with flow...before u say yes to a job offer, negotiate everything upfront, whatever u negotiate then ask the agent to include in the contract terms n condition.

Jelly Gabriel:  Mu employer offer just &520, coz my salary right is just $420. She said she cannot give me more than $100. And she said that the sAlary of with experience the new hire is just $500. Regarding my off also they til 6-6:30pm coz i need to cook dinner for them. Coz if i dint cook for them another cost and they spend money. On day time they already told me they are givimg me a rest honestly i cant get rest the house is 3story. Wht i shall i do? Do i complain to MOM regarding these or better to find a new boss.

Park Yuen Mei:  My employer talk to me if my willing to go no off day of course w/ pay...my madam told me f im willing much better for me,but I refuse it I have only once a month off.they told me that they need so badly because of grandmother..but I refuse it I told them that they find a new maid who's willing no off day.this is only my main problem to them no off day..about my relationship w/ them I have nothing to say there are nice and good people.my madam told that she thinking about this.I'm waiting for there decisions and feedback...its really hard for me to decide now becoz I love this family...I dont know Wat to do if leave them and find a new employer or I'm go to hongkong I'm just waiting also for feedback in my papers..

Rose Alonzo: No off day? ? ?for me I can't take it. F they r really nice then they shld.also consider gvng u a break frm all this workload .

Nene C. Janiz: now a days its hard to find a good employer eamana..y not asking 1day off a mont i think dat wud be ok..no need to go out every sunday wat.its just a waste of money be practical..im sure they will pay u if u are not going out right??..

Zoe Zen: Please read http://maid-employer.blogspot.sg/.../cost-to-hire.... Tats employer stories.. How. Many. % of sg population earns more than 5k a month. Please consider living expense in Sg, be fair to employer please.  (Winter:  this is my blog!  Means FDWs are reading my blog.  Hope they won't be cheated/mislead by activists or expats.)

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Extracted commments from maid's Facebook regarding Employers' top feedback about maids.  This is an activist (An) page that provides DIY employer/FDW at your own risks, no agent involved.  Not providing any hyperlink to help it generate traffic.  The 'organiser' is in good relationship with HOME - a haven for runaway maids. 

When you get a maid thru DIY method, it means she has no agency so if she turns it to be unsuitable, it is just between you and FDW to resolve.  If she is a liar or awfully bad worker, I suggest you buy such FDW a one-way ticket home (get her to pack and leave immediately, on the day of flight), shouldn't cost you more than S$200.  Maid is too smart and choosy. If you allow such FDW to take her own sweet time to find new DIY employer, aren't you inviting trouble?  I doubt she'll work well while serving her termination notice.  If you pity maid, do at your own risk.  It doesn't pay to be kind to certain breed of people.  Remember, your trust in her has broken the day/time you found she couldn't deliver what she has agreed.  Can you trust a liar?  Sometimes, employer has to learn to be 'cruel'. 你没听过 对敌人仁慈 就是你的忌日, play safe than to regret.  Nobody will pity you.  MOM/Activists will only side the FDWs.

Dela Cruz Cabajar Samantha: In my two years here in Singapore as a DH i never heard maids bringing boyfriend in their employers house hitting children but stealing yes a few. Most of the maids here are not allowed to talk or get along to their fellow maids how much more bringing boyfriend in there employers house even. Girlsfriend cannot. Hitting children thats ridiculous infact children's who does that to their maids even the employer, if they have cctv in the house they will bring the maid to the corner that has no cctv then scold her even hit her an egg and throw anything when they get mad. no complain, no evidence. Off days instead every Sundays some maids no off days. Employers can easily complain but think of it how can those maids complain when they dont have the fighting spirit to depend their self......Luckily I have a good and kind hearted employer and I'm happy and I love my job. This is my second contract with my Chinese employer.

Felicia Compala Lumicio: anything else does employers complain? How about MOM do something about us maids salary since employers pay our levy in catigories too? like when employers living with their old folks that needs care, they pay less levy. So how about us maid working in different kind of employers house. Salaries of maids are all the same where as some employers living in Condo, HDB, Terrace house, Bangalow, Detached house that all landed house are lots of work to be done , washing three to four cars every day, where as maids whose employers living in Condos, HDB are less job, how come we are paid the same amount of monthly salary? Can MOM do someting with this. For me is not fair, right?

most employers complain. how about us maid? i mean i dont have any complain about my employer. just reading/knowing about this complain sometimes its the employers fault. some are strict in all aspect, like no phone, no reading newspapers, no watching tv, no off, sometimes less foods. Why these maids who encountered this are all silent as they dont like to lose their job. talking about boyfriends, yes i read in newspaper maids are caught bringing home their boyfriend. maybe this maids have no off. I dont have boyfriend but should employer bother about their maids happiness? they should bother about their teenage children, bringing home their boyfriends or girlfriends and sleep together. i heard some employer worry when their maids get pregnant, for what? send her home. its not your responsibility to raise that kid.

Janette Amasca: I been working for my employer for past 7 years.one thing I can say I think as a maid we have a right to have a bf but make sure that we know our grounds we don't take granted our employer if they trust us.I bring my friends home sometimes even my employer.on holiday I make sure to ask a permission first and assured that I don't do funny things.treasure that trust that employer give us.I send a msg.to wherever they are ....miss understanding its always there....its OK to answer back with respect...show them that you are capable love the children like your own employer will love you also....now I'm staying in the Phil's.....for 1 year coz my employer stay in Canada stay in a year....my work permit not cancel and still receive salary from them....they also paid for my son tuition fee for the whole year.just want to share this to all of you that when employer trust us.....show them that we also trusted person.....life not easy to work in the other country.....even my employer very good sometimes still have things that we argued.... Coz we only human...INSTEAD of going to disco met bf....or all nonsense things I encourage all of you to used time going to church.... Met friends which are God fearing it really help us to be a better person.....make sure your employer knows that when you go out you have fun with the right people.......thank you.....

Mila C. Abrea: If you are in good state of your mind you shouldn't do to bring your Bf at your employers house. Have respect on them. Your off day is yours, do whatevet you want,. We are here to earn money and not to earn criticism. Bitting kids depends on d situation. Sometimes,those primary schoolers act like they are your employer,shouting at you, calling you stupid and throwing bad words to you. In fact those kind of kids need to discipline, but not to bit till they get injured, Stress in work sometimes make us angry too, esp if they showing disrespect to us. It doesnt mean we are helpers doesnt deserve respect. We are demanding respect for us also to be a better person to them. Respecting each other is one of the most impt thing in one relationship. We kept on respecting them and yet they kept on throwing their rudeness, its difficult to control temper sometimes esp when your too tired at work. So parents must teach their kids also how to respect their maids so the relationship will goung smoothly.Its not easy to work far from your family and yet you will encounter those inconsiderate and very rude person. Its a sacrifice.

Editha Delgado: as my point of view having boyfriend is not a problem as long u never bring your boyfriend at your employeers house and you've done your work properly...we need to respect the house and the owner...as a person we should know our limitations.....if some no boyfriend its their choice but the point here is respect your employer house because the house of your employer its not yours...so be considerate....dont bring your bf at your boss house thats simple.....to all the employers i hope u have consideration also to all the fdw that even they have bf as long they never disobey the rules as ofw i hope you will understand them also as we understand ur side also...to those employers who complain i hope u've done your part also as obeying or follows all the rules and regulations of the MOM..thanks..

Chy DomingoBoyfriend is normal for all of us coz we are all humans but we must know the limitations and responsibilities...

Rösé Làng: Lucky i never encounter those things i work also in sg for 6 yrs. In one employer but they treated me as a family member ... To those people who bring bf to employers home ,, shame on u guyz ,, respect begins from respect,, ,, respect ur self before someone respect u ...

Debora Jabat Ita: I'm work in singapore for almost 10 years, what for hiting t child nothing it's make big problems, as I do if I'm not happy just change employer, better then I make problems to my self in Singapore,t same my employer son 3 years old hiting me kick me scratch me, but he only a child, I can understand, but why a child doing this to me I already see in my eye that his mother hit him sometimes,it's hurt he hit me n kick my tummy when I change his diaper, so I really can't take it n bettet I'm looking other Family to work is.so Employer know how to complain but they dont know to threat their child to be good to their Helper,n also if we interview why Employer need to talk to our current Employer, why helper can't talk to their current helper? We also want to know why they current helper move from their house to other families house? We all helper dont like to be transfer waste money n waste time do all we want to work In 1 family ,but mostly employers threat a Helper not good...who are hit t Employer kids n bring bf to employers house it's to bad, it's means have reason may be she dont have day off every sunday so she doing that, but by hiting a child it's means she dont have patience to look after child

Ann-Jems Ortega Reyes: I am not perfect i work with chinese for 7yrs without off days but they treat me like there own family my 2nd employer also chinese i worked 4 yrs 4 kids with once a month off day but only half day my current employeer is French family i am working with them almost 4 years and my boyfriend filipino stay with me we have our own room saturday sunday is my off days..so suffered muna bago enjoy..

Quenie Padillo Itong: My questions to all employers who complain,r they treat their helper well???i think no helper do silly things if only their employer treat them as a human being, don't mingle on their private life,understand them,@,must follow mom rules!!!

Rosana Tatslu Tabayo-Luib: Hahahaha my Mam's friend told me about their maid, she bring boyfriend inside their house and why i never do it.........my answer because i have no boyfriend at all for 7yrs!!!!!

Elma Tejada Bonifacio: Shame on those girls who bring boy in their employers house..

Sari Nande: Some people need happyness but they are doing by wrong way n they not suppose to show

More Singaporean employers hiring private eyes to trail maids, The Straits Times, 22 June 2014

Administrative assistant Shoba Devi, 27, got suspicious when her Filipino maid of a few months started chatting on the phone late into the night.  Devi, who is single and lives with her father who is in his 60s, said: "I didn't know if she had a boyfriend and I was worried for our safety if she brought her boyfriend home."

In February, she hired private investigator James Loh, who runs International Investigators, to keep tabs on her maid during her days off.  He discovered that the maid - in her 20s and married - had a Bangladeshi boyfriend and, on her days off, they would meet to eat, shop and check into a budget hotel.

Devi said: "I kind of expected her to have a boyfriend but I was shocked that she checked into a hotel with her boyfriend. What would happen if she got pregnant? So I sent her home."  She paid the private eye about S$2,500 (US$2,002)  for three days of monitoring the maid, but felt it was money well spent.

She said: "It's for our safety as the maid lives with us."
Like her, some employers are forking out thousands of dollars to check on their maids. Private eyes charge about $1,000 (US$800) for a day of surveillance and say it can cost between S$1,000 (US$800) and S$4,000 (US$3,203) to tail a maid.

Six private investigators interviewed said they all get regular assignments every month to track maids, and the number doubles during the June and December school holidays when families go on holiday and leave their maids home alone or with an elderly parent.

APAC Investigation & Consultancy's Raymond Lim said he used to get one such job every two to three months in the past.   Now he attends to one or two a month and maid surveillance now accounts for up to 20 per cent of his business.  David Ng, director of DP Quest Investigation Consultancy, said: "It is every employer's nightmare that some unknown man could intrude into their house. You don't know what these intruders could do, like turn violent or steal things."

While Singapore employers have long turned to sleuths to trail their maids, the investigators interviewed said demand has risen since it became compulsory last year to give maids a weekly day off.  Many employers worry about what their maids get up to on their days off.

