29 Apr 2016

Maid with personal mobile phone

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Special Needs.2
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In my opinion, a good agent will fully support my requirement (house rule) of FDW not using mobile phone during the day.  On weekdays, I pass JA her phone to use from about 7pm and Saturdays +public holidays, I left her phone on the kitchen top whereby she kept moving to her phone as well as sometimes receiving calls (treated me as transparent) ... totally can't resist temptation!  If I'm not home to witness this, leave the phone to JA on weekdays (24/7), what's going to happen?  Am I suppose to be mentally prepared for a neglected special needs teen and chores not done properly due to maid's addiction on her phone?  A good agent will automatically convince the FDW that having a mobile phone accessible 24/7 is not part of human rights nor will cause FDW to lose her dignity.  An ethical agent will rebuke FDWs or activists trying to make employers' life miserable and force them to accept all unfairness.  Using lame excuses or adopt such work mentality is wrong, irresponsible and selfish.  Ask yourself, are you here to work as a helper, holidaying cum light work load or to widen your circle of friends?  I used to be very strict about usage of mobile phones ... can use only on off days.  Now, I am very lenient to JA, even allowed her to tap onto my home wifi but I'm not sure does she appreciate.

One example to highlight is JA's friend came over to tell her her son has gone missing from university.  No matter how urgent, what can you do after receiving the news?  Can you fly home instantly to your loved ones?  Leave your employer in the luge to sort things out without sufficient notice if some major accidents took place?  JA was mad at me for keeping her phone 无妄之灾 and cooked up a cry show.  JA can't help to locate her 'missing son', she's in Spore not Philippines!  Her hubby and 'helpful friend' were just giving her unnecessary worries.  FDW, if you're really here to work, you'll fully agree that I am not mean, cruel nor treating you harshly by keeping your phone till evenings.  I am sure you can still stay in contact with your friends and families when employers get home to hand over your phones.  Such incident doesn't justify the need to hold a personal phone 24/7.  If you can't accept such "unreasonable employment terms", don't accept employment and then try to negotiate/demand better terms after on boarding, kindly stay in source country because you're not ready to show commitment in your day job. I have not seen my colleagues or myself hooked on personal phones and forget why the company employed us for.  We strived to be a good team player and add values to our companies... in order to keep our jobs.  We have KPIs, do you?  

Act "poor thing" and felt employer owe you a good life?  If FDW is unprepared to be away, easily get home sick, not mentally geared to work at least two years in a foreign country, it will bring miseries to herself as well as employer.  You are lonely, you need friends but be selective.  Don't get yourself hooked onto your phone or window/outdoor chit-chat and forget about your core FDW duties.  How many of you missed your families to the extend of talking to them everyday .... spent more time with them then friends?  How much do you pay for overseas calls if your employer didn't give you home wifi?

In modern FDWs' eyes, Employers are your easy preys? A correctly matched job means a stronger and happier relationship with the employer.  If you will die/listless, can't wait till daily chores are completed to use your phone, tell your agent to match you with a barrier-free employer eg expatriates.  A lot of expats just want to show off their status, having you is not a necessity so didn't generate enough work for you to kill time.  They don't mind having you as a show piece ... which cost peanuts to them.   

Frankly speaking, are there really a lot of overworked FDWs?  Spending time on mobile phone, Facebook and shabbily delivering duties ... concurrently rushing personal work and actual FDW work = overworked?  Getting FDW to focus on her day job, pointing out her mistakes/shabby work due to misuse of mobile phones = employers too demanding?  Unable to manage time well, cannot handle chores and your circle of friends concurrently = stressful, employer not understanding?   


Agent shouldn't give me a lecture or show me sickening/displeasing looks when I state my house rules.  What's wrong with being honest?  What's wrong in being clear to avoid misunderstanding or monetary losses (getting a phone addict FDW)?  This is a reasonable job requirement, just like any company policy.   A mobile phone is not a tool for any of you to measure or gauge how bad is the employer. 

FDWs, please don't purposely make life difficult for us.  Be truthful and responsible. You can't control yourself, high tendency to take things for granted and over-rated your values/entitlement ... using the excuse of human rights or treat you like human/as part of the family.  Don't accuse us of being inhuman or not understanding.  Most of you proved that you have to be controlled, insensible and are untrustworthy.  Having clear house rules is just one way to protect employers from lousy helpers who will waste our time and money.  Your services aren't free.  Your agency isn't "selling you at low cost".  We need you to help us lighten our load, not as "an item" to boast to expat friends and families.

Extracted from online postings: 
1) My maids is ex Singapore maid, previously worked for a very rich Indo Chinese family of 4, and she was 1 of the 7 maids in that family.   Now she returns to sg again and working for me, just with an ordinary HDB house with normal food.

When we first interviewed her at the agency, she said she didn't want to use hp and no off days. She was so comply until the 3rd months she with us. Suddenly she is asking can she starts using the hp? I was like...huhh? You told us you do not need to use hp in the first place. Then she replied, bcoz I dont know ma'am and sir personality yet, so after I observed, I find two of you should be okay if i ask for it.

Well, out of sympathy, my husband and I agreed will pass her the hp and to let her use it every week weekend nites (Fri, Sat and Sun) since we have 2 boys age 4 and 1. Weekend, my husband and I still can manage the kids and let her to use her hp to call her family members.

Nightmare started since that, after she starts communicating with her family members, she can't sleep and eat everyday. She kept thinking about what her husband told her that he missed her so much. She came to SG is bcoz she was having bad relationship with her husband in Indo, and she ran out from the house just to scare her husband. Is really drama. She cries all time. That time, my second boy is just 6 months old, and we all are working full time, no in laws and parents help at all. I have to leave my poor boy to her in the day time. Can you imagine how I feel everyday before I leave the house in the morning and go to work. I'm crying in my heart everyday. I can't concentrate in my work bcoz her unstable emotion really affected me

My 1st boy right arm was broken by my 2nd Indo helper when he was 5 months old. Yes, when he was 5 months old. Same thing, I have no choice and I got to work full time. So left my 1st boy to the helper, and accident happen. She was retained in SG for 10 months just to go through all lie test. In the end, police officers asked us whether do we want to proceed to sue her? We just let her go. Bcoz even you sue her, she will be in jail, and my boy's arm won't be perfectly fine anymore. 

Back to my current maid. So, I was so paranoid all time, whenever I leave my 2nd boy to her. The phobia stress is really challenging me. I am glad that I didn't turn mad after so long my mindset being torturing. So, this was last for 3 months, which she is with us for the 6 months. I console her everyday all time. And reminds her, my boy still young, please don't let her emotion and affected the safety of my boy. After 3 months she continue with her unreasonable emotion shown, I can't take it anymore. I pay her to work for me and help me to take care my boy, not to come to my house and stress me out and my husband. So I confronted her, asked her whether she still wants to continue to work or not. She said yes, bcoz her loan is not finished yet. She promise will stable her emotion and work as per normal. Huh, the next day, she just like normal, unstable emotion all gone. 

Okay, think things go smoothly. The following months, she is so fine, and I back to work as per normal again. One day, I out of sudden went home early, at 2pm, I saw her steal her hp from my room, and hide inside the store room making a call. I can't believe what I have seen. She was so shocked too, and her lips turned pale immediate. I told her, I remember I have informed her, whenever she wants to use her hp, she can ask for it. Why she wants to steal it and make a black mark on herself? She replied, she also not sure why she did that. And I asked her, who did she call to? Guess who? Her SG 's maid friends. Faint~~

Her loan is finishing soon, Oct next month. Bad attitude starts showing everyday. Whenever after she used her hp at nite, the next day she will show black face to your request. She told me, after her loan finished, she wants to go back to Indo.  She can't take it life without hp. She said the hp will distress her bcoz she is facing my son everyday. 


My conclusion, hp...not helping them distress and work better for you, instead the other way round.

2) My maid recent months has started to Hse hp till very late and it affected her work performance the next day. 

When we talked to her about work performance the next two days she will try to show improvement but after a few days back to the slack work again.

Was wondering whether is she really here to work or not. The helper contribution can either help or family our family. For them is just a job at the end of the day if it don't work out they can just leave your house.

3) I had bad experience with maid who promised to use hp only in the night after work but when I was out to work, she started to charge her hand phone daily and even brought to the bathroom when she took her afternoon baths. At night, we allowed her to sleep earlier before 10pm but she was on the hp till past mid-night and showed me black-faced when i chided her for her sloppy work. Really don't know what to do with maid nowadays... I always tell my mother that i dislike hiring maid for trouble-free reasons as they come to Singapore with other intentions and not sincerely here to work. Given off days also came back with problems. Really problematic!

