Employers not allowed to hold on to domestic helpers’ money from January, TODAY, 7 Oct 2018
Employers will not be allowed to hold on to the paid salaries and other money belonging to their foreign domestic workers from next year. The new Work Permit condition, which will take effect from January 1 next year, will protect both parties from money-related disputes, said the Ministry of Manpower on Sunday (Oct 7).
The ministry received an average of about 600 cases of salary disputes a year, and the majority of these cases are related to disputes over salary safekeeping. Any breach of a Work Permit condition is an offence under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA), and the authorities will act on complaints lodged.
Employers who flout the rules risk being fined up to S$10,000 and/or jailed up to 12 months. "The practice of employers safekeeping the money of foreign domestic workers poses inconveniences and risks to both parties," said the ministry.
Foreign domestic workers who have no direct access to their money will have to approach their employers whenever they need their money, said the MOM. Employers will have to deal with the "inconvenience of tracking the correct amount of money" to be returned to their domestic help. They may not do proper documentation and may face claims lodged by foreign domestic workers "who may not be comfortable to ask for the return of (their) money", said the MOM.
The MOM cited some examples of problems that can arise from safekeeping arrangements, such as disagreement over the amounts kept and an employer having seizures and falling into a coma, leaving the helper unable to obtain her money.
In another case, a worker had accumulated S$11,000 under a safekeeping arrangement with the employer. When she was ready to take back her money, the employer was facing financial difficulty and could only pay in instalments.
Reiterating that it is a legal requirement for employers to pay their domestic help "in full and on time", the MOM recommended that salary payments be done electronically. The ministry said that employers can help their domestic workers apply for a bank account, such as the POSB Payroll Account, during the Work Permit issuance process.
Organisations that help foreign domestic workers, such as the Centre for Domestic Employees and Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home), have previously said employers should not be allowed to keep any money belonging to their employees.
Home, a non-governmental organisation, has called on the Government to make it compulsory for workers to be paid electronically. It has also recommended setting up a statutory fund for workers who are not paid by their employers because of serious financial difficulty or when their employers become insolvent.
Of the 872 cases involving foreign domestic workers that Home handled from April last year to March this year, nearly 40 per cent (342) involved salary-related issues. The MOM should allow transfers for workers whose complaints of employers holding on to their money are verified, a Home spokesperson added.
Embassies working with MOM to nip problem of underage maids, Straits Times, 27 May 2018
The Myanmar Embassy in Singapore is aware of the problem of its underage nationals coming here to work as maids. Its spokesman, following queries from The Sunday Times, said it is working closely with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to resolve the issue. But it was mum about what measures Myanmar has in place to address the problem of rogue recruiters who deceive underage maids to work in Singapore.
Some other embassies, when contacted, said extra measures have been put in place to ensure the underage do not come here. Mr Jayabo Wijayasundara, head of the labour section at the Sri Lanka High Commission, said his country conducts background checks to ensure the authenticity and accuracy of the information in the maids' official documents.
The Indonesian Embassy works with MOM and the Indonesian manpower office to ensure maids who are sent home do not pay any fees to agents when they return, said a spokesman. In the last five years, the Indonesian government has also been improving the country's civil registration system to eliminate the possibility of forging documents, he added.
Non-governmental organisations, however, said there are several hindrances to successfully tackling the underage problem. Chief among them is the financial pressure, especially on first-timers, which prevent them from confessing their true age to MOM.
Some could owe recruiters back home between $2,000 and $3,000, which can amount to around six to eight months of their pay, said Ms Stephanie Chok, a case manager with the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home). "They will want to have a shot at earning money here, especially if they are already in debt."
A spokesman for Chab Dai, a Cambodian non-profit organisation, said it broadcasts the legal requirements for working abroad, such as by going on radio shows.
But many underage maids are tricked into not going to the Cambodian police, so many cases go unreported, he added. "The desire to support the family and an easy solution presented by recruitment agents can be very tempting." They may also be deterred by threats when they return home.
"They will have very real reason to believe their recruiters will come after them and their families to obtain any money they still feel they are entitled to," said Mr John Gee, head of research at Transient Workers Count Too.
