24 Mar 2018

Maid with personal mobile phone

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Special Needs.2
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Maids (FDW) in Singapore
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Winter: Mobile has become an important part of FDW's life.  Last time, they claimed they need a mobile phone to be constantly in touch with family.... missed them a lot!  When you agreed because they are so pitiful, flew all the way alone and working in Spore, most employers would give in.  Then you realised your FDW has lots of new friends, male and female.  She would drop her cleanliness standard, "forget" the tasks you've assigned or reminded, find time to reply messages and/or browsing websites, eg Facebook posting pictures of herself, you and family without your permission.  Now you walk into a maid agency telling the agent or FDW that she can only use her phone after dinner, how many would gladly agree to work for you? Some would lie to get a job, cheating, abusing your trust is nothing, not a crime in their eyes!  Who cares about honesty, getting what they want is more important. Nobody would penalise FDWs or agencies for lying.  The persons paying most are the employers.  FDWs have activists and MOM, who do we have to fight for us?

Two years ago, mum-in-law fell and was hospitalised.  Being working adults, the siblings pooled in to employ a FDW to take care of her.  Nobody has time to stay with the old folks and keep them company on a daily basis so a FDW was recruited when MIL was discharged.  MIL hated a stranger at home.  She deliberately treated FDW as transparent, stopped her from doing any housework and openly told FDW not to touch her (help MIL get up from bed or walk).  She purposely made the FDW sat at one corner, isolated her!  That poor maid has a phone but chose not to use to kill time.  That situation dragged till maid loan was completed and we had give in to MIL's wish, let the FDW go (we absorbed her transfer fee).  Parents-in-law are hospitalised every year and the bills could cost up to $20-40K per person per stay.  The costs were really too huge for any middle income to bear, we were like dumping good money on private medical, thus, the siblings requested to send the old folks to subsidised hospitals and nearby polyclinic. 

Last year, MIL was hospitalised again!  Our worries came back.  We needed a "guardian" .... an eye in the house in case of accidents so a new FDW was employed.  This time, the FDW worked for one year, spending 90% of her time on mobile phone.  House was installed with internet for her sake.  Housework, as usual was mostly forbidden.  Cooking wasn't allowed.  MIL rather made father-in-law do chores for her.  MIL purposely made FDW an eye-sore 闲人 hoping her children could sack the maid, deliberately ignored our worries to leave the two medically unfit old folks home alone.  

MIL is like a child wanting lots of attention and quite unreasonable.  Despite all the reasoning and getting other elderly relatives to talk to her, MIL is still trying her best to show us a FDW is unnecessary, FIL is enough!  There was once, one of them was admitted for around 3 weeks and the day of discharge, the other was admitted for 2 weeks in the evening, just a few hours apart.  MIL was afraid to be alone (timid) in the house so somebody has to go over to stay with her when FIL was hospitalised.  FIL is old, how to take care of MIL when FIL himself isn't well and strong (no longer young and a bit senile)?  The other time when MIL fell in the toilet, FIL didn't had strength to help her up.  They waited for ambulance and medics to come.

MIL has been complaining FDW hiding in air-con room the whole day.  Sometimes, said she would leave the house without her permission.  But FDW said no.... sigh! 

Sep 2017 (extracted from Forum)
i sent my previous Myanmar Maid Swe Swe Htike home due to hp usage!

She was with me for 1 year 9 months. I was dumb enough to give her wifi access cause she is my first helper, thinking that she can contact her family, so we have a happy maid and happy life. I was Sooooo Wrong.

the rule given was that she can use after her chores and night. but she took me for granted. use in the day, hide in toilet.  :imconstipated: Thinking that I will keep her until her 2 year contract, her attitude got worse, yawn in the day, yawn in the car.
Eventually, I started a curfew, wifi only from 8 to 11pm. after that use her own prepay. (can set wifi access timing on router if your maid used until late night.).

Of course she is not very happy, hence often give me black face. Therefore, decided to give her a big surprise by buying her a one way ticket.

I'm surprised you're so generous to open wifi for her usage. One pino came to join my family but complained she don't hv wifi whereas her previous eyer let her. I told her she can pack & go back to her previous eyer.