When they are not happy, they will tell you that they want to transfer as and when they like or asking to send back to Agency. I even had a maid feigning ill and asking to go back to agency to rest ! I suspected she wanted to go off-day and carry hp but her contract she signed as agreed that she could only ask for off-day after 6 months of work and partly because her sister was in Singapore and she could talk over the phone for half an hour using my fixed line. I was really frustrated with her. 

Honestly i am very discouraged with the 2-year contract signed by the maids but they can breach the contract any time and it becomes the problem of employer. I feel they should be penalised heavily for breaching the contract.

4) Before signing contract, I emailed agent (so I have the black and white proof) to request for maid to come into Singapore WITHOUT handphone. Totally cannot bring into my home.

The agent replied that the maid agreed to everything I said in the email. I asked the agent to get the maid to sign next to every request she agreed to comply. The agent said no need. she already agreed verbally with the Myanmarese agent/translator. (This is the part I made a MISTAKE by not insisting that the maid SIGNS THE REQUEST in the presence of the agent.) When it comes to maids, trust is a word that does not exist, I'm afraid.

5) I have an ex sg maid for near 2 years. She has been working in Sg for the past 8 years, so it is not possible to bar her from using handphone but i am ok with that, so long as she does not use handphone in front of me. My maid agency said that it is rude to do that so she followed. Also, she needs her off day to be with her friends, i let her out from 9am to 9pm, came back tired but happy. So long as she is happy, then our job as employer is easier too.

6)  Maid became very rude to us when she doesn't get what she wants. We limited her wifi access to her phone only and removed laptop and tablet access. She insulted me in this and insisted that I am no good because I did not give her other gadgets access to wifi.  She got a bangladesh boyfriend. He always calls her. They are always talking on the phone. I discovered she also taking some kind of pills from indonesia. She told me these were contraceptives she buy from her friend. 

7) I treated my ex-maid quite well, allow her to have HP, gave her extra off days when she requested, didn't allow my kids to abuse her by asking her to do every minor thing, bought gifts for her and her son every time when we go for holiday and gave her 100% freedom on how to do housework and she even have her own room and she disappears into her room at 8 plus every night. Most of my friend's maids work until pretty late like 10 plus, 11 plus and they never complain. 

So my conclusion is that cannot treat them too nice becos they will climb all over your head. don't abuse or ill treat them but no need to treat them very nice as well...no choice, not that we don't want to but somehow, they just don't appreciate it. 

8)  Camelia was a transfer maid and i think the agency lied that she was fresh maid but when she came here she couldnt cook dont know how to do housework and was not patient to kids even she acted innocent but still she was lazy and sleep till 9 or more in morning and sleep early . so beginning i tolerate her bo chap attitude and even renew her contract ...
But things start getting worst when she came back from indonesia , she start using her hp regularly and even take selfies of herself in toilet and leave my child alone when i was at work...terrible and when i tell her off she show black face and things turn nasty ... also whenever i reprimand her over something she will rudely argue back and shouting sometimes when i raise my voice to show she is not afraid how bold and arrogant.

Never have i seen a maid like her acting all high and mighty and even use her hp to message regurlarly during working hours...even i tell her off she ignore me i has no choice but to keep her phone untill her break time or at night when she sneekily spend hours in toilet just to talk to her friends and and to take a selfie and next day coz of this she always cant wake up early and affect the way she work...floor she just anyhow sweep .. and many dust left over and even break many things like my cup , saucepan etc but we did not punish her . Also sometimes she will just take break and sit down and rest anytime she like even without finishing her work that is so bad and i was paying her wages like crazy and there she was acting like a princess and show me rude and nasty attitude.

9) Mine is the typical problem: Using my clothes to take pictures with and then posting it on the Facebook page. I found out after I caught her messing in my room. Sometimes these maids are out of control, but it is essential as employers to set the boundaries right. 

10) I hired an indo maid this year now about 8 months. At 3rd month she secretly bought a Samsung tab from another maid downstains. and since than she every afternoon busy playing with handphone when we are out to work. at 6th month we caught her going out of the house between 2am-4am. when looking at her phone record she could have went out about 12midnight to meet her boyfriend.  my husband had fear after that and in the middle of the night keep waking up fearing.  my question now is what is employer's rights.. i mean now she is caught galavanting should i be the only person sheltering all the cost. i think its very unfair to me. I already close two eyes as far as i could and i can say we treat her decently what we eat she eats. lately she has also been throwing away my son's food when my son refuse to eat.  I so stress now... on the one hand i am the kind of person

11)  For my Myanmar helper, it was also indicated in her contract dat she cannot have mobile phone during her contract with us. However, 6 mths into d job, she asked if she could have 1. After discussion with DH, we felt that she is quite responsible and hardworking. So we told her she could buy using her own salary, but there will b house rules on d use of her mobile. And we did highlight 2 her dat base on d contract signed she shld not hold any mobile but since we think she is a responsible person, we will let her have it. 

So we wrote down our house rules, make sure she understands and get her to sign it. And we told her dat if she breaks any one of them we will not hesitate 2 send her back. I know it may sound quite mean, but like what you have mentioned, I too have seen helpers @ playground who just continue 2 play wif their mobiles n ignore d kids under their charge. I became worried when they r @ d bus stops running arnd while waiting 4 d school bus. At one point in time, I actually had to tell d kids off as I thought it was too dangerous 4 them

12) I let my helper to have her phone only when i reach home every evening about 5pm and whole day on weekends or my off days. i will keep her phone before i left to work on weekdays. But i do notice some day she woke up late in the morning and looked very listless. she goes into her room about 8plus pm and start chatting on phone and massaging. I let her use my wifi too. I will send my children to student care and childcare before i go work and i fetch them after my work. She has whole day to herself.  But u have a young bb at home. You may want to consider to let her have her phone on weekends or evening for an hour when u are with your bb if you maid is ok. Just my suggestion. Not a good idea to make them unhappy esp she is alone with your boy.

13) I do not think it is unreasonable. But provided she is treated no different from being a family. I tried to relax restrictions by letting a helper with handphone before and this was abused. She even brought Indian men home when we were out at work. This came to light when I pass by her just when she was checking on a message she received and I recognized that the picture were taken in our home. And when I checked her mobile, there were many more similar photos with different men taken in various areas of our house and she even used make up and wore our clothes and accessories.

Now, for my helpers, we strictly do not allow them to own personal handphones. But they are treated like our family members. For instance, they sit down with us on the same table during lunchs and dinners (we usually skip breakfasts). We bring them on trips too. In the evenings, after chores are done, they are free to watch TV, call their family or rest. Just like most of us. After a day work, we do what we wish to at home.

The few restrictions we had for them is to limit who they can befriend in Singapore and what they are allowed to spend on. Afterall, they are here to work to provide for their family back home. If they are going to spend majority of their pay on unnecessary items like movies, handphone bills, etc. and bring home similar amount of money after deduction of agent fees, they will be better off working back home as they will be near their family and friends.

14) I dont mind if my domestic maid having her mobile, off day, even her holiday, As Long her job settle. Anyway she’s human too

15) personally I do not take my mobile phone with me into class when I am teaching or when I am attending meetings; similarly I don’t expect the maid to be answering, or receiving messages or calls while working; when their work is over, enjoy the phones… when I am in a taxi I also remind the driver not to be distracted by his phone! so there is a time to enjoy the phone and there is a time NOT to!! 

16) They must have disciplin when using the handphone. Work is work. Time to relax/wind-down, then the handphone can be used. But not all maids can understand this.

17)  I allowed my helper to use mobile phone and even let our home WiFi so she could Skype her family members in the Philippines….in the end…she stayed up late every night to play games…watch videos…quality of work definitely deproved….so much for trust in domestic helper to have self discipline

18) Maids shld be educated on the usage of mobile phones. Best time to use will be when they hv finished all the household chores

19) Mobile phones are primarily used by many FDWs to keep in touch with their loved ones at home. This channel of communication is crucial to the mental and emotional well-being of the FDWs, as this will give them the peace of mind to focus on their job, which actually benefits their employers.

20)  Yes we are lucky if the maid is good but how if they are simply stupid or pretending to be stupid? You can't teach those pretend to be stupid. Phone calls and let them go out, well again yes if u r lucky then then they would come back or else we have to end up paying more and more to get another maid even after providing checklist and giving ample of their own time!

21) As much as you value your privacy, your maid does hers. Try not to pry into her personal affairs such as letters, phone calls she makes on her mobile phone when her working hours are over, where she goes, etc.  Communication between you and your maid is very important. You are the channel to the outer world for your maid, a foreigner in a new land. Being approachable allows your maid to trust and even confide in you. If you find something your maid is doing is against your acceptance, tell her immediately. Keeping it inside will only make you feel unhappy and the problem may escalate and resolving it gets harder. If she has made a mistake, explain to her calmly. Raised voices can only cause hysteria and negative feelings.