The Manpower Ministry (MOM) receives an average of 200 complaints a month about errant maids. In a report last week, maid agents told The Straits Times that bringing boyfriends home, stealing and hitting the children are the top three complaints employers make about their maids.

Some employers also get help to check if their maids are involved in prostitution - something the private investigators say is not uncommon.  Ng said he trailed a Filipino maid in her 20s and found that she would check into different budget hotels with different men on a Sunday. She spent her OFF days as a sex worker, with three to four clients each day.  His client let go of the maid as soon as he reported what he found out.

Some maids have been found to bring their boyfriends home, just as employers fear.  Lim was hired to monitor an Indonesian maid when the family she worked for went on a long holiday last December, leaving her with an elderly woman with dementia.  He found that she would sneak her foreign worker boyfriend into the house in the middle of the night and the man would leave before daybreak.  When the family returned and found out, they let go of the maid.

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11 Mar 2014
An activist or Pamela is a maid? Comments were copied from this blog.

Pamela:  I have just read that for your new maid you took her phone and told her she must keep her bedroom door open at all times! You unfit to employ anyone, and you have told the world this in your OWN words.

makansutra:  Want privacy? pay for a room, simple! Tell yr employer DO NOT DISTURB after 9pm. Wat for make employer accept yr pattern. U didnt offer free services. U are a paid to live-in n work maid.
Must spend time on mobile anytime u like? Feel employer inhuman or unfair to u, pay wat u owe n get lost! Sit at yr agency n see who wants to employ people like u.

Hortensia:  It's right and proper that the maid's quarters are at all times open to its owner. In fact the maid is spoilt to have its own quarters. In the Middle East, maids typically sleep on the floor in the kitchen or in a utility room, so as to be always available to their owners. Giving a maid access to a phone is ridiculous. I refuse phone privileges to my maid, and she's prohibited from speaking to anyone but me. Singaporeans are too soft and kind.

Anonymous:  Hortensia, maids deserve to have their own living quarters. They should also have hand phones to keep in touch with their family and loved ones. I think you are too cruel!

Winter:  Maid has no rights to demand for her own room. The law didn't state that!!
Don't act like employers owe you!! This is not being cruel. If you stay in your own country, your employment won't include living expenses and accommodation.

If you want to have your own room and hold your mobile phone 24/7 (use phone in the night eg after 8pm is OK), stay in your own house, remain in your country, don't come to Spore and bring your princess-problems/attitude. REMEMBER, EMPLOYERS DON'T OWE YOU A WORKING LIFE ie BETTER THAN YOUR OWN COUNTRY.

Anonymous: you really talk without brain. what size pigeon brain you have? the maid pay for the room rental la. you can sleep naked inside also can. house gt house rules. you come here to work in ppl house you have to respect ppl house rule. so if that maid is a employer you think she will allow her "maid" to walk around her house not wearing a bra with a white top! WE DON OWN YOU SHIT! WE PAY YOUR PAY ON TIME! STOP BEING A PRINCESS AND DEMAND THIS AND THAT!

Winter:  Pamela, Every employee/maid has a job requirement to fulfil. If the job stated FDW cannot hold her mobile and use as and when she desires, must wear bra or keep bedroom door open, as a FDW who has committed to a job, it is her duty to carry out her employer's house rules. 

You are not fit or have any rights to condemn any employer who is the owner of the house, an employer who had been very honest to state her rules. Maids who want to lie, too demanding, very dishonest is doing something very wrong! 

Initially I wanted to delete your comments but kept to let others see what kind of maids have been recruited in Spore. By being dishonest, you're telling the people reading your comments, dishonesty is a right way for maids and employers should keep/tolerate a person who lies. We are born equal, you are right about this point but has employer been treated equally? Ask yourself, if we lie to you, will you be happy? If I promise you something but break my promise, will you be disappointed and unhappy? 

Spore has no policy that states maid has the rights to own a private room nor encouraged maids to go bra-less at their employers' house. Maids should respect their employers, especially she doesn't own that house or room, it is a place where another man/men live. She is a paid to live-in helper not a princess or a hooker.

If having a mobile is a neccesity, you should return home and spend your time with your love ones or friends, use as much time you want with them. You don't respect your employer and do not have the mentality to perform a proper job as domestic maid. It is your fault to accept a job offer for such employer. You ought to blame yourself. Don't think you are in the right or being unlucky to have such an employer. My current maid, if you've read my blog is another person who lies and broke promises that she made during interviews. She was given enough time to think over, share views with her friends/agent re: my requirements yet she purposely lied and stepped into my house, then kept pestering me (her 8th employer) for requests that she knew I can't and won't agree. It is her fault, not about her bad luck. Having the wrong working mentality and too stubborn are my maid's problems of not being able to find employer who could tolerate her for 2-years.... not even her ex-Filipino employer. She kept thinking she's in the right to make requests, disregards the key words about 'HONESTY' and being Co-operative.

Lastly, as a maid, if you must go bra-less in your employer's premises, you should return home at your own costs or find a place fit for sluts to stay.

Winter:  I believe you didn't read Hortensia's and above comments. What we're trying to highlight is "How wonderful if maids were slaves. Then employers (owners) would be assured that they would receive the deference, respect and service they deserve"

If sg maids are really slaves, employers will become the OWNERS, fully in-charge. Means Slaves have no rights nor any say in the bad owners' hands. Slaves are treated like we own them, not paid timely nor given any benefits as human!! Are you a maid or slave? Obviously, not a slave! Look at the FDW terms agency and MOM made us offer, do you get such salary and live-in benefits in your own country? A degree holder in the source country doesn't enjoy the pay and benefits we gave so don't be so unreasonable and greedy. Too many of you living in Spore so employers ended up as being bullied but nobody to care and fight for us.

Sg Maids and Foreigners are too pampered and demand these and that. If Spore is really so bad and unfair to you, meaning your country can offer better terms, go back home, don't stay here!

The issue or problem in Spore is, maids ARE NOT SLAVES nor can they be treated like slaves. Maids/FDWs are highly paid bad-attitude-princesses who are unwilling or cannot perform a proper FDW job yet demanding human rights or respect, eg as a cheater or loafer.

How I wish maids are slaves so that SHE CANNOT BULLY ME!

Because FDWs are not slaves, I ended up being bullied mentally and financially. This isn't fair to another human being. You're human, so am I.

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OK for maid to do chores at in-laws' home?  20 May 2014
I have a maid whose duties include cooking for my family from Monday to Friday. She does not cook on Saturday as that is the day I visit my in-laws, while Sunday is her day off.

Manpower Ministry rules state that she can work only at my home and nowhere else. Does this mean that when we take her along for our visits to my in-laws, she is unable to help prepare dinner or wash the dishes and cooking utensils?

Also, I was informed by the maid agency that employers are responsible for paying the work permit card replacement fee, which ranges from $60 to $300, depending on whether it is damaged or lost.

While I understand that maids need to carry their original work permit cards when they are out, for identification purposes, I am puzzled as to why employers have to pay the replacement fee should the cards be damaged or lost due to their helpers' negligence.

Shouldn't maids be responsible for the card since they are allowed to keep it? Knowing they would have to pay the replacement fee would certainly instil a greater sense of responsibility in them.  The replacement fee could be reduced to make it affordable for maids.

Goh Puay Hoon (Madam)

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Is it employer's duty to ensure maids are happy?
Is it agency's duty to ensure maids recruited are mentally ready for overseas FDW jobs? 

How helpful is SIP course?  Can it help employers minus the flooding of princess-FDWs and screen for unsuitable maids?  

Who should be the gate keeper for a mentally sound maid, a person who is fit/willing to handle the job scope of a FDW without giving excuses of underperform?  Recruiters?  MOM?  

Which employer can tolerate a homesick maid for 2 years?  Accept her attitude or sloppy work due to homesick or culture difference?

Who should be the one to accommodate and learn another person's culture and living habits?  The Employer or the FDW?

Which employer can stand a FDW telling you she wants to leave because job is too tough? (eg working for a family of 2 adults and 1 child, given weekly off day, able to sleep from 9pm onwards and well fed)

Why some maids are unhappy?  AsiaOne, 4 Mar 2014
Maid agencies The New Paper on Sunday spoke to explain why some domestic helpers feel troubled working here and what employers can do to help.

1. No days off
Mr Thomas Tan, director of Essential Maids, says it can be quite tough for maids to commit for two years without any visits back home or days off.

2. Homesickness
All maids think of their homes and loved ones, says Mrs Winnie Wang, senior overseas recruitment adviser of Advance Link International.  Employers should let them make calls back home to tell their family that they are safe and that all is well, says Mr Gabriel Ee, director of Island Maids.

Don't let them get bored of the job. Switch up the routine, says Mr Ee, who has five years of experience in the industry.  Include them in family gatherings and let them feel that Singapore can be home too, he adds.  But if their heart is not here, you have to let them go. If you push them to continue working, you might have more problems in the future, Mr Ee warns.

3. Incompatible with job
If there is no one at home during the day, employers should consider choosing an experienced maid , says Mr Tan.  New maids need more guidance and may not adjust well to their new environment if left alone, he says.

Those with school-age children should consider hiring experienced maids  as a new maid might strain the relationship between the two because the maid and child will not be able to communicate.

4. Better opportunities elsewhere
Mrs Wang, who has been in the industry for more than 30 years, says that one maid returned home last year because her salary was not good enough to make her stay.  The maid felt she could earn a similar amount selling shoes at a roadside market in her home country , and if she did that, she would be the boss of her own business.

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Are maids diluting our culture?  AsiaOne, 2010

THE politically correct term is "helper", but most people tend to call them maids.  And they are a growing population in Singapore, with many of them employed by the Indian community living here.

As more women in Singapore join, or in some cases re-join, the workforce - 53 per cent of the women here are working and this does not include those in part-time jobs - the trip to the maid agency becomes more common.  Latest estimates in the Labour Force Report by the Ministry of Manpower claim that one in every seven Singapore households has a helper.  After Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong, Singapore has the highest number of Foreign Domestic Workers.

These helpers look after their employer's children, home and, sometimes, elderly parents. They also run the kitchen in many cases.  Whatever the reason, there is no denying their presence... or their usefulness. While a wide choice of nationalities are available, Filipinos are normally preferred because of their ability to speak English. But Indonesians are a common choice too.

But how does the presence of a live-in helper, most of the time a non-Indian, affect the upbringing of children from an Indian home? Do they dilute the Indian culture of the children?  The Sharmas - Ashima, Nandan and their two children, both under the age of seven - have been in Singapore for four years.  Speaking to tabla! about the Filipino helper they employ to assist with general household work and mind the children, Mrs Sharma says: "The topic that you have brought up is a common topic of discussion. Since our family definitely needed additional help, we hired a Filipino helper. The work is fine.

"In India, we had a helper with equal capabilities. Now the difference is the set-up from which they come. These girls from the Philippines are more advanced and their work is very professional. As far as child-rearing is concerned, the values come from us. They act only as childminders and babysitters."  She feels there are more advantages to having a helper, even if she is not Indian, than disadvantages. "The only disadvantage is that our children get attached to these helpers as they cannot see that the helpers are here on contract basis with us," she says.

The Vermas - Sweta and Rajesh - have been in Singapore for five years and employ a domestic worker to help look after their two sons aged eight and five.  Mrs Verma says she expects her helper to treat her children the same way they are treated by their parents.  "The values come from us. The helper has imbibed them. It is all about the orientation to the family and the family values," she says.