Ms Chok added that Home has encountered cases in which agents lie in wait at airports to harass maids who are sent home for their purported fees. Yanna (not her real name), 32, an Indonesian maid working here, said it is important to educate maids about their rights. She was only 17 when she started work as a maid in Malaysia, although her passport stated she was 25. The minimum legal age for a foreign maid in Malaysia is 21. "It was hard to handle the stress and not all employers are as patient and willing to teach you and help you adapt. Many young maids ended up running away from their employers as they can't adapt."
Put a stop to maids borrowing from moneylenders, Straits Times, 23 May 2018
I have been hearing from friends and colleagues that many foreign domestic workers working in Singapore borrow from moneylenders, both legal and illegal. These maids are charged exorbitant interest rates.
In some cases, the maids are introduced to moneylenders by their friends. They also act as guarantors for those who are borrowing money, in return for a commission. If borrowers fail to pay, the moneylenders harass the guarantors, who in turn pester their friends to pay up.
The moneylenders also send letters of demand to the domestic workers' employers. Some letters are polite and formal, while others can be nasty and threatening.
Maids seem to be able to borrow from many moneylenders at the same time, using their work permit. Some maids even allow their friends to use their work permit to borrow money.
These maids are ignorant and do not fully understand the implications of borrowing from moneylenders, especially illegal ones. The authorities might want to look into this and should prevent moneylenders lending to domestic workers.
Also, I suggest that the Ministry of Manpower allow the employers to keep the work permit, as some of these illegal moneylenders are sending threatening letters to the employers based on the address on the work permit.
Koh Yee Boon
Educate maids on dangers of borrowing from moneylenders, Straits Times, 21 May 2018
The increasing number of reported incidents of foreign domestic workers borrowing from licensed and unlicensed moneylenders has raised concerns among the public, especially with employers.
Although the police have advised foreign domestic workers on the negative consequences of borrowing from unlicensed moneylenders, there is little the authorities can do to discourage them from borrowing from licensed ones.
More recently, photos of queues formed by foreign domestic workers at moneylending outfits have gone viral on social media. The Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (Fast) has also received calls from foreign domestic workers seeking advice regarding moneylending matters. Some of these workers innocently stand as guarantors for their friends. One caller even sought advice on whether she should be her friend's guarantor to borrow from a second moneylender.
We hope the authorities will step up enforcement action to stop moneylenders from encouraging borrowing from multiple lenders. From the feedback that we received, we have found that foreign domestic workers borrow from one another, employers and moneylenders because of financial problems back home.
Those with genuine financial needs should speak to their employers or their employment agencies to seek help instead of borrowing from moneylenders. For those who borrow to support a lifestyle that they cannot afford, we urge them to exercise prudence. They should not spend beyond their means.
Foreign domestic workers who default on payment are likely to drag their employers into the disputes with the moneylenders and their employment is likely to be terminated.
We believe educating foreign domestic workers is important. Fast urges all employment agencies and employers to educate foreign domestic workers on the dangers of borrowing from moneylenders.
Seah Seng Choon
Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training
Migrant workers to get discounts on insurance, remittance with POSB membership scheme, Channel News Asia, 22 Feb 2018
A free membership programme that offers migrant workers discounts and benefits on insurance and remittance was launched on Thursday (Feb 22) by the Migrant Workers’ Centre (MWC) and POSB.
A first of its kind in Singapore, the programme will give migrant workers access to savings as well as services they use on a daily basis through the POSB Jolly app. Such services include remittance and telco services, insurance coverage, travel perks and even an easier access to rent an oBike.
One of the key merchant partners is MoneyGram, which allows remittance to overseas banks and enables migrant workers to send money to predefined beneficiaries, who can collect the remitted amount in their home countries through MoneyGram cash collection points.
MWC and POSB estimate that 200,000 workers could potentially benefit in the first year of the programme. Singapore had 975,800 work permit holders as of June 2017, including 243,000 foreign domestic workers, who are not included in this programme.
A membership programme for helpers is expected in September. The membership programme was announced at a partners’ breakfast on Thursday where NTUC Secretary-General Chan Chun Sing was the Guest-of-Honour.