22)  No employers sane enough would like to create problems for themselves.  As long as the maids are abusing the system, creating troubles and being irresponsible, uncontrollable in phone usage, unteachable, steal and lie, they ought to be sacked and repatriated without mercies. Why are they so special and not to be treated like any normal employees who commit the same troubles ? Thieves are sent to jail right ? We are only sending them back, not to jail. Very kind already. Maids have more rights and employers have more wrongs. Idiotic system, really.

23) I agree with the "mutual respect" aspect.   Employers should not set draconian rules like no handphone at all, no making friends etc. Maids are humans not robots.

Maids should exercise self control and respect their employers' rules on handphone usage. Which employer can tolerate their staff yakking or texting all day while on the job? Many companies block social media on their network, is this abuse of human rights?

If employers are not fair, maids are free to leave.  If maids don't respect their employers' rules, their employers have every right to terminate them.

24) maids can have boyfriends, friends and use their mobile phone....they are humans and cannot live without these. the problem arises when they abuse...yakking on the mobile phone all day with their boyfriends and friends. 

maids are employed with an agreement. they are provided accommodation and fed. employers are on a losing end (all the time) when maids claim abuse (ok, some employers do abuse the maids).

25) The PROBLEM is that all these maids and domestic helpers totally lack self control. Lots of problems will disappear if the maid have some sense of proprietary and self control in mobile phone usage and relationship and work responsibily. 

But is a GOOD thing because Singaporean families are forced to be more self reliant.  In our work place we work hard and work smart to make ourselves totally indispensable to our bosses thus gaining good promotion and bonuses, but these maids make themselves dispensable.

If they can't control themselves someone has to control them. If no one else can control them then get rid of the problem's root - send them back. It is not cruel at all. They will learn to be more mature and disciplined in their new place. Some one has to teach them object lessons since no one has done it before.

26) I once hired a Filipino maid, look after my aged mother.  She on her phone 24 hours a day, with the ear piece attached to her handphone, all day long. And she talked so loudly some more.  I sit in the living hall, she inside the kitchen washing plates at the sink : I can hear her talking to someone on the phone loudly, even though I do not understand their Philipino language.

Wash dishes : also on the phone
Cooking : also on the phone
Sweep the floor, mop the floor : also on the floor
Take our clothes from washing machine, hang clothes onto bamboo stick : also on the phone
Iron clothes at ironing board : also on the phone
Go toilet : also on the phone
Cut vegetables, wash fruits, wash plates : also on the phone

Ask her to bring my mom to hospital for check up - On the way to hospital inside taxi : also on the phone.  Reach the hospital already, while my mother waiting for her turn to see the doctor : she also on the phone.  Conclusion : she come to Sg, not to work with the right attitude, right frame of mind, but to chit chat, all the time. 
In short, she is Totally Addicted to the phone !

I ask her - If you are to work in a corporate company, do you think you will dare to behave like this, on phone 24 hrs whole day?  Her attitude is not to look after my aged mother, but to chit char to her friends, all day long.  I fired her, within less than a week.

Call this cruel?  Nonsense!
I call this lack of self discipline over he use of phone.  As I mentioned before - If she were to work in Coroporate company as a cleaner or whatever role, do you think she will dare to show her job supervisor or boss that she on the phone 24 hours?  Obviously not, right ?
I am sure the boss will question here - Are you here to work, do your job, or to chit chat to your friends? If want to chit chat, then no need to report to work, pack your bag and go home Now ! Clear off !

So all you maids, trying to say that we employers are cruel, let me tell this straight to your face!  Don't create bull shit nonsense, trying to push the blame onto the employers, when is clearly cut cut who is at fault.  If you do not even have the slightest sense of discipline over phone usage, then don't even come to Sg, to work as maid.  Because we Singaporean employers, have no time to accommodate your nonsense : always on the phone, whole day long.  Extremely very bad working attitude

If you are on the phone constantly - if you work in a Corporate company like this, your boss & fellow colleagues see you like that, you will be fired, in no time.  The bosses will fire you -
They can tell you that they fire you, not because the corporate company is cruel, but because of your bad working attitude displayed. So pack your bags, & get out of Sg, go back to where you come from !!!

If you had done some self examination, check yourself, control the amount of phone usage, only call after you have done your job duties, no rational Sg employer will want to fire out. 
So you only have yourself to blame, because of your own ill discipline, in using the phone

27)  Will bosses of the office workers, nurses, teachers not take action if they are constantly on the phone?  So why must maids be accorded special treatment?  Is super easy to be just armchair critics

28) A waiter is yakking on the phone while serving us food? A nurse yakking on phone while dispensing our medicine? A doctor yakking on phone while diagnosing us? Oh... and a teacher is yakking on the phone while teaching? All this acceptable? Go to hell with your Human right leh. 

29) it is easy for you to be a saint when you have not encountered:
- maids who ran your housephone bills to a few thousand dollars a month, 
- maids who repeatedly stole money from you, after warning, police report, and threaten to send home, and even if your purposely hide the money somewhere she still manage to find out where
- maids who left household chores undone while yakking on the mobile phone for hours, like someone here said, headphone plugged in 24/7, couldn't even hear people calling

Instead of "I am holier than thou", please tell us how to manage the above situations if they are your office employees or your subordinate in the office, or if they are your maids.  I am sure not all 200,000 of the maids in singapore are like the above. So, please tell us, what would you do. If maids are human beings, maid-employers who have full time job, parenting duties, etc etc are ALSO human beings.

30)  My previous maid was allowed phone after 8pm, after my toddler went to bed. However, she still tried means and ways to use the phone in the daytime when she was supposed to be keeping an eye on my 18 month old. I caught her sitting on the playground yakking away while my toddler ran around. That was in her 1st month of work. She also bought her first smartphone with her angpow money, 2 months after working for me,

She asked my older kid for the internet password, and then used my iPad to post on her FB, when my kid didn't know the password.  She was free by 8pm everyday and only up at 8am. She also naps when my toddler naps. Despite that, she yawns and seems tired in the daytime, I didn't understand why until one day, I heard her on her phone at midnight yakking. 

She also had a maid friend who called my house in the afternoon looking for her. The thing is, my maid didn't have my house phone number. We concluded she must have been using our phone as well.

Plenty of maids in my area are practically glued to their phones. I have seen maids yakking away while their young charges run around and nobody keeping an eye on them. I've seen a young kid nearly running onto the road while the maid was laughing into her phone. 

I also regularly see a maid sitting on a bench chatting on her phone whilst an elderly man in wheelchair under her charge stare blankly into space. Young kids and the elderly are particularly vulnerable if their maids are addicted to their phones.

31) Maids' agenda has changed. 
It used to be:
I will do my best, work hard to please employer. So employer will renew my contract. get a raise in salary, get Ang Pow, make more money and send home to buy land, build house, start new business, send my children to school and let them have the best education.
Learn as much Chinese cooking, Cantonese/Mandarin as I can, maybe can go Hong Kong or Taiwan - higher salary

New Agenda:
Say yes to everything, get into Singapore first, then ask for transfer. 
Act dumb and spoil employers' things or show black face everyday or act crazy if employer refuse transfer.  Must choose employer that give off day, handphone use, wi-fi access. Set up facebook account. Keep in touch with all my friends all over the world.
Look for few boyfriends to have fun and gifts.  Or not shiok.... runaway to embassy and relax few weeks and then go home with free ticket.  NO BIG DEAL!!!  Everything free, don't make money but don't loose any money.....why not?!?!?

Most maids these days are not yakking with their family/"loved ones" back home.....they are scared that they would ask for money.  The maids are yakking with their friends back home or here........who knows what they are yakking about.....soooo...ooo much to yakkaty yak yak 24/7

I can't offer a win win big big suggestion....however...I believe that no transfers and maid have to pay their own ticket if they don't complete 2 year contract will show who is serious to work.

32) We have been sold out by human rights champion who play to the ILO gallery just not to be listed as human trafficking. But these idiots can't differentiate between human trafficking and economic uplifting for this group of workers.

These human rights workers can't tell the wrong from the right.  Time to start a Maids' Wrong advocacy group

33) My previous maid wasn't serious about work. I too believe in human rights. My maid gets plenty of rest, food. She eats whatever we eat. She gets days off. I treated her like an adult and didn't ban her from using her phone, I let her make friends with maids in my area. However, what I got was:

- no phone in daytime. She took liberties to text instead. So there she was sitting in front of me texting away all day. We went out to Sentosa and she was always texting on the phone. It got to the point where she was cooking and a text came in, she left the kitchen to answer the text. After a week of this, I told her to stop. But this only means she stopped in front of me.

- making friends. I allowed her to take my kids down to the playground every evening. She had opportunities to socialize with her friends every day. This maid is definitely not isolated socially. Then one day, her friends brought their charges to my place. I was okay but an hour later, they all disappeared, I then found out she had brought my toddler to her friend's place at the next block without telling me nor my husband. Both of us were home. She didn't think to tell me she was taking my kid out!! Bear in mind I still kept her after this incident.