Singaporean Praema Jain, who runs her own business and has had a full-time Filipino helper for the last seven years, thinks the helper is the one who adjusts more than the employer's family.  "Of course, I had help... how do you think I managed a career, children, kept my fitness schedules and maintained a great relationship with in-laws, my parents and the extended family? Apart from her style of dressing, my Filipino helper is as 'Indianised' as one can get.She knows all about our vegetarian needs, her thepla (a Gujarati roti) is amazing," she tells tabla!.

Mrs Anita Mukherji says her two children, now almost teenagers, have been raised with the help of two Indonesian helpers.  "Culture shock! Well, yes, the maid does get a bit of shock as their lifestyle is very different but I think we also get the culture shock," says the Singaporean.  "My four-year-old daughter wore a backless swimming costume and my maid told her it was 'very sexy'.

Hearing that word from her, I was shocked as we Indians don't use such words so openly. So, 'shock absorbers' need to be installed for both the employer and the employee."  Mrs Mukherji uses an element of interdependence and a bit of independence when managing the relationship between her helper and her teenage daughter.  "I don't want my helper to do everything for my children. I tell the children to do their simple chores and each Sunday we all take turns to do the chores while my helper enjoys her day off."

Like in Mrs Mukherji's case, the issue of handling older children cropped up while speaking to Mrs Juhi Shukla.  When the children are older, the demands on the helpers are quite different.  The focus shifts to handling the needs of a growing child who is dealing with raging hormones. And parents play a big role in assisting the helpers down this delicate path.  Mrs Shukla, who has been living in Singapore for nine years, has employed helpers from India and the Philippines.  With the Indian helper, she felt she had to manage expectations in a very different manner. "She would want me to be her elder sister or almost a family member," says Mrs Shukla, who has two sons aged three and 11.

Mrs Shukla recalls the occasion when she was saying something to her older son "in pure humour" and her helper burst into laughter. Her son got very disturbed, assuming the helper was laughing at him.  "I had to counsel my helper not to do that. You have to be cautious with teenagers, as handling and managing them is a whole different ball game," she adds.  Says Mrs Shukla: "At present I have a Filipino... we are culturally different from each other but one advantage of having a foreign helper in your home is that you have the privacy of language.

There are advantages, especially if the helpers are educated and apply their knowledge to the job, but mothers definitely need to keep a critical eye on the helper and their relationship with the child."  While everyone agrees that there has to be some adjustment from both sides, Mrs Mukherji adds: "I lose lots on privacy.  Our Indian heritage ensures that we are not so open about public displays of affection but, with a helper at home, we are even more discreet." For Mrs Anoo Manoj, her mother tongue comes in handy for some privacy.  She has been living in Singapore for four years and has no issues with hiring a Filipino helper.

Whatever be the disadvantages and the intrusions in their lives, most Indians appreciate the fact that the helpers have helped improve their lifestyle and in some cases helped them devote time to their careers.

Singaporean banker Chandra Iyer says she opted for domestic help so that she could focus on her career.  "I had a variety of experiences with Indian and Filipino helpers. As a local Indian, I feel I have become colour blind. You have to orient the helpers to the house rules. Reminders and constant vigilance is very important when you employ helpers, colour and race is secondary," she says.  Mrs Iyer feels that getting a helper is also about maintaining a lifestyle.  "When I come home from work, I want to spend whatever little time I have with my children, not cooking elaborate Indian dinners. So I leave the cooking to the helper while I have my quality time with my children."

Singaporean Rashi Chainani recalls having a live-in helper in her home when she was growing up and now has one for her household.  "I would not be working had it not been for my help at home. It is a blessing in disguise for women who wish to work. I know gender equality activists say that this is just shifting the responsibilities to another woman but till the time we become a more mature society, we need to stick to this and make the best of what we have. Foreign domestic help is our option... so be it," she says.

While some people like Professor Chitra Sankaran shared that they have employed only Indian domestic helpers - she has had three, each staying with her for seven to eight years - many others have tried other nationalities too.  And the non-Indian helpers tabla! spoke to had good things to say about life with their Indian employers.

Ms Susyani, an Indonesian who has been working with Mrs Verma's family for the past five years, says: "I am very happy here with the Indian family. They have kept me like a family. What more do you want?"  Mrs Manoj's Filipino helper Cherry has blended in perfectly. She orders Indian kurtis for herself and wore one for Mrs Manoj's daughter's birthday party. "I like them for their colours and the work done on them," says Ms Cherry.

Well, it looks like the relationship between Indian families and helpers, both Indian and foreign, works as long as it is mutually beneficial to each other.

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Readers to my blog
You're highly encouraged to share my blog and views. The reason I have this blog is to vent my frustration as a special needs mum cum maid's employer. I may get good support but I do know most of the time, I receive negative remarks/comments, mainly because most FDWs' employer are viewed as baddies.

It is good to get more people to know about how special needs family trying to survive in Spore and stay employable (work full-time) ....by employing a maid, a neccessity. I appreciate people who bother to highlight what I am going thru. Since I have made this blog to be viewed publicly and allow comment posted using Anonymous, I know the consequences.

There's a special needs blog which is visible to public and I thought the author intended to share her experience. By posting online and not setting to private viewing, she allowed others to read what she has posted. Anyway, as per her request, I have deleted on 11 Oct whatever I've extracted, including hyperlink about that special needs child, Zoe. Since action has been taken, her comment which fully showed her web address, has to be removed.

In case you didn't notice, all extracts (selected sections or totally), I've either included a picture or source link to its origin. I don't simply put a hyperlink without some description for readers to read before deciding whether to click and read more at origin. Note: what you've posted online may be too lengthy or irrelevant, that's why it appeared in my blog as selected sections.

I do not want to have any issue with any unhappy person due to what he/she posted online and expect full privacy (readership) about what she/he has posted. This is the same for a certain parenting Forum which deleted all my posts and banned me. It is your choice to help the FDWs to look clean and good. It is also your rights to keep your Forum look good as a PAP supporter. Since there are people trying to hide the truth, I have to maintain this blog. I can provide evidence about what KK Hospital, PAP and the govt offices did to me, no issue but I do not want to have any face-to-face meeting .... increase my frustration and waste my time again.

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25 Sep 2013 - Saw this in an Expat forum. Sounds like a good idea to let FDW wears uniform. This will let her know when she's off duty. If she wears her uniform outside and meeting boyfriend or talking like nobody's business on her mobile, you or other onlookers know she's doing something wrong.

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20 Sep - I like this post so I’ve extracted and pasted here.
I used to have a maid and I can empathize with any maid employer.

On the contrary, I think all maids are smart - that's why they can see the loop holes in our government policies and use them to their benefit. They are highly competent - all humans are - but they will choose not to because being competent doesn't help themselves. Frankly, to them, there's very little incentive to be competent cos it means more work (for the same pay).

Regarding their attitude, I don't think I can blame them for lousy attitude. Being a maid isn't something that anyone is really proud of - even if you are paid to do it. From their point of view, it's just a lowly job that pays well enough to attract them to leave their home. So I can't really blame them for showing lousy attitude (but that doesn't mean her attitude doesn't affect me). No one, in the right frame of mind, will take pride in being a maid.

We can argue that MOM should change their policies to help employers - MOM knows they can, but they won't. There are implications to changes (esp shortages of maid) and we won't be able to handle them now.

For those employing or considering to employ maids, look through and consider the potential issues and problems that might surface. Ask yourself if you can manage them if they happen.

1. maid runs away - for indo maids, buy an insurance with Waiver of Counter Indemnity option so you don't have to lose your bond if she runs away.
2. maid lies - will you be able to control the situations so that her lie will be exposed (preferably with little time and effort)?
3. maid is careless; damage things - can be deliberate but you will never know, so can you handle that?
4. maid keeps doing chores wrongly - mainly because they are stubborn/lazy, not stupid, can you handle the process in correcting her patiently every time?
5. maid gossips about you with other maids - can ignore?
6. maid eats your precious restricted food, uses your facial stuff and wears your clothes
7. maid moonlights and be part-time prostitute - should send her away, but can you do it without her creating a scene?
8. maid ill treats kids or elders - can still look at her without having thoughts of strangling her?
Most of the time, ask if you can control your emotions - not get angry/disappointed/frustrated when any rubbish happens. Actually, having a maid might train you to be calmer if you are dealing with your emotions the right way, but I supposed, not all people have that kind of mental strength (me included). If you can't foresee yourself handling them, ask yourself if you can handle the current situation without the maid.

Most of the time, it's about managing your emotions, balancing expectations, and having the perseverance to continue with each situation - involve your kids so that they will learn the right way to handling adversities. With or without maids, it's a fantastic opportunity for kids to learn about life.

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7 Sep - It would be better if the FDWs training centre is in Spore. Issue maids who intend to work in Spore a 3-month special pass. MOM can setup FDW's training centre and house the FDWs in the same Centre. The Centre ideally should be a high rise building so that FDWs can feel what kind of life is it to live in HDB or condo - high ground cleaning and do bamboo laundry safely.

Let all maids receive the same training from 1 to 3 months. While receiving training on how to cook, take care of infant, toddlers, elderly and those with disabilities, they will learn how to use modern eFDWs can attend interviews. The Centre should also educate all maids about safety, what are the usual scope of work, common expectation of employers, culture, policies in Spore, what are the terms listed in the standard contract and what's the definition of abuse.

Once maids had received training for one month, they can be interviewed and recruited by employers. After 3 months, any maid who is still unemployed will have to leave Spore and bear their own costs together with their agencies. Therefore, agencies have to screen the maids to ensure they are suitable to work as FDW. Don't recruit women who want to be princesses in Spore, means do not really need a job. All the placement fee and agency fee should be similar. The difference in placement fee could be due to nationality or city of origin (airfare). The longer maid receives training, too choosey, she has to bear extra money, including accommodation. There should not be big difference in agency fee. We should not encourage agencies to earn different amount of commission. More transparency in cost breakdown. Let both FDW and Employer know how much agencies are profiting.

Having a training Centre in Spore, employers can see the FDWs attending training and select accordingly.

While receiving training, the trainers and facilitators can assess the FDWs. Can they work in Spore for 2 years? What's the likelihood of maid terminating a contract because she misses family? Is she mentally ready to be FDW and physically fit? How good is her performance and learning ability? Did she (Myanmese, Cambodian, Indian and Indonesian) pick any simple English?

To make the training more realistic, maybe MOM can partner with nursing homes and orphanages. Get the maids to do real cleaning, take care of elderly and young children. When they cook, the food will not be wasted, it can either be prepared for themselves or those needy people. If training centres are allowed to partner with VWOs, nursing homes and orphanages, the training costs will be absorbed by the operators. Thus, FDWs just need to pay for accommodation and actual placement fee. The overall recruitment cost will be lesser (certainly not S$2000) thus, FDW can get her full month salary much earlier and feel happier. Employers get happy and trained maids, fair to both payers. Kick those blood sucking agencies out, make them close down and have a cleaner FDW market.

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9 Aug - Use it for maid provident fund, Straits Times Forum, 13 Dec 2012

The Ministry of Manpower has said that the maid levy is aimed at discouraging Singaporeans from employing too many maids, and it has also been said that abolishing the levy does not guarantee that employers pass the savings on to their maids ("Fewer maids remain with same boss for a year"; last Saturday).

One way to circumvent this problem and ensure that the pay in Singapore remains competitive is for the levy to be managed by the Central Provident Fund board as a provident fund for maids, garnering the same interest rate that CPF members enjoy.