I don't pamper helpers with wifi coz their primary job is to clean, cook & care for family. With wifi access & surely use to max as they don't hv such expensive privilege (of their own means). So when u're not within sight, will capitalize.

Granted, they'll feel homesick or lonely. What I've been doing is find courses for them to look fwd to learn & it helps keep them fr idleness or homesickness to some extent. The other is I chat with them & can gauge when they're worried abt matters at home or what they do out on off-days with friends. Maintain a healthy re'ship with helper. On supermkt days in her early empymt with me, I helped her spot for veg seeds & she sent them home to her parents who are farmers.

So far, my helper had been enjoying English lessons, variety of Chinese, Peranakan, Indian and western cooking classes. She learnt hair cutting at Toa Payoh CC & had done hair cuts for her cousins. I taught her how to bake & craft fondant decorative cakes. Keeping them occupied helps them to map out purposefully what they can do for their future. They tend to be more diligent in doing their job & meeting expectations s'times more. By own initiative. She'll help me watch over habits of my kids. When I return home with my bags, she'll quickly offload fr me coz she knows I've very bad back problems.

One previous Mynmar helper used to stay up till 2-3am after chatting with frds, just to listen to Justin Berbier over & over. I had to bring her back to focus, coz she was breaking crockeries! She was strong-willed & wants to pay for broken stuff but I told her it's abt focus on her job. If she don't get enuf rest things can happen at home or on the way when she fetches kids fr school. I arranged for 9-11pm usage of phone after which she is to return for safekeeping.

Be very firm but humanely nice. Recently I'm encouraging my helper to study for O levels. She was very keen & can tell she's more focus and I'm sure she'll not be distracted with worldly temptations as she offered her off-day in exchange for her nite classes.

Guess, every family hv own schedule. So try work out sth that interest them w/o going overboard. The problem is peering fr whose lenses - wifi may not be big deal but it's costly for helper's. We must not hv misplaced generosity coz it may feed into greed & entitlement mentality. JMHO.

We highlighted to our helper not to take pictures of our house or family members using her phone and post them online. Our helper has not requested for free access to the Internet yet and we don't think she has broken the rules. However, it will be difficult for you to monitor your helper's social media usage as she's been used to having free access. Have you spoken to her about the issue? She may not be aware of the dangers of posting such information online. You can share some stories with her to educate her about how to use social media safely. As a last resort, you may want to report the photos and posts with information about your family. She will then be requested to remove them.

Apr 2016
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 lurch to sort things out without sufficient notice if some major accidents took place?  Maid can go home immediately if she managed to get and willing to pay for an expensive one way ticket... go home by this method means she has no home leave document to come back and work.  If FDW forces employer (act like hooligan) to repatriate her, what can employer do? MOM isn't going to side employers, 哑巴吃黄连的份 你倒霉!  Having a good and fair agent to mediate will make you feel better. 

JA was mad at me for keeping her phone 无妄之灾 and put 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, unsympathetic 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 to meet, do you?  How much are you willing to compromise to show you really need a job and has no intention to cheat or take a FDW style holiday at employer's expense?

There was one weekday I was home early. JA went into my room without permission and took her mobile phone before 4pm.  I sarcastically said "so early take your phone".  JA didn't feel bad entering my room to get her phone, felt I deserve to be treated transparent or she has the rights to climb on my head ... such an act to show she has equal rights/access to my room?  Some FDWs are not showing employers enough respect!

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 FDW 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.  There's no way they can employ a domestic helper, even though they are earning much more than most Sporeans (different pay scale). Their mentality is like, visit Spore, one of the attractions/must do thing is to visit Sentosa, eat chicken rice, etc.  Same theory in the eyes of foreigners working in Spore.  They don't care we are not earning more than them nor can they remember that they can stretch their hands for free money, whereas Sporeans have no free money, any financial & welfare support has to go thru means testing .... lots of inflexible rules and regulations to adhere.  Also, in the western country eg UK, govt gives special needs caregivers some 'time to relax time' (can apply for a short break from caring for a disabled child, known as respite care) and the welfare are much better than Spore.... more human touch and caring.  In Spore, no matter how many emails I've sent to MPs and PM Lee, there's no special needs daycare centre near my area.  There's only one centre in Spore that suits my girl with multiple disabilities .... AWWA student care centre takes in AWWA students.  To be a student, I have to move house because there's no school bus to my area .... makes sense?