- connecting with family. I set up Skype for her and her family, every week she is allowed unlimited time to skype on my laptop. Then my family went on a holiday without her. When I came home, I found my laptop switched on. I was livid as I had personal information stored and she had invaded my privacy. If she wanted to call/skype, I would always allow her, she didn't have to do it behind my back.

So I don't know what it means to be a responsible employer now, give them an inch and they'll take a mile.

34) My maid keeps her phone 24/7, we don't restrict or stop her usage. She doesn't see the need to have her phone with her all the time. In fact she leaves it in her room upstairs all day and only use it at night to speak on Skype with her family and watch Pinoy programs. 
For every maid that says she can't be disconnected from her phone, it's just an excuse. My maid is allowed to access it at any time but she doesn't need it, so really is it a requirement 24/7? 
My boss would ask me to get another job if I were on the phone while I was typing a mail or doing work, so why is a domestic worker sooo much more special then the rest of us that they require to be on the phone and connected all the time?

35) There are many work places in Singapore where you are expected to surrender your phone in a locker before proceeding with work. This is because concentration is required for the nature of those jobs. I am talking even at manager level daily 8-6 job. Why should it be different for maids who are looking after young infants/toddlers or elderly? For those of you who are preaching on a high horse, perhaps you don't have these special needs. Human rights is to allow them time to communicate. However, huamn right does not mean they have the liberty to comromise the quality or safety of their job. Next time, i would like to see a surgeon facebooking while performing a 12 hour surgery on a patient if i apply your version of 'human rights'.

36) Employers with toddlers do not necessarily get better service even by keeping the cellphones of their maid.. this is a two way mutual thing. U let her have a minimum freedom I am sure the maid will use the phone responsibly(of course not every maid but 95% would).
The more u restrict the more u will be kept out of because there is a will there is a way in any thing. Don't be an ass trying to control your worker's life. She is here to work and you are not even her father/mother/sibling so you only pay a paltry salary you have no right to control your maid's life. You can set rules during work hours but you definitely don't have a right to take away her personal property.

37) Angel L Navarro - Been working as a domestic helper here in Singapore for almost 10yrs..my own policy is that no phone during working hrs..we came here to work,earn money,save our earnings and not to waste for buying phone cards.there's always time for us to communicate with our love ones back home,not working hours.

38) Hershe Pascua Menor - Me as an individual working as a maid too n sg but when it comes to phone usage I might say I'm nt an addict but I want to have freedom to use my phone to call my kids fr time to time.. I'm here to work n understand my duties n responsibilities to my employers as well but do I ignore my responsibility as a mother to my kids back home too?
I hope u too as a mother n as a good employer to ur maid do understand ds fact madam!

39) my helper is allowed to use her phone anytime. we don't restrict her. but she usually uses it at night (after 9pm) so we are okay with that since everyone is back at their own rooms by then.

40)  I'm an expat employer in Singapore trying to understand the helper's world (sorry I can't say "maid"). Yes we are in a connected world. Yes mobile phones have saved millions of people from lonelyness. However, when I'm at work , when I'm in a meeting, I switch my mobile phone to "off". This is a question of respect between people who try to communicate through work or talk. And I still can't forgive a helper who is using her HP while at work, except in emergency situations. My own helper has working hours and rest hours. Everyday from noon to 2PM, she has a lunch break : she can use her mobile phone during her break. She finishes her work at 6:30 pm. Then she can use her HP again. So I think it should be a shared and respectful decision: the employer should allocate clear moments when the helper can use her handphone and the helper should striclty respect thses time slots. It's a win / win situation. And moreover, it's a matter of mutual repect.

41) I have 2 maids and i let them keep their phones, 1 of them ask for a holiday which i let her go out in the morning and ask her to come back at 6. 10 minutes before 6 she said she cant come back is because shes waiting for her future husband and can only come back tomorrow morning. she didnt come back in the morning and didnt even call i ask someone to call her she said she will be back at 5 till now almost 6 shes not back yet. the other maid been complaining that she does not do her work most of the time shes on the phone. 

42)  I think everything need self control if e maid can use e phone wisely & in moderation i think it is ok but most of e maid dont have self control & they r too addicted w their fb.. do they want to be connected in e real world or in a visual world.. just cos of we control tat doesnt mean they r disconnected how abt those old maid? Last time we didnt even have any hp? Do they die? They save more money & buy more land


Saudi Maids with mobiles — Employers divided over house workers using cell phones
Jan 2016
With technology developing rapidly and its increased importance in our daily lives, especially for communication purposes, Saudi families are increasingly giving mobile phones to not only their children, but also their nannies and housemaids.

While some Saudi women say allowing maids their right to have own mobile phones is fair, others believe cell phones in the hands of maids could open ways for them to escape.  Some Saudi housewives are against the idea of letting maids use mobile phones, but they are forced to permit maids to use them to keep them employed.

Kholoud Alturki, a Saudi teacher who has a Kenyan maid, said her maid has a mobile phone and that it was her right and quite normal.

One Saudi employee in the private sector, Maryam Rubi, said: “Since when have you started enslaving people who were born with their freedom? It is acceptable to let a maid use her mobile phone. Let her communicate and talk rather than put her negative energy on the small children under her care.”

Yet some Saudi women think letting maids use mobile phones is a big mistake.  “Because her contacts with people outside the house could give her the chance to escape, and if not she will be busy talking and may not do her work. How come the maids used to work in the old days without mobiles or phones? She should be allowed to use it on Fridays or her weekly holiday to talk to her family if it’s necessary,” Saudi student Shahd Ziyad said.

Sanaa, a Saudi housewife in her 50s, said she believed giving maids a phone was a problem as they would waste their time on it, yet families are forced to allow the devices so that maids can reasonably communicate with others and keep in touch with their family members.

One Indonesian maid said she uses her cell phone and social media programs such as WhatsApp and Skype to communicate with her family during her free time, especially as these programs allow free calls.  She said her work is no way affected by her using a mobile phone.

“It is vital to let maids use mobile phones not only to talk to her friends and relatives but also for the purposes of her work. For example, if the maid went out with the kids, parents can call and follow up with the maid about their kids. It depends on the maid; if she utilizes the phone properly, her performance will not be affected,” said a Filipino maid in her 50s.

Abeer Al-Tamimi said the real danger of a maid having a mobile lies in the family’s security. “The maid could photograph family members and send the pictures out. She may also divulge family secrets to outsiders and exchange phone numbers with other maids,” she said.  Al-Tamimi said she believed that after exchanging numbers, a maid could have the chance to know unneeded information, such as ways to steal from the home, sorcery and the idea of how to escape.

“To avoid these possible negativities, housewives should impose strict control over the maids’ use of mobile phones,” she said.


Allow maids some use of phone, ST Forum, 26 Jul 2015
As long as there are rules in place on when a maid can use her mobile phone - for example, at tea break at 3pm, or at 7pm to call home, or after she has completed her work for the day - employers should not prevent domestic helpers from owning a mobile phone as this is now part of modern life ("More employers unhappy over maids' mobile phone usage"; July 12).

However, maids should not constantly have earphones plugged in to listen to music or to chat, as this may lower their level of alertness in attending to young children or the elderly.  Perhaps a clause could be added to employment contracts to make clear what the rules are on the use of mobile phones for maids.

Jeff Tan Hong Liak

Winter:  It is incorrect to view mobile phone restriction as harsh and inhuman... if you're not a blinded activist or spoiled brat/FDW. FDWs have a choice not to be an unfairly treated human being, you chose the job, not employers tied you to a job or dragged you on board the plane. You are smart, certainly not stupid and unable to compare, listen to prospective employers' requirements and find your dream job. Mobile phone is not your life.  You people just want to sponge on others, don't give lame excuses! 

If any company giving you a proper job/employment has no rights to set rules and regulations, what makes you? Superior human being? Asshole?  You want a job, agree to that company's policies... same for our house. Who gave you the rights to demand and expect rosy life or accuse employers of not treating you like human? Remember, it's your choice, nobody forced you to work as maid, blame your country or your parents for giving you a poor life. 

Maids, you come to Spore to work, not hook to mobile phones, glued to internet or get yourself entangled by love/sex.  I am sure your brains are functioning well.  Don't be so selfish, discontented and pampered.

FDWs' Facebook comments:
Nurul Ummi Hidayah -- Maid also human maid have parents also... not employers only have parents have own freedom and privacy as long Maid do their job good and properly once they done finish give break time to use their own mobile phone to talk message their family or friend... I meet most horrible employer before even who not allow me using mobile phone even also check time I using my whatapss...