The maid can withdraw the money only after completing two years of work in Singapore, or choose to leave it in the fund to accumulate interest if she carries on working here.

Such a fund will give maids an incentive to do their jobs well, thereby stemming the outflow of trained maids to greener pastures and saving employers time, money and effort in training new maids.

Second, a competent maid at home can improve her employer's productivity at work. Freed from the burden of domestic duties, employees can focus on their jobs and go on childcare leave for fewer days.

For children who are frequently sick, a caregiver at home is a better option than institutionalised childcare.

Third, the presence of reliable maids to care for the frail elderly family members at home will remove the need to build and subsidise an increasing number of nursing homes. It will also allow seniors to pass their days in the environment where they are the happiest, that is, at home and in the company of those they love.

As nursing homes inevitably employ foreign nursing aides, employing a maid to look after an aged parent instead would not make much difference to the number of foreign workers here.

Finally, the fund offers an automatic savings plan that earns superior interest rates than those offered by banks. Instead of succumbing to the temptation of squandering their higher salaries, maids can use such a fund for their children's education or their retirement.

Anne Chong (Dr)

Winter: Since the day I realised hiring a maid made my life miserable, this is how I felt. MOM shouldn't pocket the money (our hard earned money but we paid monthly without FDW 'realising' because they ended in MOM's pocket) and claimed levy is to control the FDWs in Spore. A good maid should be reward by having the levy converted as bonus at the end of her 2-year contract, must be with same employer.

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From Mr. Juerg: Even MOM and legislation is in place here in Singapore, conditions for maids are poor. The setup already is against the maid, in-house, at the mercy of the employer and sold by the agency. Yes she has the rights, she has support, she can run away, she can ...., she has ..., she .... still, she will swallow and continue, as so many maids but also wives and daughters do it.

It is a different case but a similar situation. Leslie is a strong educated woman within her own country and her own friends and family, A maid has a complete different fear factor. To complain is very important, but more important is how to improve the situation? We need to tackle it from all sites, but first of all the employer maid situation must become transparent and public, as long as it is hidden then it wont improve. Then:

The maid need a better education and better language skills. The schools at home need to teach proper english, the MOM shall set up a limit of xxx points TOEFL in order to become maid. It helps the maid to defend her and it defends the status quo of the maid and it pressures the schools at home to teach english. Further the maid need a regular external contact and support and a feed back to the agency and to the MOM, it can be easily done with www.MAGPI.com, reporting once a month how much salary has been paid to her bank account and what are the living conditions for her. The maid takes care, in many cases, about the children of the employer. The children are the most valuable assets in the family, the children today are the pillars of the economy in 25 years. The most valuable assets are in the hands of the last paid and the least educated in the household, does this make any sense? Would you give your Rolls Royce to somebody who does not know how to drive? A Rolls Royce can easily be fixed with money, try to correct a mislead child! Though I agree that maids are most of the time better mothers.

The agency need to follow up on a regular base the conditions of the maid. The maid is their cash cow so the agency must be interested to have good maids and a good relationship to the employer. The agency should be the employer and send the maid to the family to work. This would define the maid as an employee of a company, an asset which must be taken care of. This setup would reduce the pressure on the maid and improve her standards without any costs. The agency need to take care and take on responsability for the maid. This is a normal setup in the industry, why can we not do it for FDW?

MOM: The future generation of managers, leaders, doctors, politiciens, the pillars of the economy grows up in the hands of nannys and maids, typically the least paid, the least treated, the least educated but the closest to the children. What picture and what values are implanted in the brain of the sons and daughters of the todays employers. Keeping a maid at work sometimes for 12-15 or more hours, many of them sexually harassed and abused, usually at the mercy of the employer shows the upspring a wrong picture of society. An economy only can be successful if all peeple are equal, human rights are respected and can lead a free and decent life. Only then people perform best, create value and purchase products and services. We need qualified and supervised maids, if they are not qualified then we have them to qualify. Open a school, train them and make sure that only qualified and well treated people are hanlding the kids. It definitey pays off, Singapore can be an example in the region for the living of the values of the french revolution for all.

The employer needs to be taught that a maid is neither a robot nor a sub-human nor a pet or a domestic animal. It is simply a human being, with needs and deeds, certainly no angel but also no devil. The clash of cultures could be reduced by a one day training how to treat a maid, her rights and her duties. For everything you need a license, except for raisng children and employing people at home you dont need it. Westerners and Asians have all of a sudden to live together 24hrs in the same household. The one powerful, the other one full of fear. What do you imagine how it is working out? Who prevents abuse of power? I am not talking about severe abuse, more this subtle daily threatening, this constant fear to be expulsed and to come home often considered then back home as failure. Yes an introcuction in employing maids with a cross cultural part would reduce a lot of fear and anxiousity on both sides.

The governments in maids home country: if they are not capable to create a sound economy with the abundant resources given to them by nature, then they shall at least make sure that their citizens are trained and knowledgable in the field they are going to work. English is a must and to know their rights as well. A decent government takes care of their citizen abroads and vaues them, it doesn't rip of the own people coming home seeing mom and dad. A decent service and support should be self-evident, this people here suffer all year long and on the way home they are literaly robbed by parcel services and government, we write 2013. This are stories like they are written in the bible. What did we do in the last 2000years?

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17 Jul - 
MOM to look into AEAS appeal to review entry rules for maids, Channel News Asia
The Association of Employment Agencies Singapore (AEAS) has made an appeal to lower the minimum age requirement and to scrap the educational requirement for maids.

It believes these changes are needed to boost the supply of maids in Singapore. The government estimated that households' demand for domestic helpers would increase by 100,000 maids by 2030, bringing the total to 300,000.

In response, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) informed the association that it will look into its appeal.  In a statement to Channel NewsAsia, MOM says its "policies, including those pertaining to foreign domestic workers, are periodically reviewed to ensure they remain relevant amidst changing landscapes."

Foreign maids who want to work in Singapore must be at least 23 years old, a requirement set by MOM in 2005.  It was raised from the earlier 18 years, as the authorities felt older maids are more mature and responsible.  Maids also need to have at least eight years of education.

AEAS says a maid's education should be left to the employer's specification.  In addition, many of these maids are unable to provide educational certificates and sometimes they resort to forging certificates so they can work in Singapore.  AEAS says lowering the minimum age requirement will allow Singapore to tap on a bigger pool of workers.

Its president K Jayaprema said: "Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, Middle East...what they require is 18 or 21 years of age.  "So we are losing good candidates, potentially good candidates... "Most of them who are going to come out to work as domestic workers would like to leave at the age of 18 or 19, because they are not married yet."

AEAS also notes that many of these women would be married by the age of 23.  Thus, this would present another set of problems when young mothers leave behind their young children and husband. These women would be more susceptible to emotional distress.  In addition, AEAS argues that work permit holders in other industries like construction and marine do not have such a minimum age requirement.

Migrant worker groups believe that at 21, a woman would be mature enough to go to another country as a domestic worker.  In addition, by lowering the age requirement, these women will have less reason to lie about their age.

Bridget Tan, president of Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME), said: "There are many who're coming in as teenagers but their passports are arranged so that it appears they are 23. And this becomes a big issue...and they dare not report that they have been brought in at much younger (age) because they are afraid of getting into trouble with MOM or the immigration for agreeing with the agent to have their passport forged."

However, some employers like Carol Oii still prefer a maid who is older. She said: "I think 23 years old is good, not younger than 23, because I don't think they are mature(d) enough..."

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19 Jun - I saw this and felt to be fair to FDW's employers, such a survey (by Gerald Lim, Lionel Ong and Marjorie Pang) should be conducted on weekends where all the domestic workers are flooding or roaming around Lucky Plaza and other hot spots.  These people should open their eyes to see a sea of foreigners, not Tourists (who are prepared to boast the Spore economy with their spending power).  Ask those FDWs who were given off days how well they have been treated, are they really afraid of being kick out, what benefits and rights they received as a well protected maid in Spore.  Thought employers don't have a voice when compared to FDWs?  Anyway, these people are more keen to show there are plenty of bad employers vs bad maids.  They felt extremely good to be heros and able to rescue or voice for pathetic maids.

Extracted this from TWC2 website:

“Don’t bother talking to my maid. She knows absolutely nothing and is impossibly lazy” – the words of a Singapore employer, who wouldn’t allow us to speak to her Indonesian domestic worker as part of our survey. It speaks volumes.

You can’t ignore the indifference with which some employers treat domestic workers here, but to see it up close and personal is chilling; that dismissive manner towards her helper may reflect the broader attitude of Singaporean employers.

As part of our survey we spoke to about 30 domestic workers, who told us they had experienced small problems with their employers, mainly a lack of respect and a constant berating for not completing jobs on time or to the employer’s satisfaction. Some said this stemmed from their limited language abilities. As being shouted at doesn’t constitute a case of abuse by an employer; domestic workers said they could not report them to their agents, and felt that there was nothing much they could do.

On the subject of life in Singapore, many bear the great burden of supporting families back in their homeland, and live in constant fear of losing their jobs. With the full weight of responsibility for their family’s welfare, it is little wonder that the domestic workers we encountered lived in an atmosphere of persistent trepidation and insecurity. Even though some domestic workers had problems with their employers, they had no choice but to grin and bear it.

Outside a primary school gate, we see a number of domestic workers waiting for the children they look after to finish their school day. The children run grinning out of the school gates and are met with a warm hug by their domestic worker. We waited to approach the Indonesian maid, the one who was dismissed as “impossibly lazy” by her employer, but we were cut short.

We did ask her for her input, but the employer asserted her authority before she could even speak. Perhaps this is the most worrying aspect of life as a domestic helper in Singapore: they don’t have a voice of their own.

This guest essay is from three students of Raffles Institution Junior College; they were part of about ten students from RIJC who approached TWC2 to do a volunteer project. TWC2 proposed that the project involve distributing information booklets and doing a simple survey among foreign domestic workers. They were tasked to go door to door in housing estates and to look for other areas where domestic helpers could be approached.  The exercise was conducted in April/May 2013.

If I am living in a condo, I would want the facilities to be given to me or others who purchased a condo unit.  If my maid wants to use any condo facility, she has to be accompanied by me or other family members, certainly not her, acting as a HOST to entertain her friends.  Maids can enjoy their off days elsewhere.  Places such as TWC2 or HOME ought to be kind enough to eat their words and provide FDWs FREE usage of facilities such as a swimming pool, tennis/ court, computer, BBQ, karaoke, etc. 

It is not a matter of maids dirty, I believe it is what condo people thought and want to maintain, a high standard ... they are on upper class compared to people living in HDB flats, they paid more to live in condo which should give them better privacy and built in facilities.  If maids are allowed to use the facilities freely, what do other condo owners get.... rob of their entitlement, their quality of life and property value downgraded, is this fair to them?  Don't be too selfish to demand your entitlement at the expense of others.  Btw, if you've read my blog, you'll know I didn't earn enough to live in condo.

Extracted this from TWC2 website:

“We’re not supposed to swim,” says Ana, a domestic worker. “I’m not sure why. I think it’s maybe because they think we’re dirty.”

In the block where Ana lives, domestic workers can’t book a barbecue on their own, they can’t form groups and they can’t sit and eat beside the playgrounds where they look after resident’s children.