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 "a luxury item" to boast to 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



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%。”


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.

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

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 .....


  1. Hi, I can empathize with your frustration. I have a handicapped sibling who requires constant attention and my current maid's contract will soon expire meaning I am facing similar challenges of paying more and juggling my time when my maid goes on leave. As I posted in your other tread, if only our government would care and explore more options before they introduce all these new rules.
    Ever since my domestic helper had a mobile phone (I tried to appease her bec she got no offdays), she begins to spend a lot of time talking to friends and family and slacks in her chores. Her behaviour changed and she demands more, gets bolder and talks back for mistakes she committed when I lectured her. And she boycotts housework when she doesn't feel good. She starts telling me she has her "human rights" and can do what she wants... short of having an off day. Just imagine, even people like my FDW behaves like she's got strong support from behind.. that's why there is a cantonese saying "手指凹出不凹进" - sounds so true when describes how our local authorities favour the outsiders rather than our own citizens... They are ever ready when come to building bilateral relationships with other countries yet our own citizens' interest are the least of their priority. If they can't see our problem and help us resolve them, then how do they expect the citizens to support them in return!?

  2. Yes, if our government would care and explore more options before they introduce all these new rules.

    I just sent a frustrating email to MOM and to that unhelpful MOM minister. Let's see what good option they can offer to a stranded employer, faced with FDW of poor working attitude and unwilling to learn. Also, too lazy, calculative and finding ways to do lesser work.

    I'm thinking of trying fresh maid because these days, transfer maids are really bad choices. Those that I've interviewed have higher demands and weekly off day is one reason, get tied to mobile, cannot be separated.

  3. I have always, always been against maids with handphones and my husband knows that more than anyone. That is why, when my maid came to me and asked if she could own a handphone, I was dumbstruck. This was not part of the agreement.

    When maids mingle, it is only natural for them to start talking, and one starts to point out, hey, why don't you ask your employer to get you a handphone? It is much convenient you see, you get to hang on the phone like a monkey all day, all night!

    I might have read and listened too much, but most of the cases involving maids nowadays happened because of the damn handphone. I am not saying that handphone is the only cause for things to happen, but having a handphone makes things easier to happen. She may start making contacts and gather her network, she may call a stranger and invite him into the house, she may start hanging around the phone and neglecting her work (or worse, neglecting the baby while busy hanging on the phone).

    I can't see the rationale why they, especially my maid, need a phone when I have specifically told her to use the house phone at anytime that she wants! After reading this blog, it made me even more reluctant.

  4. To Hell with human rights. If FDW is demanding human rights at their every whims then pls stay in Philipines. U can enjoy yr human rights there. If we get scolded by our employer for mistakes or told off for making too many personal calls, do we Singaporeans say we need Human Rights to our employers. NO.. We don't cos we will most probably get fired. Using hand phone has nothing to do with human rights. Some childcare centres also discourage their staff frm using HP when working. Is this infringing on their human rights. People with the right mentality will not feel do. I fail to comprehend why HP is so important to maids. FDWs u are here to work, earn a living. If HP is more impt than doing work which u are being paid to do, then pls KEEP yr HP and stay in yr country.

  5. I treated my maid as a daughter for 3 years. Allowed her to go out wth friends once in a while. Allowed handphone. Later discovered her posting cheap pics of herself online. Printed and confronted her. Counselled her that she is endangering herself esp keepin her FB profile as "Public". Guys from all over the world writing obscene comments which she loves. She has a 6y son, no husband. I told her to post her pic decently in marriage single sites find a decent guy..tell us when she finds him and goes - not market herself free exposure online. After alot of counselling, tears etc she agreed. I told her - better you use your phone in evening and night and early morning. Not when handling my 3 y old who may fall in the bus or park while she is too busy on the phone. It will help wean from these bad habits. Told her that I could kick her out or forgive her. She wailed for forgiveness and she agreed. Today I went to pick up my son (since I got free time) and saw her there busy on a brand new hp. What is the need ? When she is allowed this in eve, night and morn. I want to kick her out. Why do we working moms need to be so dependent on these ppl?
    So fed up.