Heidi Carmy Ratilla -- Try to put your selves in our shoes... left behind our love ones in miles and no communication with them... we're not different with you the only thing is you are my boss but we are not your slaves... we just paid in our services but not my whole life....


Mae Ascado -- Why must they keep their maids ph0ne,what's the p0int i d0nt get it,lyk them they cant leave w/o ph0ne,even when their eating they can't rid of their ph0ne,m0st empl0yer's d0nt have a heart,they never understand our situati0n(maids) instead they c0mf0rt us, bec0z we are al0ne stay in a f0reign c0untry w0rk in a stranger pe0ple away to our family,but n0,they treat like us a rubbish a r0bb0t must nid 2 f0ll0w them,were so pitiful to th0se empl0yer hu are selfish,all imp0rtant is their m0ney h0w they can t0rture physically,em0ti0naly to their maids,.why d0nt u try to put ur sh0es to us u cant do this,cant to that n0r eat evrything can't. . Why are we maids are n0t a #HUMAN,WER N0T A #MACHINE#RESPECT US ASWEL,#BEFAIR.


女佣用手机 问题特别多17/08/2015  新明日报

越来越多雇主不想要女佣使用手机。女佣用手机,问题特别多?雇主不愿意聘请要求使用手机的女佣近年来有所增加,有女佣介绍所表示三年前只有20%雇主不愿意,现在竟飙升到70%!

女佣爱使用手机,引发雇主关切,成为坊间最近的谈论话题。受访女佣介绍所说,雇主确实倾向于不使用手机的女佣,这趋势对某些介绍所来说更加显著。

女佣介绍所Orange Employment负责人黄秋萍告诉《新明日报》,有雇主上门问津时的其中一条件是:“最好不用手机。两年前有约20%的雇主不愿意聘请使用手机的女佣,可是如今已经飙升到70%。”


完整报道,请翻阅17.08.2015《新明日报》。

More and more employers disagree that maids should use mobile phone during work time.  Mobile phone usage has been the main cause of problems. Two years ago, only 20% employers disallowed.  Now, according to agencies feedback, 70% Spore employers prefer to employ FDWs who don't use mobile phone freely.  Agent from Orange Employment said one of the top requirements of walk-in employer is "maid without mobile phone"


Winter: I believe most employers don't mind maids to use personal phones in the night (not wee hours) after daily work is done but to demanding and insensible maids, it is a form of restriction, an inhuman way to control them, something that shouldn't' exist in Spore, a place that loves foreigners. 

FDWs felt having a 24/7 mobile phone usage is the top priority to work as happy maids.  FDWs don't care whether engrossed with their phones will cause distraction and shabby work delivered or accident caused.  No big deal, any inconvenience caused or accidents (eg injury), the unlucky employer foot the bill as well as the mental stress, not them.  

Being inconsiderate is their 'modern' rights as a FDW.  Making themselves happy at employers' expense is what a 'lowly paid human being' should behave.... FDWs have been brainwashed by activists to find trouble for their employers ... upholding "human rights" or "maid is not a slave", are very good excuses to demand favourable terms. 

FDWs don't really need a job so they set their expectations higher and higher.... knew MOM is backing them, will do its best to collaborate with source countries and maid agencies!

Employer listed prefer to employ maid without mobile, is that possible?  FDW can lie to get a job.  Once in your house, she whop out her phone or secretly hide in the toilet to meddle with her phone, intentionally 'forget' she said she can work without mobile phone, what can you do? Send her to police station and get your money back?  Send her back to her agency and suffer the monetary +time losses?  Lying is not an offence so FDW won't be jailed, fined or blacklisted by MOM.  Accept the agency's mediation to keep a liar .... give her another chance?  If MOM doesn't step in to stop FDWs' nonsense and poor work mentality, nobody can save you from the clutches of unscrupulous FDWs and agencies.  

Don't assume FDWs are vulnerable, they received little education so know what is best for them.  FDWs are no longer weaklings or 'stupid', their voices/grievances can be heard very quickly via phone - sms, Facebook, Whatsapp, Viber .... so who's crying or bleeding profusely behind?  You!  
Can Employers put a stop to this?  No but you can keep shooting emails to MOM and ministers.
Who has the rights to put things in proper order and ensure the quality of FDWs don't deteriorate? Ministry of Manpower!


Maids' phone use at work a safety risk, ST forum, 19 Jul 2015
As my family sympathises with maids having to work so far away from their families, we have given them the privilege of using their mobile phones to call home whenever they wished ("More employers unhappy over maids' mobile phone usage"; last Sunday).

However, one maid was on her phone, uploading photos of herself, late into the night, compromising on the eight hours of sleep we insisted she have.  Another had her wireless earpiece in her ear all day, chatting as she did the household chores, including cooking. Worried that she might scald herself, we told her to stop talking while she was cooking, but she insisted that her phone was not a hindrance.

I have seen maids allowing their young charges to run across the road as they continued chatting on the phone.  Who should bear responsibility if mishaps occur because of maids' use of the mobile phone?

Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics executive director Jolovan Wham said it is highly disrespectful and inappropriate for employers to keep maids' mobile phones. But is it respectful and appropriate for maids to be spending their working hours on phone calls and Facebook, and increase electricity usage by charging the phones often?

If a maid feels that she has to use her mobile phone often, then it is only fair for her to inform her prospective employer about this. The maid can reject any employment that forbids her to use her phone frequently. Similarly, a prospective employer can decide if a maid who needs to use her phone frequently would be suitable.


Elizabeth Ng Boon Kwan (Mrs)


Don't deprive maids of mobile phones, ST Forum, 19 Jul 
As much as I understand maid employers' concern over the issue of mobile phone use, I would like to highlight the plight of foreign domestic workers (FDWs) if they are not allowed access to their mobile phones ("More employers unhappy over maids' mobile phone usage"; last Sunday).

Mobile phones are primarily used by many FDWs to keep in touch with their loved ones at home. This channel of communication is crucial to the mental and emotional well-being of the FDWs, as this will give them the peace of mind to focus on their job, which actually benefits their employers.

Working and living in a foreign country can be very lonely. Distressed FDWs know they can receive the much-needed emotional support by just calling our hotline or their fellow FDWs. In fact, our hotline is filled with calls from them, citing loneliness and the fear of being left alone as their major concern.

The issue at hand is really not about depriving them of their mobile phones but more about managing expectations, and education. As in any other work setting, there are fair practices related to Internet access and telephone use.

Therefore, a similar set of fair practices can be appropriated by the employers.  By so doing, it brings about a better understanding and the safeguarding of each other's interests, resulting in a win-win situation for both sides.

Employment agencies can also play an influential role in educating the FDWs, especially the new ones, on the appropriate use of mobile phones.  FDWs can be educated on the cost of usage, the dangers of engaging strangers on social media and the need to keep within their employer's expectations. If necessary, this can be included in the terms of employment. In fact, I understand some employment agencies have already done so.

I look forward to seeing fair engagement from employers in setting proper and reasonable expectations, fair practices, coupled with education on the use of mobile phones by their FDWs instead of prohibiting them from using it.

Seah Seng Choon
President, Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training


More employers unhappy over maids' mobile phone usage, Straits Times, 12 Jul 2015
 Mobile phones are increasingly causing rifts between domestic helpers and employers here.  Bosses say phones are distraction but maids say they need to keep in touch with family

The number of complaints about maids using phones has doubled in the past two years, say maid agents.  Such complaints used to make up 20 per cent of all grouses. At the Orange Employment Agency, they now make up seven in 10, said owner Shirley Ng. "It's the top peeve employers have," she said. "Some will ask for maids who do not want mobile phones."

Many employers claim their maids spend too much time on their phones organising their social lives instead of doing their job.  Ms Ng said some employers are also concerned maids might become addicted to using their phones and end up stealing to fund the habit.

A poll of 670 maids in Singapore by the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home) showed that at least 70 per cent of them experienced communication restrictions, with more than 100 saying they have had their phones taken away.

LOSING FOCUS ON THE JOB
I'm scared that if she takes her eye off my kid or my mother (who uses a wheelchair), they may fall or cut themselves.  MADAM SIM C. K., who allows her maid to use her phone only after 8pm

USING PHONE IN SECRET
I needed to keep in touch with my husband, sick mother and three children.  After I got my phone, I felt guilty.  MS GIRLIE RENCODO GULAY, a domestic worker from the Philippines
The phone is a constant distraction, said Madam Sim C. K., who allows her maid to use it only after 8pm. "I'm scared that if she takes her eye off my kid or my mother (who uses a wheelchair), they may fall or cut themselves," she said.  Once, her mother almost slipped and fell in the toilet while the maid was using her phone, she said.  Agents said some maids have two phones - one to surrender to employers, the other to use in secret.

Ms Girlie Rencodo Gulay, a domestic worker from the Philippines, said she has no choice but to hide her mobile phone.  "I asked my employer if I could have a phone and he said no," she said. "I needed to keep in touch with my husband, sick mother and three children. After I got my phone, I felt guilty. I know my obligations as a maid, but I didn't know what else to do."