The story, about the Settling In Programme run by the Ministry of Manpower, talked about getting used to life in Singapore. The course talked about the great opportunities that living here would bring, the promise that the sacrifice they made – in leaving their own families to move here – would be all worthwhile.  The promise is that working life in Singapore is an opportunity they should grab with both hands.

What new domestic workers aren’t fully prepared for when they arrive in Singapore, is being treated as an underclass. Despite the best efforts to enjoy their working lives here, they face daily discrimination through rules and regulations – which aren’t a part of Singapore law – enforced on them by Singapore residents via management committees.

The condos they live in are home to hundreds of locals and expats; facilities range from swimming pools to barbecue dining, playgrounds, badminton and tennis courts. Several domestic workers we interviewed spoke of being issued with different access cards for their buildings and ad hoc bans on using resident facilities. They were angry about being prevented from feeling part of their communities, particularly given the vital service they provide.

TWC2 spoke to six domestic workers from various residential blocks to find out how the rules were applied and enforced and how it made them feel.  One of the workers we spoke to, called Rose, said her employer once borrowed her access card to use the gym, only to discover that it wouldn’t open the gym door. She had been provided with a ‘maid’s card’ which opened only the front gate and the door to the flat, but prevented access to any of the other facilities.

Jo, another domestic worker, says bans often follow a request to do something fun. One day she tried to book a game of volleyball with her friends but was quickly interrupted by the management, who told them that residents had complained. She and her friends – all domestic workers – were then banned from using the volleyball court.

“As long as we’re not disturbing anyone, I don’t see what the problem is,” says Jo. “If we eat and make a mess, we clean it up after ourselves. We are maids after all.”

In private residential buildings, a management committee oversees the welfare of the building including setting rules and regulations for its residents, and often there are members who bitterly contest the rights of domestic workers to use facilities.  ‘Resident' means the occupier of a lot which definition shall, where appropriate, include an owner or any other person authorised by such owner to occupy the lot as a tenant or lessee thereof and shall include the members of the family of such occupier, provided always that this term “member of the family” shall not include guests, servants or agents of the occupier, the rule states.

If you wonder what maids are taught during SIP, the following is what they learnt. They were told their rights in Spore, how to contact MOM .... not what a good maid should do, what sort of house rules an employer in Spore would normally set, what job requirements most employers expect, how to adjust and deliver quality work, act responsibly and be honest, etc.

SIP – Settling Programme of new FDW, by Rob, extracted from TWC2 website

Irene joins the queue to get her height measured. She is in a group of about 10 new arrivals from the Philippines packed into a training room to take the Ministry of Manpower’s mandatory Settling In Programme for domestic maids.

This course is designed to welcome them to working life in Singapore and over the next nine hours Irene will be trained in skills and competencies that are central to her role, such as how to hang out laundry and safely clean windows, and how to manage employer relationships and deal with stress.

After the practical tasks – such as hanging laundry appropriately and securely cleaning the outside of a window with an extended window wiper, a tricky manoeuvre that requires them to bend their arms through a security grill – the girls are shown a video on how to work safely at heights.

Nine maids have fallen to their deaths in Singapore this year alone. The video includes testimonies from several girls who had near fatal falls – one from six floors up – followed by an image of a corpse lying by the roadside in a pool of blood… the maid that wasn’t so lucky. This section of the training programme is entitled: ‘One of you in this class may not make it home alive.’

While it notes that a lot of these accidents take place early on when the girls have the least experience and they’re more likely to make a mistake, you can hear a pin drop in the room as this gruesome reality is digested: life as a domestic maid in Singapore is no cakewalk.

The course includes role plays where they learn how to remind their employers to pay their salaries on time, provide them with food, rest and a private place to sleep.  “Good morning ma’am,” says one girl. “Can I have more food as you haven’t given me enough?”

Each horrendous scenario presents one more opportunity to remind the girls of the emergency hotline for the Ministry of Manpower – 1800 339 5505 – which they are encouraged to call only when issues can’t be resolved “harmoniously” with employers.

MOM issues all new maids to Singapore with learning cards to help deal with different domestic scenarios.  “If an employer has hit you – you have a black eye and blood – you call the police” “But if it’s a salary dispute, you should approach your employer first.”

The girls are encouraged to discuss their feelings and share their thoughts with their employers, take walks to clear their minds and call their loved ones at home. Beyond that, there isn’t much more on offer except the MOM hotline. TWC2 case workers tell me that few, if any, domestic workers will share their feelings with an employer out of fear it could jeopardise their jobs.

However bleak the picture is of working life in Singapore, they are reminded through the course of the reasons why they are here today.  “Remember, you and your family have lived apart to be here, so you have to make the most of it.”

I’m asked to raise any further questions with the MOM personnel who have sat through the course with me. In an email exchange I mention the glaring problem of employers installing cameras in their homes to monitor maids and the impact this can have on them, something that isn’t covered by the course.  

I am told MOM does not have guidelines on the installation of CCTV in homes but stresses that CCTV recording should not infringe the privacy of the maids.

My first filipino maid, I got her thru a small maid agency.  This agency owner has a maid and she told me this helper of hers pick up the maids, act as translator, do work permit and so on.  She said this is allowed and such helper was given a higher salary.  My current FDW, she was also asked to run errands like passing document from here to there while she was being housed at agency boarding, waiting for a 笨蛋 like me to 上钩.  Anyway, I closed one eye to this 'helpful acts', as long as agency nice to me, gave me a suitable FDW and has good after-sales service.... already history, didn't want to trace back.

By Francesca, published in TWC2 website, Aug 2012 

Kusmayati says her Singaporean employer asked her time and again to go to the airport to pick up new domestic workers arriving from abroad. The Indonesian domestic worker, who goes by the name ‘Yati’ says she wasn’t in a position to say ‘no’ to her boss. “I didn’t have a choice because it was my employer. If I didn’t want to go – what could I do?”  She says running errands at her boss’s request ultimately cost her any future job in Singapore.

Yati, 39, alleges that her boss was running a domestic worker placement agency out of her home in Pasir Ris. According to her, she was repeatedly asked to go to the airport to meet newly arrived domestic workers and take them to a doctor for their medical check-ups. Singapore law stipulates that a domestic worker can only cook, clean and care for the family who employs her. Running errands for a family business violates the code. In November 2011, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) caught up with Yati and her employer.

MOM sent Yati a letter asking her to testify as to what went on at the employer’s home. Yati dutifully reported to MOM, bringing only her handbag with her. Little did she know that she would not be returning to the house, leaving behind all of her clothes, photos and keepsakes.

After the interview with MOM, Yati was whisked away to the Keramat Road dormitory in an industrial area of Admiralty where she was required to stay with other domestic workers until the investigation into her employer’s business was resolved. The accommodations were fine, Yati says, even though she slept in one long hospital-like room with seventy five beds in it.  The problem was that for the year and a half that Yati was in the dorm, she wasn’t allowed to work.

In February, Yati was released from Keramat, but instead of going back to work, which she desperately wanted – and needed- to do, the MOM black-listed her from ever working in Singapore again. The decision was devastating.  “It’s not fair to me,” she said through tears. “They punished me for one year and four months already. If it had been just one year, okay. But MOM said forever, and that’s not okay with me.”  When asked why she couldn’t go elsewhere for work, like Hong Kong or Taiwan, she said she needed to take care of her husband who is still in Singapore, recovering from his fall. He doesn’t speak English and he needs her help navigating doctor appointments and working through physical therapy.

Yati says she didn’t know she was breaking the law when she ran errands for her former boss. “I’m a good worker. I never make trouble. I just like to be nice to them. I follow MOM rules.”  She just wants to get back to work. “They already punished me for one year and four months. This one not my fault.”

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Check on maids looking after your children, The New Paper, Apr 2012

Maid or childcare.
These are the only two options for families with children, said Mr Sim Ngee Mong, a senior social worker at Covenant Family Service Centre.  He noted that other options like enlisting the help of relatives may be difficult.

Where both parents are working, they should check on the maid at home from time to time, he said.  And when at home, parents should spend time with their children.  He said: "Otherwise, the children will find that parents are not available to them."  Spot checks are best for those with maids solely in charge of an employer's young, said Dr Brian Yeo, a consultant psychiatrist at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre.
Said Dr Yeo: "If you can't involve your relatives, you can involve neighbours. With surprise checks, the maid will know she is being supervised."

The idea of supervision has led working mother Ms Phyllis Chua, 39, to install a CCTV camera in her new home.  The marketing and communications manager's maid is in charge of looking after her 10-month-old baby, and even sleeps with the infant - a restless sleeper - most nights.
Said Ms Chua: "The camera is more of a deterrent so the maid won't misbehave. It can't cover all areas of the home."

Where caregiving is concerned, Dr Yeo said what's most important is the caregiver's consistency.
He said: "For young people, the main issue is a sense of security. That's why some people choose childcare, rather than inconsistently employ a maid."  Changing a maid every two or three months would be considered inconsistent, he added.

Best Home Employment Agency director Tay Khoon Beng said employers should have their criteria in mind when approaching a potential maid.  He said it was better for families with young children to choose those with experience working as a maid for similar families.  He said: "Sometimes, they judge based on the maid's appearance in her biodata sheet - they may think she looks kind."

Once the maid is in one's home, Mr Tay said families should be sensitive, as childcare practices here might not be those they are used to.
He said: "For example, when we apply ointment on children's stomachs, or an employer with a baby doesn't want the window open for fear the child would catch cold.  "The maids will question why we're doing all this. So we must explain to them."

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* * * *  * * * * * *
First male helper from Myanmar starts work   12 May
The first male domestic worker from Myanmar has arrived and started work with his new employer on Friday.

Brought to Singapore by local maid agency Homekeeper, 31-year-old Lum Hkawng has already completed a 45-day caregiver course. He also speaks Mandarin, which he picked up from ethnic Chinese friends living in his village in Myanmar's northern Kachin state.  Agents say male domestic workers like Mr Hkawng can perform similar tasks as their female counterparts and more. These include caring for elderly men who are bedridden, which often requires more strenuous work.

While agents say there has been an increase in demand for male domestic workers, plans to bring in more men like Mr Hkawng have hit a snag.  So far only 33 male helpers, mostly Filipinos, are in Singapore.

Winter - I'm really surprised there are male FDWs in Spore.  Too bad my girl cannot take opposite sex as FDW.  I don't feel safe to let a male FDW shower or change my girl's diaper.

* * * *  * * * * * *
New 24-hour helpline for Indonesian
maidsSource, Straits Times
Indonesian maids will soon be able to call a 24-hour helpline to enquire about employment issues.   The helpline, offered by the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (FAST), will be operational from June 1.

The association is currently training a group of volunteers to be helpline counsellors and befrienders. Apart from employment issues, the maids can also seek advice on their personal problems.

Winter - Where is our long-waited, dedicated helpline for distressed employers?
Don't understand why only for Indonesian FDWs.  Is it because they tend to give or face more problems?  Giving employers similiar problem like my ex-maid, M and hoping some helpful people will help them runaway from problems or truly solve them without causing damages to their employers? 

Maids portrayed themselves very well as victims....  Another evidence to show employers are unprotected.  Nobody cares.  MOM just interested to 'endorse' (means not putting a stern stop, close eyes by agreeing to all the unfair acts on employers) agencies or organisations who can squeeze our hard earned money.... All they want is our money, their main concern is how to please the source countries and FDWs.

* * * *  * * * * * *
11 May - All we want is a helper/maid that could help us by listening to instructions, don't act on her own, don't be stubborn, be hygienic, don't purposely make life difficult for us .... just carry out duties the way we want. 