    1. Even if some people think that maids are humans and they have a right to use handphones till late at night, it is still a fact that when they fall sick due to insufficient sleep or attention focus lacking or suffered due to insufficient sleep as a result of too much handphone talking, its is WE the employers who have to bear the consequences, sometimes even have to pay with serious tragedies eg if something happens to our loved ones under the maid's.

  6. Singapore has become a easy target for foreign labour to exploit the local populace. These FDWs don't understand the concept of disciplined hard work. Most only want the easy way out for everything in life!! Here as FDW they don't need much skills or qualifications, earn more than a primary school teacher in their homeland, being away from home, on their off days they often cast their cares and indulge in throwaway relationships. Of course I have heard of great FDWs, responsible, hardworking and saves up for their own future but are few and far in between. Such fdws exhibit good behaviour inside and outside their employer homes.

    Who are we to care how they spend their time and money, BUT to me as an employer I demand results from their work, be it in proper caring for my kids, doing a proper cleaning job, or washing hands before preparing food. Their unregulated use of HP for activities not related to their present task is a danger and hazard to everyone in the house whom they r working for. period.

  7. As an ex singaporean helper im totally driven to work properly and never take for granted the freedom that my employer gave me,, i valued everything that my employer provide me, using phone during working time is depend on my caller and the responsibilty that ive been doing on the time, its all about initiative. If Im cooking i can bee multi tasking of cutting vege, frying food or cooking rice, but no phone,, its a big responsibility when you are in front of fire, especially u have kids to look after its more responsibility to shoulder on. The only thing i can say is we have know to be smart and sweet. We have to use it in a proper eay and initiative. :-)

    1. Good to have a maid with initiative and responsibility. Wish I can find somebody like you if I decide to kick my current FDW out.
      I don't have luck.

    2. I got a transfer maid from the Sincere Maid Agency. She worked for us for only 9 months. At first she was able to perform her job. However after one month, She was addicted to her hp and locked herself in the toilet and used the hp for almost 2 hrs each time in the morning and in the afternoon and let my kids watch TV at the living room. She threatened my kids not to inform us too. When we found out ourselves, we kept her hp in day time and let her use when we were back from offices. It only worked for only 1 month. Then she bought a 2nd hp and 3rd hp without letting us know during her day off. When we just were back from oversea in Dec 2017, she refused to hand over her hp to us during daytime and requested to talk to her agent. When we managed to let her talk to the agent, she immediately packed her belongings and wanted to leave our home. And the agent Hwee told me that what's wrong with it if the maid got 10 mobile phones if she got money to buy. And he brought the maid to MOM to file a complain. Luckily MOM is very fair. MOM asked us to buy the ticket to let the the maid go back to her country. We are still very unhappy with the sincere maid agency service and MOM asked us to file a complain to relevant department. However they required us to go there a few times. Due to our busy working hours and two kids to take care, thus we still haven't filed any complain. We shared our story here to warn you before you steeping into sincere maid agency. The agent Hwee is very impolite to the customers. When we lodged the maid with the agent during our oversea trip for 10 days, I heard from the maid that they were very "close" to each other. I got no proof of it but I believed it too. Ask yourself. Who will brings a maid to MOM to file an complain when the owners just need to control the maid overused her hp during her working time.

  8. Just to share my recent experience with my new helper after my former helper of 5 years went back in June this year:

    1) This new helper supposedly ex-Saudia, agreed during face-to-face interview on no off-day (with compensation) but I agreed with she keeping her handphone. Big mistake!!!

    2) During 1st month already requested for "few hours off" every Sunday for "classes". I flatly reminded her on her contract terms

    3) After having her 1st month salary, every week spent average $30 on pre-paid card. According to my mum and girl, she uses handphone non-stop during the day when I was not at home, even though it was agreed upon that she should only use at night after all work has finished

    4) End of 4th month, asked me for 2 off days a month, or else she wanted to transfer. Requested to go out twice for a few hours to celeberate her "cousins'" birthday

    5) Throughout her less than 6 months with us, never bother to wake up at least 10 times in the morning to help get ready my girl for school. She slept at 9am and can't even woke up at 6am!!