Agents urged employers to set up ground rules early.  "But the rules need to be fair," said Ms Ng. For example, she advised employers to let their maids use phones earlier in the evening because their family members do not stay up late in the villages.

Ms Ng said: "It's not practical to expect maids not to have mobile phones these days. It's a way for them to talk to their family."  In fact, employment agency Best Home started giving free prepaid SIM cards to helpers last year after an increasing number of employers complained that their maids racked up bills on their home phones of up to $1,000.

Best Home owner Tay Khoon Beng said: "The employers know that I've given the (maids) the SIM cards, so it encourages them to talk about mobile phone usage.  "The cards also teach maids personal responsibility. They need to be careful not to overspend on phone calls and data."

Not every employer disapproves. Mrs Yang M. S. likes her maid from Myanmar to have a phone - not least because it helps her look up recipes online.  "It's very convenient for us to communicate through WhatsApp if I need her help in running errands," she added.

A Manpower Ministry spokesman said it had received some 200 complaints from employers each month for the past three years on "a wide range of issues, from bad work attitude to theft".

The number represents less than 0.1 per cent of the 222,500 foreign domestic workers here, he added. 

Denying a maid a phone is another way of isolating her, said advocacy groups.  Mr Jolovan Wham, executive director of Home, said: "We have had many complaints from domestic workers that their employers keep their phones or allow them to use them only at night or on their days off on Sundays only."  Mr Wham said it was important to allow maids their mobile phones because of the live-in nature of their work.


"Employers should not even be keeping the worker's personal property in the first place. It is highly disrespectful and inappropriate. If we don't expect our employers to keep our mobile phones, we should not be doing the same to domestic workers."


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Posted in my blog under "Why set up a blog", 23 March, 2015
I am preparing myself with a back up plan since my maid of 2 years has become big headed when ask if she wants to renew her contract. I have been very good employer and treat her like a family to only take care of my only son who is in the kindergarten. After a year with us, i ask if she wants an off day and she refuse. Because going out with me is luxury to her as she gets to eat what we eat and she gets to go to places (even paid) which we paid for her. She has her own room and privacy. The only thing she does not have is a handphone which i am against. Reason i have witness a maid busy talking on the phone that she lost sight of an active toddler crossing the road. Until one passersby act quickly to save the boy. I've also seen maids hanging around at the playground talking to each other and let another toddler of below 5yrs old to hurt herself because she was busy chit chatting. I am not against them socialising, but in their own country they are less traffic, less playgrounds and they kids play at their own backyard. Most maids love to chit chat and forgot who they are. I have all this experience for more than a decade. Now that the indonesian president has proposed to stop all his indonesian women to work as maids and to be educated with skills such as nurses and etc. I mentioned this to my maid, that it is a good move so less troubles make. And let the troubles goes to back in their country. These maids have an enjoyable time as 90% of Singaporeans who has maid because both parents are working. We buy a house that is beautiful but for the maid to enjoy these luxury while we slog ourselves everyday at work to make ends meet. Is this the life we want in Singapore.? Especially, no bodies are on our side.

Posted in my blog under "House Rules" on 22 March, 2015

As an expat who enjoys much about Singapore I can say the helper/maid situation is most frustrating. I feel deeply for local families who must depend on these ladies and I worry about the safety of Singapores children. Even as an expat employer who provides a generous salary, very good working conditions (same food as us plus plenty of rest time) I have had one 1 in 3 ladies that was worth her salary. Why do I have a helper in my home? Because I have a husband that does serious amounts of long distance travel and no family to rely on in Singapore and small children and the purpose is to cover for the few times I have been sick. I managed just fine working full time using childcare with some support from my mom and mil previously. My first lady was great and I couldn't really at that stage understand a lot of the frustration about helpers.. My second helper I fired on day 18 due to serious safety issues (lost my 3 year old - lucky he wasn't injured). And the current helper is so lazy (I believe an addiction to facebook is the real issue) that we will be terminating her contract early and simply having a cleaning lady to help once a week. I think maybe Singapore needs to consider long day childcare as a real option going forwards and then you will have workers who genuinely want to work with small children and workers who are passionate about child safety and child welfare. I have lost track of the number of times I have had to rescue children because their care giver was talking on her phone(oh and that's never been a mum!). After 5 years in Singapore I can understand why some employers would remove their helpers phone because they want a situation where they can know their helper isn't distracted by their phone, sadly they aren't trying to mean or nasty they just want safety to come first. I look forward to not having an employee and the frustrations of someone who ignores a reasonable job scope (previous helper had no issues finishing it nor did my cleaning lady in 4 hours!) but current one cant seem to manage it (again its the constant need to be surfing on her phone that stops her completing her work). After so many years watching as a guest some of the things I have seen should have made my hair curl.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sep 2013
Life is meaningless without 24/7 mobile phone access?  Read
Activists point fingers at employers for not letting their FDWs be freely connected.  Read

Maids like to compare (so do I but I know my limits and my actual value) and refused to be at losing end. What her friends or other FDWs have, she felt it is part of a FDW's entitlement in Spore... a norm. She felt those are necessary, a must and should be across the island .... employer must give these 'basics'. Otherwise, she will boycott, give bad attitude and/or give employer a tough life. Maids chose to ignore the terms of their contracts and MOM's law. 

Take for example, when I interviewed my current maid JA, I stressed my conditions to employ her was that she cannot use her mobile phone 24/7. She agreed with her agency acting as witness. There's no such thing as being forced to agree. Obviously, I've respected her as human being, didn't cheat her so expected her to behave like a working adult and honour her words ... be fair to both and truly accepted my conditions for 2 years. If she felt uneasy, don't come to my house. My house is not a testing ground. I cannot afford the time to train and money spent to recruit her... a liar. 

I was very clear and quite reluctant to have JA when she accepted my conditions. After conversation with agent to remind and explain to JA my conditions, also the needs of my girl so JA must think carefully before making a final decision. But Day one, the day JA officially started work, she requested full access to her phone. Few months later, she saw my sister-in-law's new maid (Filipino with no off days) toying her mobile phone in the day, she said new maid can have, why not her?

All I wanted is a helper, somebody who knew my terms and conditions, agreed and will deliver them without so much resistance or problems after onboarding. There are so many employers in Spore, if you're good and your demands are reasonable, I don't see a reason why you'll be left on the shelf.... landing in my house, a place of no choice.... unbelievable!




There are more than 40 mobile phone shops in Lucky Plaza, waiting to make money from the domestic maids (FDW).  Mobile phones are no longer considered a luxury item (even if it cost S$200 to $800).  FDWs and activists felt mobile phones are basic necessities.  FDWs felt having one or two mobile phones is part of being treated like a human being.  You, as an employer can't interfere or stop them from owning expensive gadgets (FDWs can claim no money when she breaks/spolits employer's things but buying mobile, they don't mind, cash rich, becomes 有钱挥霍) ... in the name of staying connected with friends and families far far away. 

If you deny your maid from happily using her phone, she felt she's a slave working under harsh conditions ... you are a tyrant!  If you tell her nicely that mobile phones can only be used 'after work', which often is in the nights, not 24/7, some demanding and bad working attitude maid will fire you or bad mouth you, claiming she has the rights to use her phone.... part of human rights!  You'll know how bad she can make you feel when you hired such a FDW.

What I want to say is, if the employment term - using the mobile phone has been stated before you were employed, you should abide.  There's no such thing as telling white lies and expecting people to give in to your bad working ethics.  You can reject a job that you don't feel happy with ... don't lie!  You have been protected by the activists to lie and get a job in Spore.  If you continue to have such bad conduct or excuses 人在做 天在看 迟早会有报应 降临你身 或身边所爱。


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
4 Sep
Extracted some posts related to FDWs using mobile phone during working hours. To these maids, mostly Filipinos, they defined using mobile phones as and when they want is part of human rights. Sounds like Filipino FDWs find it hard to survive without their phones 24/7. How and when the maid suppose to use the phone is determined by their needs.

Employers prefer maids to use personal phones in the night but to demanding and insensible maids, it is a form of restriction, an inhuman way to control them. This ex-Sin maid who manages a page in Facebook commented these:


"But most maid hide the phone, because they understand that Singaporean employer hate to see their maid talk on the phone. If you find your maid talking, we hope you just turn blind eye and don't add their stress of having to hide the phone."
"You don't own others' life. Maid is not so much brain work, talking on the job make the work easier and faster and fills the heart with connection to our friends."
"DON'T MAKE YOUR MAID FEEL BAD ABOUT USING THE PHONE. It is really a human right to use the phone to be connected with the rest of the world. If you make your maid feel like a criminal when she uses the phone, she will ACT like a criminal by using the phone when you're not looking, like when walking the dog which really requires the exercise."