Why MOM has no policy to protect FDW's employers who needed a helper not a new mistress for the house?  Maids are human beings, have their own thinking but you've agreed to the job scope so why refused to deliver as per agreement?  Where are your moral values?  Were you born to be cheater?  We don't know you before you joined our house and you've resorted to cheating before Day One.  Nobody forced you to fly out from your source country or get a transfer to us, don't say we forced you to lie! 
Why MOM-Ministry of Manpower (aka Ministry of Maids?) allowed maids to play nasty games?

If maids felt they are slaves in Spore, owners (employers) can punish them severely, am I right?  I understand slaves should have no human rights, their owners can kick them, whip them, make slaves work long hours without any salary, no off days, don't give them adequate food or accommodation and NOBODY CAN INTERFERE!   Spore employers will be penalised by MOM as well as activits if FDWs are ill-treated.  So are Sg Foreign Domestic Workers slaves?  Can we legally punish maids, our FDWs for being too stubborn, playing princess games, forgetful, uncooperative, negligent, rude, showed no respect to us, wasted our money, bullied us or our children, spent too much time on handphone, chit-chatting during working hours, etc

The answer is NO so FDWs are definitely not SLAVES!!  Please wake up and stop using wrong labels!!  Employers have been wrongly accused by you -- maids and the so-call people standing up for human rights ... you thought you're Saints and we're baddies? 

* * * *  * * * * * *
8 May - If FDWs/maids felt they are working and being treated like slaves, why don’t you go home, get your own govt to provide better employment? Stay in your comfort zone, remain close to your beloved family/boyfriend and share the goodness as well as bad in your own country.

If a maid’s salary is very low, like peanuts, I don’t see a good reason for maids to cling onto this little red dot.  When bother to spend so much money fly over and feed the agencies?  Why stay in Spore if you don’t like what you’ve been offered?  Why so demanding and hard to please?

FDWs want to feel unique, very important people in our house, want employers be prepared to embrace their repeated faults and flaws?

How come activists such as this sickening guy can have such mentality in Spore? He thought money will drop from the sky if all women stay home?  He thought all families can survive with single income?  He thought the role of women is to stay home and do their 天职?  All the following were extracted from a maid's Facebook page.

Can somebody give me a good excuse why maids want to pollute our land, teach FDWs to be bad and defame the employers?  What do FDWs hope to achieve by lying to others they worked like slaves?  Slaves are not paid but Maids are!  Domestic maids enjoyed live-in costs paid by your employers, aren't you aware?  How can you bluff when the facts are clearly presented?

Just found out this maid who set up a page on Facebook has a husband who works in a Spore office.  This post is made by the maid's husband, supporting her Facebook page as well as air his 'anger'.

Lying is not a sin to maids.
Nothing wrong for FDW to become thief because they were forced by circumstances to be a liar or thief.  It has nothing to do with a person with poor character or maybe just waiting for a chance to officially turn bad.

So poorly treated?  Why maids 死赖在新加坡?Obviously there are many loopholes for maids to enjoy or reap something at the expense of their employers.  Would anybody with a sounded mind stay in a place that is REALLY no good, simply not to their advantage?  Maids are born with a normal brain, functioning perfect well .... unlike my girl who was born with low intelligence. 

Maids/FDWs, your legs are not tied, your hands are not chained, your mind are not controlled by employers, you're not sold to anybody so what's stopping you from leaving Spore .... run for freedom and gain diginity, feel like a human being not slave!!  何必留下来为难雇主?何必装可怜,博同情 and teach others to manage your employers?  I agree there are bad employers because no human is perfect but at the moment, I've not seen any friends, relatives, neigbours or colleagues who deserve such a horrible label.

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29 Apr - I read something that struck a cord, (source), amended to post in my blog.

The maid market is an international market and Singaporeans are forced to pay international wages or closer to it. However, Singaporean low wage workers are working in domestic market and have no bargaining power at all.

In the current market, if you want to get a new Indonesian maid, it will be more costly than a Myanmar maid. So, practical Singaporeans and business owners will have to find a new source of cheaper supply. But the fact is even the cheapest replacement will cost higher than the existing ones.

The maids have their governments to support them, fight for high salary but our government, PAP does not fully support our low wage workers because they are not “exportable products”, no value or able to gain good relationships with other countries/investors by 'selling us' out to work overseas.

Our government says you must increase productivity then the wages can be adjusted. For the case of a new maid, her productivity will be low in the first few months due to newbie in a foreign country and receiving in-house training. It will continue to be low and likely to become worse to reduce their workload (lazy, scheming). Regardless a good maid or a FDW of high productivity/work performance, employers have to pay FDWs’ salary on time and live-in costs.   Who is overpricing the maids?  Who had pampered the maids?  It sure is better to be a live-in maid in Singapore as compared to a cleaner!

Comparing to maids, low wage workers (our local aunties and elderly clearners who are cleaning toilets, clearing tables or office cleaning cum pantry aunties, security officers, etc) are not getting international wages. In your own country, Spore, you are not protected if you don’t have marketable value or exportable potentials. 没有商业利益! This is pure economics and Singapore economy has been organized and operated like this. 

MPs are not crying foul when agencies & embassies kept increasing the wages of maids.  Did you see any minister jumping out to say FDW's employers have paid the FDWs fairly, FDWs not underpaid?  It is not as cheap as what ministers make us think foreign labour is cheap labour! Maybe compared to their million-dollar salary, it truly is worth peanuts.

Did any minister condemn any maid who has abused a child or hurt a person placed in her care, showed concern to that unfortunate family?  Which minister could feel the ground and know what we really need ... 'tailor-made' rather than implementing island-wide blanket policy .... citizens can only see the goodies but they didn't fit/not qualify?  Govt threw out a bombastic amount, informed everybody they have been very generous and kind to set aside so call help/funds to the needy or sandwiched citizens but how many really benefited?  How many applied for the grants? Compared to their bombastic amount vs the real amount issued out, what is the difference?

Did any minister demand we, those aged 30 to 50 must get higher salary than the foreign talents?  The foreign 'professionals' flew in as S or EP pass holders, earning at least S$4000 per month.  These foreign talents will be gone after finished digging gold in Spore.  Do most FTs want to be new Spore citizens? I would think most want to leave Spore and convert the earnings into their local currencies to live a great life in the land they were born

PAP has been selling this idea that Singapore needs foreign labour because we locals do not want to do the menial work which these foreign resources take up, is this really true?  What kind of undesirable job could it be that pays at least S$4000 per month, work regular hours?  How many of you report to imported Filipino, Indian, Indonesian, Myanmese, etc? How many of you have 'imported' co-workers that are mostly foreigners?  I am not talking about Caucasian/angmoh.

Channel News Asia - Amidst a tight labour market, Tan Chuan Jin said employers should also foster inclusive and progressive workplaces through measures such as giving more job opportunities for back-to-work women and older workers.

Are we drawing good salary that enable us to cope well in Spore based on single income?  Should women stay home to nurture their children, stay out of workforce to make way for more foreign talents?  On one hand encourage women to work, on the other hand holding us down by not giving us real support... ok.... maybe I'm just the one and only person who is stranded .... that bad?  Am I really the only household in Spore that has no market value, not included in PAP's big plan?  Will PAP claim companies creating jobs but not enough 'talents'/manpower to meet the tight market demands because most women prefer to stay home so companies had no choice but to hire FTs?  Did PAP look at the root cause? 

Why some citizens cannot earn more?  Minimum S$2000 a month? How about govt reduce the costs of living eg reduce or cap stall rentals so that food prices can be lowered?  Most citizens are educated (not those degree holder) but take home pay (minus daily living costs/expenses) is lesser than the live-in maids.  Maids can have a fix amount to save or send home, as much as S$450/month because FDWs don't need to pay for room rental, utilities, food, insurance, medical and other living costs. But local cleaners and all employees in Sg need to.  FDWs have a privileged life.... some employers maybe bad but overall, FDWs are not facing the harsh living standard in Spore because their not-too-bad employers covered them under their wings. 

FDWs faced mainly loneliness and away from home but FDWs can use phone, internet or hook up with friends, both men and women .... so are their lives so bad?  Who are the real slaves of Spore?  I thought those citizens who clocked long working hours, had to compete with foreigner 'robber'/co-worker looked more like slaves of Spore? If they don't work harder than foreigners, they faced the risk of being replaced!  We are born in Spore, educated and facing PAP's policies ... nowhere to run or hide.  Cannot give up citizenship like some new citizens or runaway (migrate), move towards other lands of lesser stress and more ideal for retirement.

Does PAP know we love our children, we want to spend time with them when we're home?  I, given a chance would prefer to stay home if living costs are not an issue.... lots of cash drop from the sky on a monthly basis!  Quality time is not what some children want.  Some children just want parents to be around, in the form of quantity time!  Can parents who worked long hours, burning weekends fulfil such 'requirement'?  Do we get mandatory work life balance similiar to FDWs?  Will our rice bowls be taken over by foreigners if we slack, do not deliver a good job, work lesser hours, don't go the extra mile?  Many sandwiched citizens don't enjoy good life like FDWs.  No matter how bad FDWs performed, MOM still want them!  Rotten apples, being kicked out too many times, MOM punished the employers for not trying to accept or accommodate FDWs' bad attitude and poor working performance. We take the blame, the unfair responsibilities and have nobody to help us air our grievances!

Many letters have been written to the press about protecting the employers but PAP government kept turning a deaf ear.  One reason why the maids act up, deliver shoddy work is because they know they are well protected by MOM, their strong backing.  With weekly off days, maids no longer need to be sneaky, they can officially gather at hot spots eg Lucky Plaza to exchange tricks, learn to manage their employers from others, they have common target, same bull eye  --> the employers!  Bad maids will become more common because MOM has offered a good chance for them to spread info and mix around freely. 

By getting a replacement maid, is it free?  Each time maid acts up, the poor employer has to find urgent temporary help and spend money on agency fee, get new insurance and other expenses for a new maid.  Full time working employers had to tolerate their FDWs, hoping their maids would mend their ways so as to avoid monetary losses and time wasted

The government has been rehashing the story to the citizens that they should not expect a high salary lest we overprice ourselves out of competition in this global market. How come modern FDWs can be pricey yet poor quality, unable to deliver a satisfactory job?  Is it because MOM is controlling the source countries, not keen to find better source countries, not allowing competition and better FDW choices?  You know the answer!

You want PAP to spare a thought for us, show real concern to the needy, understand the meaning of FDW is a necessity, not a luxury and tweak the policies …. long way to go!  These people (MP) who some of you elected do not represent us.  They have no heart to save us from bad maids and agencies nor embassies.  Maybe PAP will feel the pain if suffer great losses in the next election .... lose that comfortable chair? 

The struggle to live with basic necessities, for people like me isn’t easy but do you believe?  Activists and insensitve people thought we just like to complain and make Sporeans be labelled as complain King/Queen.  Some people have a blessed life but do others have it?  How to educate people to count their blessings but don't be so nasty to others..... the less fortunate people?