This membership programme is “a package of products and services that can allow us to reach out to the migrant workers to meet their essential needs, yet at the same time it allows us to be in communication with migrant workers to be of assistance to them,” said Mr Chan.
The programme will be rolled out in two phases, with the first phase targeting newly arrived migrant workers who submit their permit application from April 1.
Once an employer opens a POSB bank account for a new migrant worker, an MWC-POSB ATM and Membership card will be issued. MWC Chairman Yeo Guat Kwang said one of the challenges will be in the second phase of the programme, which targets existing work permit holders with POSB accounts.
Workers can sign up for the MWC-POSB membership once the self-service option is launched in the POSB Jolly app in the fourth quarter of this year. “We will be going to all the touch points including all the dormitories, the recreation centre and the congregating areas to make it easier for them to come to us to do a simple registration to get onto this network,” said Mr Yeo.
DBS Singapore Country Head Sim S Lim said plans are in place to extend this service to foreign domestic workers. “Right now a lot of the domestic workers are paid in cash, so this is another way we can include them,” said Mr Lim. “We make it very simple, and we make the customer's journey as friendly as we can."
Jan 2018 (extracted from Forum)
so far I have tried 2 maids...one from india and the other is from Phillipines. The filipino one is called Leizel Maputol Canete. When I first when to interview her at a reputable agency, she was wearing heavy make up and lots of jewellery and perfume. I got a shock that her profile picture given by the agency was so different from what I saw face to face! She was even wearing a coat !!!! and i came in slippers and bermudas to interview her!
Then she kept talking about how well treated she was by her previous employer. She changed at least 3-4 employers before and the excuse she gave is that they do not like her food so when she was given feedback about it, she did not like it and left. (take note of this ladies, she does not like feedback...then comes the question, why work as a maid ?)
So when she came to my house, I bought her a brand new sofa bed, and a white cupboard from ikea and gave her a room to herself. My chores were simple, cook and clean before I come back at 5 pm from work. After 5 pm till 9 pm i will feed, shower, and put my 3 yr old daughter to sleep. On saturdays she just baby sit my daughter for the evening but i still come back to put my daughter to sleep.
When I gave her the routine, she refused to follow it saying she does work by her own initiative !!!!! (In other words, she is saying dont tell me what to do or how to work). Then during the weekdays when I was not around, she checked my whole house and opened all my cupboards thinking there was no camera around. I also specified to her and wrote in a notebook to her laying down my rules which is do not check my things (except the kitchen). She blatantly ignored it. Then she asked to take my vitamins, telling me she wants to beautify herself. She saw vitamins in my kitchen cabinets and asked if i could give her. Then she drank all my fruit juices in my fridge without asking me permission even though i told her not to. When she mopped the floor, it was so soapy i almost fell. She says she cleaned the house but she usually spends time away from the camera.
Then came her offday, which was a sunday. I told her that at 7.30 am I will wake up to open the gate and she must be ready by then. She said okay. I did not give her any work to do on sat night. She said she understood and the next day when I woke up at 6.45 am, she was already in my toilet ( I told her she can only shower for 20 mins) and she only came out at 7.45 am !!!! all dressed with perfume, jewellery and heavy make up. I got a shock !!! Not only did she acted like she own the house, she acted like I had to wait for her to get ready!!!! Oh my god. When I gave my feedback to her, she got offended and then made a request to be returned to the agency. she cried and acted rudely and gave black face to me everytime I tried talking to her. I never met such a mean maid before. So pls beware my dears. I dont want what happened to me to happen to you. I can put up her photo on this thread to if anyone wants to see. When asked why she wanted to leave, she says cause i dont like her wearing make up in the house and I gave her feedback which she dont like.
Also she drank all my daughter's juice without permission and insisted i buy or make for her more fruit juice. I told her the juice is for my toddler who has very bad constipation problems and need juice to be encouraged to drink. But you know what she said? she said she wants the juice cause it will make her look younger. sighs....now she goes by the name of leizel M.C. and she s not even married though in the agency profile it is stated she is. she is a divorced woman who is only here to manipulate her employers and take advantage of them
NGO disputes report on exploitation of maids, plans to relook survey data, Today, 22 Dec 2017
A non-governmental organisation (NGO) helping migrant workers has said a study published last month, which found six in 10 foreign domestic helpers here to have been exploited, was published without its consent.