    This is despite there are only 4 people at my house. She only does housework and some light cooking. My 10-year old does not need anything from her. She has her own room and always just sit inside her room and using handphone non-stop.

    *Sigh* Guess it's the new generation of helpers nowadays !!

  9. Attended an event last weekend. We were sharing our woes as well as coping life with a special needs child by employing a live-in stranger. One of the 'gang member', she is an experienced educator and the owner of a private kindergarten said it was hard to find a good maid. Now with mandatory off days and usage of mobile phone at the wish of FDWs is causing maids to pay lesser attention to their day job.

    FDWs are suppose to help us lighten our loads - carrying out their duties as per interview which is of top priority but with Halimah's goodwill to maids, mandatory off days (include usage of mobile phone = be treated like a human) had become our traps... a hinder for FDWs to perform well. Seeking fun and boyfriends looked more important. FDWs look at what they can get from their employers, not how much they can contribute and then be rewarded duly for their efforts.

    We fear FDWs get distracted when they use mobile phones too freely but to maids and activists, they felt their personal pleasure are much more important then our children's safety or keeping our homes safe. If job or employer didn't meet their needs, maids are encouraged to job hop, regardless what maid had agreed to undertake during interviews. In simple form, a LIAR (FDW) is given a chance to cheat or as many times as she wants, without any obligations or penalty, as long as she can pay the agency fee for transfer, usually 1 to 2 months of her salary ie is S$500 to $1200 per transfer.

    I respected my FDWs, allowed them to make their own decision and always stand on the side of honesty. I typed out the job requirements and job scope (3 pages), maid agreed but played me out or turned the tables. Fair? Did Ministry of Manpower or Halimah think of people in my shoes?

    Some people advised me to count my tiny blessings or happiness, how to? When my disappointment and feeling of unfairness have been biting me almost daily? These will not improve as long as govt continues to pay little concern to parents of special needs person who had to employ FDWs.

  10. I think we shd not employ maid. My maid said she is unhappy abt me saying her laying on bed using hp when I m not around. Caught by me of my sudden return. She said she had headache but still can use hp n shake leg. Doesn't seems to have headache.

  11. Last time I quite strict about HP usage...these days I slackened already cos she already been with me for 4 years so I trust her...as long as she don't use while doing her work concurrently, I'm ok. But seems like the more leniency I give her, the more she wants...sigh....

    I have friends who ban their maids from using hp in the day...somehow, that has managed to 'control' the maids from 'turning bad' so fast.... maids tell you they are human so how to micromanage? Maids are not slaves, they have total freedom so it is hard to get them follow the house rules from day 1 till last day.

    When maids are all time on phone, so engrossed in updating their FB cover photo, profile photo, checking their likes n comments. How will they concentrate and take care of kids well?

    Honestly nowadays getting a maid is so expensive. Finding a good one is simply not easy. To avoid losing money and time, closing one eye. If her behavior and attitude gets worse, no choice but to terminate her. Not that I enjoy firing ppl but maid has to know the limits.

  12. WHY cannot give maid handphones?

    If you are maid read this -
    (1) You have NO discipline - you cannot control yourself and want to use the phone ALL THE TIME.
    (2) Instead of doing work - YOU hide in the toilet and use your phone. You hide so many times and for so long. We employ you to do housework and NOT to use your phone. PLEASE wake up.
    (3) You go outside the house everyday and use the phone for HOURS! You hide at staircase. You hide alon gthe corridor. You IGNORE the baby crying at home.
    (4) You are busy with taking your own photographs and posting rubbish comments on facebook every HOUR instead of doing your chores.
    (5) You download movies and watched to till 4 am and said you do not have enough sleep when you went to bed since 8pm!!!! And you get very cranky and cannot concentrate on taking care of baby.

    How can you let you have handphone???? Because you have no discipline. That's WHy. Do you get it????

  13. Don't talk rubbish about human rights. What about us working mothers?

    We worked so hard in office and saw maid playing crush with mobile at home. Housework not done and toddler playing on her own unsupervised? Maid behaved like some rebellious teenagers and they need to be 'controlled'. The problem is them it's not us. If they are responsible adults, why in the world are we talking about thise mobile usage thingy so frequently? Think about it.