Our lives are already so difficult due to PAP's shortsighted, insensitive and careless policies (eg 2 is enough 两个就够了... now Sg faced low fertility rate). MOM Minister Tan Chuan Jin and Minister of State Halimah Yacob didnt recognise the struggle to make ends meet with a live-in maid.   They stood up and be the FDWs' backing.  If Tan CJ, Halimah or PAP really keen to be kind to us, protect us, let women remain in the work force, PAP should sincerely make a stop to protect foreigners at the expense of Singaporeans.  Also, remove the FDW levy for household income below S$8000/month.  The maid agency fee must be capped below S$400 (more than enough for a one way air-ticket), no upfront maid loan (maids pay thru their banks or agencies by themselves) nor be given unsuitable/inexperience maids to make us train painfully.  Those holding work permits cannot hire FDWs.  PRs and those citizens' household earning above $8000 should pay at least $500 as FDW levy per month.  If they employ more than 2 maids in the same address, they should pay double for their second maid.

* * * *  * * * * * *
26 Apr - Saw Donkey's comment and have extracted to upload.

Winter: My stand is if you chose an overseas job, you are aware of the salary, the pros and cons.

Spore employers didn’t force you (FDW) to accept an overseas job that you felt lowly paid and not well treated.  Don’t give such lame excuse!  Don’t think you’re so pathetic and place the blame on Sg employers.  It is your own country that cannot offer high salary and welfare that’s why FDWs are flocking to Sg, after comparisons.
Winter: MOM stated very clearly this is a requirement that each maid must go for half yearly medical check-up (pregnancy and health check-up) at employer’s expense.  Don’t pretend you don’t know if you’re really a FDW employer.  It is not related to medical visits for common aliments. Maids enjoying off days, sleep around (no off day can still bring men home) yet FDW's employers forced to update MOM half yearly what's their FDWs' health and sexual status.  Why can't FDW be responsible for their own actions?
Winter: FDW aware of the pros and cons. Don’t give such lame excuse and kept blaming FDWs’ employer.  Stay in your own countries if they can offer you princess lives!  Hug your family and stay close to them, share poverty and happiness together!  You’re not welcomed to work in Sg with such mentality.  Sg employers don’t owe you a living!

Winter: S$250K p.a …….faint!!  If a middle income working woman earns S$3000 each month, one year she is only drawing $36k.  You are so highly paid, so well off yet claimed you’re not rich!  You don’t own Ferrari, AM or lambo but you can afford 4 cars with professional attention!  Which woman doesn’t want to stay home to look after her own children if husband earn easy money like you, just half will do? S$250k per year, I/we must slog how many years to have this amount??  Donkey has 4 cars, dogs….. show off big time, step on the POOR without feeling remorseful and felt doing the right thing! 

In case self righteous/activists forget how to count, S$250k p.a., an employee must earn S$20833 per month.  I believe many dual income - working couples classified as middle income group, are unable to earn a combined income of S$20,000 per month.  Isn't this pathetic?

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25 Apr -
Up to bosses and agents to set rules of maid conduct, My Paper
Winter:  Maids personal time?  How to define FDW's personal time? On weekly off days?  After 9 pm everyday?  Any time she likes, as long as maid finished her chores or employer not at home are classified as maid's personal time?

Both maid agencies and employers should be responsible for setting guidelines and letting maids know what is and isn't acceptable when it comes to their personal conduct.

But they cannot forbid domestic helpers legally from using the Internet or smartphone chatlines during their personal time, at least three maid agencies told My Paper.

This comes in the wake of a post on citizen-journalism website Stomp on Monday, which claims that a maid used an instant-messaging application on her mobile phone to chat with other users during her working hours.

Stomp contributor SP said that his friend became acquainted with the maid via the app, called WeChat. The app allows users to share photos and videos with groups of users and individuals.

When asked if she was a permanent resident, the maid allegedly told the friend that she was a maid. She had also sent him suggestive photos of herself, some of which were said to have been taken in her employer's Housing Board flat in Punggol, said SP.

In several photos, which were posted on Stomp, the maid is clad in cleavage-baring tank tops. In another, she is wearing a translucent pink T-shirt that reveals a black bra.  SP said: "My friend also told me that the maid even asked him to top up her phone card if he wishes to chat with her further."

Business consultant Sandra Tay, 38, who has had a Filipino maid for the past two years, said: "I don't mind her using her phone to communicate with her friends and family when she's not working.  "It would upset me if she were contacting strangers, let alone posting sexy pictures taken in my home."

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24 Apr - Happened to see this poster using nickname 'Donkey' .... an extremely Rich person, born with a Golden Spoon and definitely is a desirable FDW's employer.  Donkey thought every FDWs' employer are like her own 4 cars, can have 20k watches lying around the house to show off her riches, can afford brand new dentures for FDW, a laptop to use .... another instance of FDW not given 'sweets' (give more than most FDW deserves) and employer is being labelled as slave driver, didn't treat maid like a human!

Donkey is defined as RICH and DESIRABLE EMPLOYER! 从小被呵护不知人间疾苦,钞票一大把.  Many FDWs would want to work for such employer, generous, not much work to do, plenty time to use laptop, etc. 

I am not rich and earning a lot to own a car, spend on yearly vacation out of Spore nor can have a pet. Employing a maid to me, is a necessity and I believe I'm not the only 'poor employer' here. Being 'poor' doesn't mean we treat our FDWs badly.... don't understand why others fail to understand.  We provide the basic live-in conditions and expenses as per MOM law, see Cost to employ Maid.

Being an employer of good quality certainly do not mean you'll get a good quality maid. She is herself, employer do not own her, you cannot assume FDW will be appreciative and deliver quality work. Who says you're extra nice to FDW, she has to repay your kindness and work well for 2 years? My experience in hiring transfer maids didn't prove that. I certainly don't have Donkey's good luck and solid financial status.  Even if Donkey ends up with a few bad maids, she can afford the losses, no big deal, just some paper missing.  Her definition of money:

If maids felt they are slaves, not well fed and they can live better in their own countries, why fly to Spore to eat our money? Why spend money as loan to feed the agencies? Used S$2000-3000 to come to Spore is a small amount to them?

If Donkey is using US$ to compare, first of all, any American want to fly to work as FDW? Secondly, USA is not an approved source country so the apple to strawberry comparison is inaccurate. To be fair to us, self righteous people should do an apple to apple comparison, not forgetting the living standards in Spore and source country (where FDWs spend the money).

Thirdly, this is Spore. We earn our S$ here, live here and spend using S$ not US$ or peso/rupiah!

Maids earn S$ but convert and spend using their local currency, low living costs so their money ended up a lot. How many maids earn S$ and spend all their S$ money in Spore? Where you earn is where you spend. Maids/Nannies/Cleaners maybe earning US$800 but they spend in USA, based on US living standard. It is unfair to use US standard to rate us when we are in Spore! Absurd.  Do they have a PAP system in USA?  They get good and cheap medical, do we?

If I based on US$800 for a live out nanny, it is only S$993 so much cheaper than what I’m paying for a live-in Filipino.  The amount I've calculated is S$1700 per month.  Is this dirt cheap? 

If we're looking for a nanny or cleaner, be very specific, why do we need to employ foreign domestic workers?  A local babysitter cost about $$500 to $800.  The nanny takes care of the child, feed, shower, do clean-up associated to the child, ensure her house is clean and safe, do her own washing after each cooking, responsible for her own utilities, etc.  Not many of us need a maid totally to babysit or do housework... one specific duty.  Some households simply cannot generate that much work, enough to let maid be occupied for 6 to 10 hours each day. 

If a maid is going to cost US$800/S$993 and doing only one duty, either cook, do housework, babysit or take care of elderly .... who wants?  Most of us don't live in 3 storey house or huge landed property, thus, able to make a maid carry out one duty .... work by just doing housekeeping or cook for the whole house, about 10 persons in the same roof.  We live in tiny HDB flat, each unit is about 100 sqm and mostly just 4 persons (2 working adults and 2 kids) in the house.  To walk from one end to another (our house) or to tour our whole house, it takes less than 1 minute.  How to generate enough work (8 hours/day) for a maid, based on one duty/responsibility?

Are you prepared to let your maid Skype using your home laptop (like Donkey)?  Are you happy to see your maid spending 50% of her time talking on her personal phone, Facebook, flirt with men and/or watching TV?  You don't mind hire a princess-maid .... you slog harder than FDW, pay to let her enjoy life?  Having a maid is like having a toy, makes no difference to the total household expenditure?

Civic activism is good for Singapore but it must be grounded by updated facts. People should not criticise for the sake of doing so or pull out outdated data to support modern city life.  Don't insist you are absolutely right when the facts presented showed your mindset need some adjustment.  Your unwillingness to accept new facts, kept denying what others are facing, just because you were being born and blessed with a good life.  It is unfair to people less fortunate than you.  The real world is harsh, just that you are too lucky and unable to get a taste of it!

If I can find a good babysitter willing to give my girl loving care, stay nearby, have a good environment for my girl, I would rather employ a local babysitter than a FDW.  It is also a risk to put my girl in a stranger's house, thus, even if get a babysitter but not recommended by people I know, I won't feel she's in good hands.  Having a FDW has a lot of problem but I can have CCTV at home.  Example this afternoon, I saw my girl crying, maid sms she wants to eat something but didn't tell me what.  I told her to show me in front of the home CCTV.  I won't be able to see my girl if she's in a babysitter's premises. 

Those rich and self righteous persons can continue to show off  their wealth, let their valuables lying around the house, show off how many cars and dogs receiving professional care ….. continue show off you’re RICH but don’t step on the Poor (low to middle income group)! Whatever people such as Donkey spent on FDW, are small money to them but the money we spent on FDWs are our hard earned money, they are not peanuts, they are the fruits of our hard labour!  They can afford to live a comfortable life and no need to worry of not enough money, can we?  Do we have such luxury?

* * * *  * * * * * *
19 Apr - this means MOM will now revoke more work permit applications if found FDWs entered Singapore as tourists to look for employers - direct hire? So employers are now the biggest losers if FDWs coming in via the legal way but unwilling to work, bad working attitude and/or unable to perform their roles as domestic maids for 2 years?

Can MOM stop being so obedient to Philippines government? 

Why can't MOM get more source countries and stop us for being manipulated by Philippines and Indonesia?  Taking good care of foreigners is more important?  Allowing poor quality women to work as domestic maids is helping us?  Are FDWs causing us harm and/or making us incurr more and more losses?

Based on MOM's website, there are currently over 10 approved source countries - Indonesia, Philippines, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and South Korea BUT how nationalities are being marketed in Spore?  It is very obvious MOM is sleeping!  People sitting on the top, it is hard to get them feel the ground.  When you tell them you saw an ant, they can't see because they refused to bend down to see.... they want to stand tall!

Source: Tourists looking for work as maids to be denied permits
The Straits Times – 18 April 2013

Foreigners found to have arrived in Singapore as tourists to look for work as domestic workers will have their work-permit applications rejected, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said.

In a statement to The Straits Times, it added that foreign maids already working here who are found to have entered Singapore as tourist will have their work permits revoked.

The MOM was responding to a report by The Straits Times last week, in which maid agencies said they were planning to bring Filipino women here as tourists instead of going through the legitimate route of declaring to the Philippine government that they are overseas workers.

This is to get around Manila's regulations stating that employers should bear domestic workers' placement fees, which on average cost $2,000, or four months' salary.

The MOM said it "would like to remind Singapore employment agencies and employers that a prospective foreign domestic worker should not be coming to Singapore as a tourist in the hopes of looking for employment".

The ministry said that an in-principle approval (IPA) letter must be issued and the security bond of $5,000 must be posted by the employer before a foreign domestic worker arrives here.

The ministry added that it has rejected the work-permit applications of foreign domestic workers who were found to have been in Singapore during the application process. But The Straits Times understands the number of rejections is small.