Revealing a rift with the lead researcher of the report, titled Bonded To The System, the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME) said on Friday (Dec 22) it would re-analyse the data and provide detailed findings in its report, to be presented early next year. In a statement, HOME said it conceptualised the study in 2014 and engaged Ms Anja Wessels as a volunteer researcher to execute the study on its behalf. Ms Wessels told TODAY she was transparent in her dealings and findings with the NGO and stands by her findings.
The study covered over 700 Indonesian and Filipino domestic workers and relied on the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) trafficking indicators to identify migrant domestic workers who were victims of exploitation, forced labour and human trafficking.
However, both sides disagreed on the manner in which some indicators were interpreted. For instance, according to Ms Wessels, a domestic worker who did not have a 24-hour day off or did not have the keys to her employer’s house was classified as someone who was coerced, said HOME.
Ms Wessels also reported Filipinos being more vulnerable than Indonesians. HOME disagreed with the point “as there are many factors apart from nationality that could result in this finding”. “These concerns were communicated to Ms Wessels as the report was being prepared in its early stages. Due to this disagreement, Ms Wessels left the project in October this year and published the report under Research Across Borders last week without our consent,” said HOME in its statement.
Ms Wessels, who is based in New South Wales in Australia, is director of Research Across Borders, a consultancy. In response, Ms Wessels – who had volunteered with HOME as a researcher since May 2013 — said the NGO was “aware of the proposed publication date”. She had conveyed her intent to publish in writing and verbally “on many occasions”, she added.
“It is very important to note that despite HOME’s concerns, after much pre-release due diligence I remain confident in my right to publish,” she said. Ms Wessels said she welcomes a “professional discourse” with the group on the contentious findings and continues to offer open lines of communication.
The report has adopted the ILO’s framework in measuring the indicators of trafficking of adults for labour exploitation, adapted to the national context, she said. “In the report, you’ll find a detailed description on how each indicator was assessed via so-called sub-indicators. Additionally, we also added in the appendices all information as to how these initial sub-indicators were derived… I encourage all to read the report and form their own opinions,” said Ms Wessels.
Her study found 60 per cent of survey participants to have taken on hazardous work, clocked excessive hours and slept in a storeroom or at a balcony, among other indicators of labour exploitation. They were surveyed between June and September 2015.
“Excessive working days or hours” was the most prevalent form of exploitation, according to the 152-page study, which also surveyed 80 employers.
Earlier this month, the Ministry of Manpower deemed the study “misleading” and that it adopted an “overly simplistic” interpretation of the ILO’s indicators of labour exploitation. For instance, it defined foreign domestic workers’ working hours without taking into consideration the fact that work and personal time, in the context of domestic work, cannot be easily differentiated.
The ministry also said it was “improper” to interprete isolation and confinement to include situations when a helper needs to seek her employers’ permission to leave the house, is not given her own set of keys or is required to return before midnight on her rest day.
Study painted 'misleading picture' of foreign domestic workers' employment here: MOM, Straits Times, 1 Dec 2017
The Manpower Ministry has panned a study by an organisation which claimed that a majority of maids here are exploited by their employers and that more than one in five are victims of forced labour.
In replies to queries, MOM said on Friday (Dec 1) that the study "painted a misleading picture of the employment of foreign domestic workers (FDW) in Singapore", and accused researchers of using an overly simplified interpretation of labour exploitation.
The 151-page survey, conducted by Sydney-based research organisation Research Across Borders, had concluded that labour exploitation in Singapore is "systemically enabled bonded labour", using definitions of exploitation and forced labour by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), a United Nations agency.
The researchers of the study also claimed that they had used a definition of exploitation “tailored to suit the Singapore context”. The study by researchers Anja Wessels, Madeline Ong and Davinia Daniel was published on ResearchGate, a social networking site for academics, on Sunday.
They had surveyed 735 Filipino and Indonesian foreign domestic workers. Most were found at public areas around Paya Lebar MRT station, City Plaza mall, and Lucky Plaza mall.