Most maids cannot multi-tasks. If you make them do multi-tasking, something bad might happen. If your maid's phone suddenly rings, she holds the phone and chit-chat while crossing the road AND FORGOT ABOUT SAFETY, that could mean putting your child and her life at risk, can employer afford to cry over spilled milk?

If your maid is frying half way (using gas) and her phone rings, she rushes to answer and forgot what she's cooking, you don't mind? This is the reason why some employers who entrusted some 'high-risks' tasks such as above, cannot have a maid holding her personal phone 24/7. We know the working habits of maids so we do not want to take risks. I must admit, I cannot and also don't want to be distracted when carrying out the said 'high-risk' work. I don't use phone or ear piece and cause my attention diverted. Employer cannot afford to bear the consequences of a forgetful or irresponsible FDW. Certain maids are hired to do solely housework. Such maids, I doubt the tasks involves life and death or dreadful consequences.... at most, like what you saw last year, on the news, Indonesians fall from windows while doing cleaning.

Maids who are using human rights as an excuse often lose their main focus in their day job or the children they are suppose to attend to. They are too engrossed in fighting for all sorts of nonsense. When I use the word "insensible" and "selfish", this is the kind of maid I am referring to:

Jena Pascua - Talking on the phone is human right and unless we use our own money to pay for our top up!!!

Bubetha Bonita - As long as she did her work well, she knows her responsibility. The more u restrict and control her the more she will be rebellious. This is personal thing and i personally believe that employer should not supposed to intervene. Being someone working with u is supposed to be employer-employee relationship, Not that if who is in control!

Lorelee Jardeleza - oh what a shame u just let ur maid use only on weekend try not to be boastfull by saying u treat her good coz its goddamn bullshit what if u dont communicate with ur family for one whole day what do u feel ? It seems that ur not human madam ! and ur contract is a very big shit if i may add so where in a year that is not a stoneage so better wake up or ur helper will say bye bye to u and its ur job to provide her food and basic need and to treat her as a human too its a common knowledge and it is written in the contract too."
"think what u own her life without ur helper to clean ur shit u can survive? She is a human too and by taking away her personnal things and her only ways of communicating with her loveones is good ?thats stealing one half of her happiness no wonder she hide it from u and pls lor dont consider urself as a very good employer coz by doing this to her ur labeled as a stupid and bullshit one try to think before u hit the button!"
"want their maid to be a slave to clean and act like a criminal coz employer like her is a thief of happiness next day if the maid cant take it anymore she will runaway"


This is the kind of maid, we define as preferred helpers. They are accommodating and fully understand why some employers imposed restriction. Reasons are not because employers are cruel, inhuman or like to control a 'slave' (OMG!). These maids didn't find excuses such as human rights. This is what they posted:

Calusa Narcisa - I know my duty n responsibility as they know also I am not crazy on talking nonsense n don't waste my money to buy top up as I know to save money n they told me I am old enough.

Angel Lucero Navarro - Been working as a domestic helper here in Singapore for almost 10yrs..my own policy is that no phone during working hrs..we came here to work,earn money,save our earnings and not to waste for buying phone cards.there's always time for us to communicate with our love ones back home, not working hours.


Above maids such as Calusa Narcisa and Angel Lucero Navarro, I hope you remain happy here and have a plesant relationship with all your employers. I hope more FDWs like your goodself come to Spore and if possible, I could get such an understanding helper like you to join my household.






*************************
2 Jun - Handphone and internet communication
According to the owner of a maid's Facebook "no human being should stop another human from using it."

A reader wrote this to her: I am a Singaporean employer. My dear I believe in human rights and have been following your page faithfully to know how maids think.
I am not blowing my own trumpet but can say that I am a good employer. I let my maid eat what we eat generously. I don stinge on food. I have told her to hel...
p herself to the biscuits, snacks, etc when hungry. I provide for her everything including mop and gloves. She uses the washing machine. She's been with us for 4 months now. A Filipino. I was glad i found her! My kids love her to bits. I believed I was the lucky one to get a good helper. But today my trust was broken.

You see in the contract it says she can only use her handphone on weekends. Mon to fri no hp. Fri night to Sunday night she can have her Hp. This is only for 6 months. After 6 months she will keep her phone with her. I was so good to her and even bought her a singtel SIM card to use. But today I caught her using another phone with starhub SIM card. She was messaging secretly. Then she hid the phone in her pants. To be more accurate at her groin area. She didn't know I was looking. She thought I am sleeping.

I am so disappointed my dear. She is taking care of my infant baby who is only 4 mths old. Won't the Hp messaging distract her? Other than this I don have any other issues with her. I am happy with her performance. I am happy with the way she handles my kids and house. She cooks very well. And at times she shares with me so many things. When we go out we don look like employer and maid. We look like friends! I will chat with her just like my friend. Then why this secrecy in phone usage? I don't understand. I have even told her she can tell me if she needs her phone urgently. I can pass it to her. I am not so strict you know. In fact today I bought for her slippers to wear at home as old ones were so worn out. I take care of her so well and didn't expect this from her. I am so sad. Can you pls explain to me from a maid's point of view? I will feel much better.

FB Maid's view:
handphone is so important, it has become human right. sometimes contract is unfair, it encourage or force people to break the contract. Instead of contract you should view things from reasonable, human point of view.

Without handphone we maids are disconnected from the world, and become depressed and destroyed.

Don't take things from just the written word. The most important thing in the world is how the heart should view things. Revisit your heart again, feel the power of the heart, and rethink. The secrecy is because of the stupid contract which say `only use phone during weekends'. Most of the time using the phone is not urgent, it is a social need, the need to be connected.

Please understand, sometimes, when the agreement is unfair or stupid or misinformed or wrong, the contract must be changed, or both parties will suffer as you are suffering now. Actually you will stop suffering once you accept that some change must be done to a contract which is not realistic, not fair.

This is now a connected world, everybody is connected. You should also think of giving wifi to your maid. Even without wifi they will use data card or steal wifi from neighbour. giving wifi to your maid is a sensible thing if she request it, and it will only result in better trust, and an easier relationship without lies and hiding.

Finally I want to say again - internet, phone communication today, is a human need, it should be a human right - meaning, if they can afford, they should be allow to use - no human should prevent another from handphone or internet communication.
 

Winter:  Nobody keen to know Employers have lost all human rights.  To them, we are not human beings who deserve similiar respect or get a trustworthy person who should carry out her job as per contract/interview.  The way MOM/activists have shown us is that liars are welcomed in Spore to give employers headaches.  Nobody should blame maids for telling white lies (cheat) in order to get a juicy job.  A standard employment contract is used by Spore maid agencies, recommended by AEAS and CASE.  If maid wants to work in Spore, she is suppose to honour it.  If FDWs knew what are the terms yet chose to fly over and cheat us, they are in the wrong but nobody taking action on them.

We are not made of flesh and blood, will be hurt because MOM/activists/FDWs viewed Employers (won't feel pain) as conveniently located ATM machines to pay for all the damages/problems FDWs purposely created.  Maids looked very lowly paid, cannot make them pay for their problems, people felt cruelty can be channelled to employers because we earn more than FDWs but maybe just earning only 20-40% compared to a highly paid PAP minister's salary (Eg MP draws $10,000/month, the low to middle income salaried employee only earns about $2000/month).  Whatever lies she told or problems maids gave, we caused them to turn bad, eg above.  We failed to give FDWs plenty of chances to learn to be an appreciative person, at our expense.  Pathetic employers! 


*************************
24 Mar
JA, my current and final filipino FDW has been pestering me to let her use her mobile during the day.  I decided I can't be too soft so reminded her during interviews, I have indicated very clearly, my initial requirement was for my FDW to use her mobile during weekly off days but I gave in to her, that is allowing her to use in the night, after finishing her chores.  I have stressed that she has to consider my employment and whether she can fully accept personal mobile is not a 24/7 benefit in my house.  I have made a strong stand to both the agent at Far East Plaza and JA that I am unwilling to take risk by allowing FDW to use mobile during the day.  There's no excuse to say being forced to work in my house or didn't hear properly!  Transfer maids have a choice! Shouldn't act pitiful and lie to others she wasn't informed of any harsh rules before employment or forced to accept a job. 

To avoid frickle minded or dishonest FDW (avoid landing in the same plight as me), I suggest FDW's employer to get FDW write in the contract and ask her sign before you make full payment to the agency .... if 24/7 mobile or off day may be a future problem 导火线.  Make the agent be eye witness.  It is better to be 先小人后君子, 防患於未然,省麻烦!FDWs nowadays tend to be not trustworthy or honest, don't understand why they prefer to be a person with no dignity 毫无人格,不觉得羞耻.  They learn tactics to manage employers instead of standing firm from bad influence and deliver what they promised you before employment.  耳跟软,轻易被人唆使 / 影响或本性就是坏. 