It added: "While Singapore is unable to enforce the laws of a foreign country, employment agents and employers should consider their ability to comply with exit regulations imposed by source country governments if they want to bring in foreign domestic workers of a particular nationality."

Maid agents said some of their counterparts get the foreign women to enter Singapore as tourists to be interviewed by potential employers. Once they have found an employer, they will leave for Johor Baru and come back to Singapore again when their IPA letters are ready.

This is done to beat the system, which makes it a must for foreign domestic workers to have their IPA letters before they come here.

Association of Employment Agencies (Singapore) president K. Jayaprema said other problems may arise from this situation. "Some of the women will moonlight while they are looking for employers. They will clean homes on an hourly rate. But what if they get injured? The person who hired them will be in a lot of trouble," she said.

Best Home Employment Agency owner Tay Khoon Beng said employers can tell if their maids have come to Singapore legitimately from the amount of their placement fees. Employers pay these fees first and recoup the cost through deductions from maids' salary.

He said the placement fees of maids arriving legitimately are equivalent to around four months of their salary. Those whose fees are more than that are likely to have come as tourists because agents need to bribe such personnel as airline ticketing staff to let the women leave. The cost is passed on to the women through their placement fees.

The Philippine Embassy has warned that it will blacklist up to 10 Singapore maid agencies by the end of the month, and said more could follow if they continue flouting Manila's recruitment rules.

A FDW's point of view, related to above:

* * * *  * * * * * *
Apr - This is what a maid commented about her employer on Facebook.  I have used purple to put my comments.

1. Your friend's house is small, your house is 3 floor, and you ask me to mop with my hand the whole house 1 time a day, the whole house!
JA is needed to mop my floors once a week and when there's oily cooking.  I don't understand how come some houses need to be sweeped and mopped once or twice a day.  If you live near the main road, with your windows opened like my mum-in-law then I agree the house is dusty and dirty.  Maybe employers can't find other tasks for this FDW? 

2. You ask me to wash your car every day, but when you hire me you only ask me to wash 1 time a week. Even if your car not dirty you ask me to wash the car.
Looks like employer really can't find other tasks for this FDW or 洁癖?

3. Just one more, out of so many nonsense you ask me to do. You ask me to handwash all your clothes and jeans. My hand skin break and I tell you and you still tell me to handwash without glove, because you say that I cannot wash properly with glove? You ask me why I need glove like a princess? You now prefer my blood from my hand go to your clothes instead? Because now my blood is flowing in your clothes you wear every day, a little blood every dress you have.
Olden days, people handwash clothes.  Some people just like handwash compared to machine wash because their clothes are expensive (living in 3 storey .... rich employer) so don't want them to be ruined by washing machine. 

Shows that this FDW was a princess at home, her mum didn't ask her do any manual chores since young so her hands are very tender, too well taken care of when she was not a maid. 

If my FDW wants glove to protect her hands, I'll buy because I know some cleaning chemical quite strong.  My Indo maid M wore gloves to mop the floor.  JA doesn't want, said inconvenient, can't twist mop or cloth dry.

4. If you not working do you want to wipe your house with your hand once a day? Do you want to wash your car every day? You use your hand to wash the clothes? I bet every dollar I have you cannot take it and you cannot do it every day and you will buy a real mop top mop. You only take advantage of me, because to me you have no heart to care. Just because you pay me $450 a month you think that you own my soul?
Why employ a maid when Madam has to wipe the house herself? She can complain, not trapped or sold to anybody, what's stopping this maid from asking a transfer?  If life is so tough here, salary is low, why didn't she go back home and continue be a mummy's princess?  You can end your suffering by calling your agent to pick you up!  Then, remember to offer them money as service fee to find you a preferred employer. 


Extracted from forum, posted by bargainhunter3, 12 apr 2013

My maid get caught with stealing at my house and we have arranged her to be sent back to Indonesia tomorrow. She is currently with Maid Agency but to avoid something funny happen behind us, I think I should post here to warn everyone.

She is great in lies.

I got her from transfer. According to agent, she got transfer out by the first employer because the old folk pass away. She requested for transfer out from second employer because she know she can earn more money with the request (I suspect should be agent who teach her but not sure.)

Second attemp to break in my laptop happened again after we have re-format the laptop and crashed again. We have warned her without checking as we are 100% confirmed. But her answer is still 'NO, I never touch'.

Her target changed to our IPOD after that. My husband got a habbit to clean the IPOD after used. But he realized finger print all over the IPOD after he is back from work. He warn her not to touch anything on table and the answer is the same 'No, I never touch anything on table and I will not touch'. We just keep quiet for months after a few warning although this keep happen and happen every day. The best part is my hubby changed the password and she still can get the right password. My hubby try to close the room's door and warn her not to enter the room. But she just ignore all the warning and continue taking my hubby's IPOD without permission and break in the password secretly.

Until today... My hubby's totally can't find the IPOD. Of course we know where as there is only a person at home. My hubby ask her why is the IPOD and she hesistate and quiet. Finally IPOD found has been hiding under the bed.

Who can protect employer in this case?

LABOUR EXPRESS AGENCY totally washed out. Saying all charges for sending her back must be bear by employer. All charges for transfer must be paid by employer. If there is no employer want her, we will still have to pay for the air ticket.

Any rule to protect employer in this case???

Understand that if the maid haven't fully pay for the loan, employer will also have to pay for it!!! Who will protect employer in this case???

Understand that those problematic maid who get kick out by ex employer but employer requested for transfer, maid agency will still hide all things from the new employer!!! Who will protect us in this case???

Extracted from forum, posted by michelle_wei, 12 apr 2013

* * * *  * * * * * *
20 Sep 2012, Straits Times Forum, Alice Cheah 
The stakeholders comprising employers, maids and maid agencies must find common ground to foster a harmonious contractual relationship.

There are three contentious concerns that must be addressed.
First, salary. Based on standard contracts formulated by the Philippine government, for ease of computation, entry-level salary should be $500, which is equivalent to the US$400 monthly minimum Manila wants for its maids.

Second, maid placement fees. It is only fair and just that maids be responsible for their own expenses incurred in their home country, such as the processing of their passports, medical checks, training, personal insurance and other documentation fees required by the Philippine government.

This is to ensure the maids' commitment to undertake their jobs seriously and not be here for "free rides". Placement fees can be arranged by banks or financial institutions appointed by the Philippine government.

Local employment agents could also be allowed to collect a sum of not more than $250 for any transfer of employment within the six-month interim period.

Third, weekly rest days. With effect from Jan 2013, the Manpower Ministry will allow maids to work for their employers during their rest days, as long as they are compensated and both parties mutually agree. However, two mandatory rest days a month should be enforced, allowing the maids to trade off only the remaining entitled days in monetary terms.

Notably, it is the practice of employers to give maids Sundays off so that they can enjoy the company of their compatriots. Hence, days off should not be given on weekdays.

All other terms and conditions that are of less importance can be ironed out between the Association of Employment Agencies (Singapore) here and the Philippines' Association of Licensed Recruitment Agencies for Singapore.

While I can understand the tough stance taken by Philippine labour attache Vicente Cabe, I hope he can also give due consideration to the above feedback.

Any contract entered should not be lopsided, so that we can achieve a win-win outcome.

* * * *  * * * * * *
10 Jan - In Dec 2012, many cases of foreign workers on strike or refused to work.  The most outstanding case was SMRT drivers on strike. 

I wonder should the FDWs in Spore stand up to voice.
I think they should give Spore govt 14 days notice before they organise a legal strike.

  • FDWs should ask why allow their agencies to charge them S$3000 as agency fee and made them work for free for 7-9 months.  Employers were victims too, FDWs shouldn't point the wrong fingers.  We paid agency fee, your lodging, 3 meals, insurance ...... any many others.  How much does a one way air-ticket cost?  FDW doesn't fly to Spore via SQ, she flown in via cheap airlines.  Agencies claimed each FDW were given 400 training hours in home country but she came and unable to carry out any housework in Spore.... lies!  All these adminstrative and training really need S$3000??  All those middle men and agencies are just blood sucking monsters.  Now with SIP, did it help FDW?  No, I doubt so.
  • Ask their embassies why their countries have no printed notices or handbook about domestic workers working in Singapore.  A lot of them have no internet access in home country.  They were cheated by their local recuitment agencies, thought Spore is a land full of gold.  More information should be easily available in their home country.
  • Why MOM charging employers levy of $170 or $265/month and unwilling to make this become part of FDWs' monthly salary?  If levy is waived, each fresh FDW working in Spore can be paid at least S$450 salary + $170 = S$620/month.
  • Why FDW cannot live-out and must be a live-in FDW in Spore?  FDWs may have no freedom and can be exploited to work long hours, 14 - 16 hours a day.  Not many get hired by expatriates in Spore and given a special employment package.
So, FDWs stand up for your rights, ask for your money and stop agencies from lying and making you as money making machines.  Don't get cheated to come to Spore and create miseries for your innocent employers! 

Turn the table around, should all FDWs' employer organise a legal gathering to voice our concerns to ensure our MOM and government listen properly and act fairly?  To have an untrained live-in FDW, each employer is parting with S$1300 to $1800 per month per FDW, is this fair?  This 'investment' is of low or zero returns, based on the poor FDWs' quality.

Employers tried to voice but our MOM unwilling to listen well.  Policies are protecting the interest of unscrupulous maid agencies (registered and working closely with AEAS or CASE) without considering the hardship of the middle-income consumers (employers). The agencies are manipulating the situation at the expense of the consumers..... as well as FDWs.  Very disappointed with the way our Ministry and government is handling our grievances. The current FDW's employment terms is unfriendly, too harsh and unfair to full-time working employers.

News of foreign workers on strike made me felt if we, the workers are pushed to the edge, strike may be more common in Singapore, be it illegal or legal, it is the best way to get public attention .... a desperate scream for help!  In this instance, I'm not an employer but a full-time worker, a helpless working mother who has nobody to turn to for help.   I have a special needs child to care for and a job that I wanted very much to keep.

Full-time working woman-employers were not involved in the discussions to determine the FDW's price structure.  Nobody interested to know our woes.  All those fee and policy discussions were done by agencies, AEAS, CASE, MOM and/or embassies.  Employers are just being asked to pay and pay, without any exception.  Do employers working in government offices such as Ministries face the same problem of bad maids and agencies?  I doubt so.  官字两个口,平民百姓只能受苦.

No guarantee or regulation to make agencies more responsible, trustworthy, ethical and efficient in supplying FDWs.  If fined or being blacklisted, agency owner can simply close that agency and open a new one.... start afresh.  Employer paid $1000 non-refundable agency fee, that's your problem.  The message MOM is sending to us: "You want to hire FDW, accept the existing terms and bear everything! Don't bother AEAS, CASE, MOM or the ministers if you have any dispute with them.  Settle all these 'tiny' household issues yourself!"

How do we, the employers show that we really paid a lot for FDWs but not fairly protected by law?  How do we get MOM and activists to recognise the fact that foreign domestic workers (FDW) are a necessity in some households?  How do we feedback to MOM we are victimised by maid agencies, maids and embassies? Also, MOM may tweak its policy if more voices are received from employers. Employers in Spore, I suggest you

email MOM to : mom_fmmd@mom.gov.sg or write in to

Ministry of Manpower, 18 Havelock Road, Singapore 059764 with your real name and ID. 

It will be better if you've proof/evidence to submit.