This data was collected through "semi-structured interviews" conducted in Tagalog and Bahasa Indonesia from June and September 2015, said the study. The data showed that six in 10 FDWs - there are 243,000 in total here - were found to be exploited, while 23 per cent were identified as forced labour victims, said the researchers.
Using an interpretation of ILO's definitions, the study said exploitation refers to a combination of working and living in adverse conditions. Those are subject to penalties by the employer if they did not perform the work, or other forms of coercion, are categorised as forced labour victims by the study.
Another 10 per cent were identified to have been trafficked into their current employment on the basis that they were "deceived or coerced during the recruitment process", the study said.
However, MOM disagreed with the researchers' take on exploitation, saying that the researchers "did not consider the unique nature of domestic work when interpreting the indicators". For example, the study did not consider the fact that work and personal time in the context of a domestic helper cannot be easily differentiated.
It, too, did not consider that employers are responsible for the maids and their family's well-being and safety. Scenarios such as not giving the maid the house keys, needing permission to leave the house or other similar situations should not be considered as "isolation" or "confinement", said MOM.
The ministry added that it has strengthened measures to improve the well-being of FDWs over the years. This year, it increased the minimum sum assured under FDWs’ Personal Accident Insurance from $40,000 to $60,000.
The study’s lead researcher, Miss Wessels, told The Straits Times that while she agreed with MOM that the live-in nature of FDWs here are unique, she argued that this was the “core of the problem” since lines between work and private life are blurred.
The Research Across Borders study also said the inadequate work regulations and legal protection here, as well as the systemic nature of their working conditions of these workers in Singapore, meant that they were vulnerable.
There are also "grossly unequal power relations" between maids and their employers, said the study, adding how FDWs are not covered by the Employment Act, but by the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA) instead.
The researchers also concluded that the debts that FDWs incur in coming to Singapore cause various salary deductions for the FDW and "leave the worker seriously economically disadvantaged with an average salary even below the average in her home country".
To this, MOM said it does not mean that maids are not protected by the law. Said MOM: "Under EFMA, employers are required to ensure prompt payment of salaries, provision of proper food, rest days or compensation in lieu of accommodation, medical care, and safe working conditions for their FDWs. "These are laws and not guidelines. Employers who violate the laws face stiff fines, jail terms, and can be banned from hiring FDWs in future."
Under the Penal Code, employers who commit offences against their FDWs face penalties of 1½ times the usual punishment. MOM also cited its own 2015 survey of 1,000 FDWs, which found that 97 per cent of respondents were satisfied working here and the same percentage indicating that their workload was either just right, or they could handle more.
Said MOM: "We also interview more than 3,000 new FDWs per year after their first few months of working here. More than 95 per cent indicated that their workload was manageable, and did not raise any well-being issues."
The Research Across Borders study also contradicts the experience of other voluntary welfare organisations representing FDWs. In a Facebook post on Friday morning, the Centre for Domestic Employees (CDE) said preliminary findings for a survey it is conducting found that "more than 85 per cent of FDWs feel Singapore to be safe, secure and have confidence working here". About the same number also found the laws here "to be fair and tough enough to deal against abuse", said the post.
CDE's survey is slated to be released next year. FDW Association for Social Support and Training (FAST) executive director William Chew told the Straits Times that he was "really puzzled" at the survey findings as they were inconsistent with his own experience. Mr Chew has been advocating for FDW rights since 2004.
Of the 170 calls FAST receives each month, less than 10 per cent are about workload issues. Around 40 per cent relate to adjustment problems, 20 per cent to contractual and salary issues and the rest are miscellaneous inquiries by maids.
Mr Chew said: "I am frankly at a loss as to what kind of sample this research firm got. It said all the respondents are Filipino and Indonesian, but the fact is that maids from other source countries today like Myanmar were not polled... If the study is not scientific, it is irresponsible to release these results."
Maids not a privilege for many, ST Forum, 20 Jul 2017
Many of us who employ domestic helpers do so out of necessity and not because we think it a privilege.