Employers can choose to play angels,  believe FDWs, trust they know how to control their mobile phone usage, I didn't say you cannot give FDW the benefit of doubt or leeway, she's your FDW, not mine!  My experience with my current filipino transfer maid proved that giving in to her request is opening my gate to problems.  She doesn't appreciate I am trying to be an accommodating and understanding boss.

JA said she promised she will not use her mobile unless emergency.  If she didn't turn on mobile ring or touch her phone all the time, how would she know when is urgent?  JA can use her mobile every evening so what kind of life and death situation could there be?   Her 'friend' met with an accident so she need to dash over to help?  Her family in Philippines need her advice so she must call them instantly?   Example, her 17 years old son got drunk again so she must give him a motherly concern or lecture?

According to agency, JA could only start taking weekly off day after finishing one week with me so her first no-off Sunday, I purposely left her mobile on the desk and I could see her smsing and making calls.  Confirm, she can't keep her hands off her mobile.  Trust is by seeing with your own eyes!

JA promised she will not be a heavy phone user if I allow her to use her mobile during the day... first few days with me proved that I can't give her the benefit of doubt.  My wake up call to her was I said, by pestering me to use mobile during the day instead of every evening after finishing her chores, she has already broken her promise and that was only Day 1 of the employment!

Full trust is not to be given blindly, it must be earned through months of observation.  By trusting somebody too freely, especially FDW, a person who has access to your personal life, handling your precious ones, living under the same roof .... you really need to open your eyes big enough to see and ears open wide to hear.  Don't be naive to believe 人性本善.  You may need to pay a high price to learn a painful lesson.  Play safe than be sorry. We are the ones paying, not FDWs, they won't feel the pinch!

Nowadays, it is not easy to get a FDW who will agree to no mobile phone unless you are hiring a fresh maid who is compensated with no off days, totally in your sight, no chance to interact with others ie 95% won't turn bad then I agree there are FDWs who can live in Spore without a mobile phone and won't turn bad or affect her job performance.  All my FDWs are outdoor persons, have to take my girl to school via mrt so there's no way I can keep any FDW employed in my name to be unpolluted.   To be good or bad FDW, she decides, not me.  I can advise JA but she choose whether those are nags and not benefiting her.

I wish I can clone another of me so I need not hire FDWs.  Still a mother to my girl and giving her unconditioned love and care.  One to stay home and another 'me' to work.


*************************
27 Feb
Today is my bad day.  I was shot by an experienced FDW and an activist.
This FDW put up an ad so I thought of sounding her whether she's keen to help me look after my girl.  She sms me "no thanks but Im not interested to work with a person like you.. we r FDW, we r human being too same as you, we know our rights and responsibilities as Fdw."

The activist who saw my ad email me this:
FDW can use personal cellphone on weekly off days IF THERE IS NO LOAN. (quote from Winter's ad)

Restricting access to communications to an adult is a breach of the Deceleration of Human Rights. I appreciate that during working hours handphone use can be restricted but after or before work in their own personal time restricting access to communications for a DW runs contrary to their rights."

My reply:
"There are Spore companies that restrict the use of mobile phones.  This is part of the company's code of conduct.  If any employee who disagrees, he or she should not join that company and then start screaming about human rights. 

I was clear right from the start about my Code of Conduct/house rules (that is company's policies) so choice is FDW's, am I right?  No FDW was forced to join my house nor told about such Code of Conduct after joining.

BTW, MOM did not issue any guidelines about FDW's scope of work nor human rights issues.  All employment terms are supposed to be discussed, agreed and arranged between agency/FDW and employer.  If I missed out any update from MOM, maybe you can provide links.
All my FDWs are not restricted to communicate with friends, no phone but still able to meet/chat with many other human beings - FDWs, men, on a DAILY basis due to her job scope."


*************************
Nov 2012 
My colleague asked me how was I, I told her I just changed a FDW and now training my new FDW who is trying to drive my blood pressure up. 

She was kind of shocked when I said one of my requirements is that my FDW must not use her personal mobile on working days.  She can only use personal mobile phone on off days or when there's a need, with prior permission.

Colleague: you shouldn't stop your maid from using her mobile phone.  She should have a phone to talk to her friends and family.  She would prefer to keep in close contact with them.
Me:            I have to stick to this requirement to ensure my helper focuses on my girl.  By having a mobile phone, she'll be distracted.  This is my requirement, I don't want to put my girl at risk, thus, not many transfer maids want to be interviewed by me when I did a walk-in to the maid hubs.
Colleague: You can let her use the phone in the night, after working hours.
Me:            My previous helper  could rest around 9 pm but she is a slow worker.  At 10 pm which is already very late, current helper is still dilly-dally, don't know why she need so much time to do certain tasks. If she spend time on her phone, eg Facebook or overseas call, she won't have enough rest if she gets hooked or chats too long.
Colleague: Not having enough rest is her problem, she should be old enough to know.  This is not a good reason to stop maid from having her phone.  This is about human rights.
Me:           Ya, I know so I made it very clear to the agency.  Don't force anybody to work in my house, the ideal helper must be willing to accept my terms.  Anyway, when my helper goes to special school with my girl, she'll have plenty of friends.  Also, there are many other maids in my neighbourhood waiting to befriend her.    
Colleague: she would prefer her own circle of friends
In my mind, M is a transfer maid, hasn't purchased a mobile phone.  Her condo ex-employer didn't give her off days.  Since she's considered fresh, her family and usual circle of friends are in Indonesia.  Is she going to spend lots of money making IDD calls or hook on Facebook via mobile plan?
Me:            ........

Another lunch colleague heard our conversation.
Colleague B:  I thought your maid is confined at home.  If she can mix with other people, then no mobile phone should be ok.
Me:                my helper takes mrt to special school on weekdays.  There's no lack of friends or companionship.
Colleague B:  Is your maid required to stay in class?
Me:                told her to stay in class to learn when school reopens but if she wants to walk out to chit-chat, I can't control because I'm not there to supervise.  I gave instruction to my helper to watch my girl, ensure she's safe and not alone, especially when outside.
Colleague:     Do you call your family when at work?
I hardly ring my husband, home or friends when I'm working.  I don't want my colleagues or bosses to hear and see me having personal calls.  I'll sms when necessary.  That's why my basic mobile phone plan is often under-untilised. 
Me:               I don't have the habit of making personal calls.
Suddenly realised maybe I should do more phone calling.  Sounds weird that I don't make frequent phone calls.


Comparing my friends and siblings, I'm the only person who is afraid and can't afford to take risks.  Their children can complain but mine can't.

They are stay-home mums or have in laws to supervise FDWs.  I don't.  My FDW is all alone with my girl.  Having a mobile phone 24/7 would mean my girl will not be her main attention.

Their FDWs have no off day but I allowed mine to have after completion of maid loan.  She's welcome to stay out of my sight during off days.  Take off day means she'll have lesser salary.

Their FDWs have no chance to go out everyday but mine can.  My FDW has to take my girl to school on weekdays independantly.

One of my friend's Indonesian FDW, worked about one year plus, spent almost S$1500 on her mobile phone on one particular month.  She was transferred out.  As an employer, she's worried about her real intention to work.  How is she going to pay her bills with a miserable salary of only S$400 per month?  Will she borrow from loanshark-FDW?  Will she steal to pay her bills or loans?  Will she sleep with men to earn when employers are not at home?  Why she need to spend so much time on her mobile, is it she's too free or too rich?  No point asking because FDW will not tell the truth.

Another friend who had a Myanmar FDW, just renewed her contract, has a mobile 24/7 and no off day.  Every weekend, that FDW has official errand to run for her employer.  While running errand, she could squeeze time to meet her boyfriend and ended up pregnant.  Her employer doesn't monitor the time she took to run errand.  This FDW is well liked, trusted by her employer and family.

My stubborn ex-maid V found time to meet boyfriends while bringing my girl to playground, school or visit market alone.   V can request to use her mobile on weekends, for around 30mins. I knew she used public pay phone to call while taking my girl out or borrowed other FDWs phone when in school.  I knew but kept quiet.

V was a married woman with one child.  Other neighbourhood FDWs and neighbours saw her hanging with men together with my girl!!  I knew all these after V left.  That was my first FDW, no off day.  Imagine with mandatory off days in 2013, what kind of open activities will FDWs be engaged in?  Singapore is a tempting place, many fascinating things and MOM treats the FDWs much better then their employers.  FDWs will not be held responsible for any irresponsible or non-life threatening actions.  Singapore is really a safe haven for errant maids.  There's no policy to protect employers' money and interest when a bad maid is hired.

Something should be done to make FDWs be responsible for their own actions so that employers are more willing to give off days, 24/7 mobile usage, high salary .....