    Indeed, maid are phone addicts. Mobile is a curse to working mothers like me with maid holding handphones.

    I will only take in new maid with no phones. Once they have phone, they are not worth keeping at all. You are only paying for them to use the phones. Might as well save the money, i am not a charity organisation.

    Don't talk bullshit about human rights. Don't give me the bull shit that handphones are necessity. It's NOT you are just giving excuses. You can live without one. Tell me WHY do they need phone 24/7? I have very bad experience with maid once they have mobile. They don't just turn bad. They literally rot away with their phone.

    We should have a rule to ban maid from owning mobile if they seriously want to work here.

  14. my current maid already w me for 19mths, she don't hv any hp. we borrow her our hp but she pay for her own Gado Gado card. i only allow her to use at night after my baby slp. and pass back to me after used. so far she is quite guai type, will obey. and never once said she wanted to keep or buy own hp. I do checks on her secretly too..she told me tt she don't wan to call her family/kids everyday because they will miss her more and she feel sad. so she only call once or twice a week, chat abt 30mins

  15. Whatever we suggest/ comment/ complaint, do you think the government cares?

    1. PAP/MOM certainly doesn't care.
      So my blog aims to gather all FDWs' news scattered everywhere, become a one-stop site and 'washing dirty linen in the public'... the cyberworld. Let the pro-maid, pro-source country and pro-agency people on the top see what kind of muddy place we're in, who caused it but not fixing it.

  16. These people will not understand & care unless they experienced themselves. Will they ever experience? God knows! No matter how hard we try, they call the shots.

  17. I have a filipino maid. Her work was ok so i renewed her but her phone is getting out of control. She is all the time on the phone an's for 2 -3 hrs at a stretch. Night she will be on the phone from 10 till very late at night but sometimes even till 1 am. And her loud giggling and all that is really really annoying me. Also another big problem is that for anything and everything she will ans back. She thinks she is equal to me. Cant question her regarding work, if i ask her to cut back her phone she will shout at me like anything. I am really had more than enough of her. For anything and everything she will shout at me and demand that i transfer her out. I treat her very very nicely. she has 4 meals a day all i ask her to do is reduce the phone. Which she cant do and she will immideatly ans back. What is the MOM rule? Can we refuse to sign the transfer papers. We told her u go back home as we dont want to transfer u. She says lets see if i will go into the immigration or not.

    I think her plan is to just get out of my house and she thinks she will get a good salary.. But for me its like using me. And for what asking her to talk less on the phone.

  18. The whole world, every country; developed, underdeveloped, or developing country including Myanmar is connected, communicated through the currently most handy, portable, accessible and convenient means-a personal hand phone Every one including the maid is desirous of being communicated through a hand phone, her own hand phone, just as every maid’s desire to have a least a off-day to have their own freedom and to communicate and socialize.

    The answer is therefore clear, every maid wants to have a hand phone. This trend is irreversible just as MOM's off day policy which many of us are accepting it now , like it or not, without any choice.

    I remember a few years back when I read a Straits times report that, a few thousand maids in Singapore “run away” every year, many complained that they had been denied communications with family and friends while having to work long hours without off day. As such, as an employer, we have to ensure that our maids have the opportunities and sufficient time to communicate with privacy with their family members and friends to alleviate their loneliness and homesickness. This is good for ensuring and sustaining lasting employer-maid relationship.

    Unfortunately, on the other hand, we have seen many ill-disciplined maids misusing their hand phones day and night at the back of their employers, putting on earpieces listening to music or talking while wheel-chairing elderly crossing the road, indulging in face-booking past midnight resulting in keep yawning and even dosing off the next day. Being the employer, we should be entitled to set house rules on the usage of maid’s personal hand phone such that:

    1) Hand phone could only be used in the night when employer or employer’s adult family member(s) are already back home so that they could help keeping an eye on the young and the olds to ensure their safety;
    2) Occasional usage of hand phone in the day could only be allowed at home or when going out due to emergency or with good reasons and permission from employer such as doing marketing as instructed , fetching children for tuition , taking the young or the olds to clinic or hospital;
    3) If maids are caught misusing hand phone against house rules set above for more than several times ,say after three times , we as the employer should have the right to terminate contract without transferring them to a new employer to protect the safety and wellbeing of our children , elderly persons entrusted to be looked after by the maids.

    This way, I think a win-win and fair solution is achieved in which we could satisfy the communications and socializing needs of the maids while protecting out interests and upholding our authority as an employer.

  19. It seems based on from many who shared in forums/friends who shared with me that once fdw has hp, she will spend more and more time - chatting to dunno who (i mean in the sense of wonderment that there are people with whom they can chat the whole day like no need to work) or going online to find friends.

    If the fdw can control, i don't think the employer will complain nor stop the use. It's only when she can't then there is an issue. Trust has to be earned but unfortunately, FDWs like to demand the trust before they can earn it.

    So easy to say transfer the fdw or send her home. The associated costs ley? The fact that replacement will need time to come in - something which working mums do not have the luxury of having?

    Most employers will just end up hands in the air and live with imperfections unless the actions become too much (like taking employer's money to finance their hp habits...i have heard of at least 3 different employers who experienced just that).

    Employers are now at the mercy of ill-disciplined & irresponsible maids from all nationalities, Filipino, Indonesian, Myanmar...

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

    I'm confused, are the children the nannies are supposed to be caring for dreary objects they need distraction from? They shouldn't work with children if they find it this intolerable. Connect with the child.

    1. Are you here to work or be connected with the world? If you want to use the phone so much, go brush up your English or whatever language and go be an irritating telemarketer......

  21. The handphone is really breaking up the maid's work at home.. I have witnessed 2 cases. Initially without the mobile, the first maid was doing fine. After having her own handphone, she lost sleeps (despite we let her sleep earlier), late at the nursery, goes out during the day (while we were away for work). The bath usually less than 10mins even goes up to 40 mins!! I asked her why, she said she's doing exercise in the bathroom!

    The second maid was fine at first, after having a handphone - not only my electricity bill goes up, the amount of time she goes into her room and switch on the light, or goes to the toilet and stay there for 10mins. And the sleep is getting less at night - looks more tired daily.

    Whosoever suggested this in one maid representative agency ought to keep the mouth shut. Silly suggestion. I hope she has maid with similar experience, and regretted saying it.

  22. Moved comment, this page is more appropriate.

    My name is Jannah and I'm a Republic Polytechnic student doing Mass Communication. I enjoyed reading your posts and hearing your unique views.

    I am currently doing an article for a class project on FDW. The angle is about maids abusing their privilege to use phones/smartphones. Will you be interested in a quick interview? I will attach the questions below for your review.


    1. Have you had maids who owned smartphones?

    2. Did you agree with them owning one or did you catch them using it?

    3. What are your thoughts towards maids owning a smartphone?

    4. Do you think it would serve as a distraction?

    5. Do you have any bad/good experiences with your maid owning a smartphone? (can call for help, etc)

    6. What would your rules be if you were to set some for them?

    Thank you for your time and I look forward to your reply! You may also contact me at jamaluljannah1996@gmail.com

    I really appreciate it. Thank you again.


  23. i really need an opinion recently i dont give too my mature maids especially using amobile due neglecting and unsupervised my 2 children. i recently check the CCTv before i went home. to my surprised she tell my edlest son that he is naughty and the reason why there is no one to take care of him. i am so furious that i call up and ask my son what did told him? at first my son said uhm.. nothing. then i ask him again dont woory its okay i will protect you. so mmy son told me the truth about she said she want to go home (kampung) she cannot tahan. so i ask my eldest to pass the phone to her. i ask her she only claim my children to stop playing the sofa bed. that all. she never admit.. until now... but i really did saw on the cctv. si told the agency i want a replacement after this 2 mths probation i will tender 1 month notice to her.


This blog is not meant for screw-lose activists or loans. My blog aims to gather all FDWs' news scattered everywhere, become a one-stop site for mentally & financially bullied FDWs' employer to beware and learn. Don't pollute this blog with your pro-maid, insensible and selfish comments! Activists posting here are BLIND IDIOTS, IRRITATING freaks and deliberately showing no RESPECT for others... robbing our only breathing space.