So, Mr Tay Qi Hang's letter (Maids should be given privileges as stated by MOM; Forum Online, July 18) is surprising. Eldercare and childcare costs can be prohibitively expensive, and even if you wanted to pay, these agencies may not have the resources to help you.
Has Mr Tay seen families where an elderly child has to look after an even older parent? Has he seen single parents struggling without family support? Many are torn between earning an income or staying home to provide care. The lack of options can be extremely stressful.
It is an insult to many a helpless household to say that hiring domestic help is a privilege. I agree completely that maids should be protected under the Employment Act and enjoy equal rights as any other worker. But I would like to know how a family might cope with a loss of necessary help.
Social safety nets have to be in place first. Otherwise, it is not an exaggeration to claim that our ability to cope depends a lot on our maids.
For this, we are most grateful to them and we are indebted by their service to our families.
Maids should be given privileges as stated by MOM, ST Forum, 18 Jul 2017
Singapore households need to understand that hiring a domestic helper is a privilege; not an unfettered right.
Ms Priscilla Poh Beng Hoon's letter (Annual leave for maids not practical; July 15) smacks of a patronising attitude towards these helpers. Unfortunately, it is an attitude which is all too prevalent in Singapore today.
Some of these domestic helpers are barely out of their teenage years, but are forced by circumstance to leave their families behind in order to work in Singapore. Often, they do not see their family members for years on end.
Allowing them to visit their hometowns once a year can scarcely be considered a privilege. If households are unable to afford the extra costs home leave will incur; they should perhaps consider not employing a helper.
A domestic helper deserves employment conditions in line with the Manpower Ministry's human resource guidelines in Singapore. Theseinclude having a minimum of seven days of paid annual leave. Domestic helpers are not second-class citizens. They are here to earn an honest living, and we should afford them every privilege which we give to the rest of our workforce.
Ultimately, we should simply ask ourselves this question: Are we treating them the way we would want our loved ones to be treated?
Tay Qi Hang
Annual leave for maids not practical, ST Forum, 15 Jul 2017
The suggestion by Mr Amarjit Wasan to give domestic helpers paid home leave is a very kind and noble one, but also idealistic. (Consider giving maids paid home leave; July 12).
The comparison he makes with expatriates' home leave, the cost of which is usually borne by commercial multinational and regional corporations, does not make sense. Furthermore, not many households would be able to afford all the extra costs home leave will incur - cost for the helper's leave and travel, the cost of a short-term relief helper and the system for all this to happen, as suggested by Mr Wasan.
Many Singapore households that employ maids do so out of necessity and not because they are well off, so any extra payments related to maids will not be appreciated. When our forefathers came to Singapore to work, they had few resources to even communicate with their families back home.
Sure, times have changed since then. But today, our maids are hired on two-year contracts. During their time here, they are allowed to use their smartphones and their employers' Wi-Fi to keep in touch with their loved ones back home. Maids are accorded many privileges. Let us not overlook these, in the haste to give them new perks.
Priscilla Poh Beng Hoon (Ms)
Less red tape please, MOM, ST Forum, 14 Jul 2017
I recently decided to get a maid without going through a maid agency. I bought comprehensive insurance for the maid and successfully applied for Giro to pay the maid levy.
Not being familiar with the entire process, my family thought that the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) would issue the work permit upon receiving the monthly levy and when the insurer premium was paid. However, I later received a stern letter from the MOM stating that it had cancelled the maid's stay and that she should be sent home immediately.
I was very worried and cried. Almost 90 years old, I did not want to go to a nursing home, which is what would happen if I did not have a maid.
Couldn't MOM just send a reminder e-mail or text message two weeks before the deadline?
In this computer age, where the Government is pro-IT, manpower is not needed to do this simple task, which will benefit people from the pioneer generation. I had to pay a fine before MOM would reinstate the licence. An MOM officer said: "That's why we always advise people to use an agent."
An agent's fee can come up to about $4,000 and I would prefer to save that money. Senior citizens like me have many rainy days.
Government processes should be streamlined to be more responsive and citizen-centric.
Lum Soo Peng (Madam)
Tackle issue of underage girls recruited as helpers, ST Forum, 7 Jul 2017
The increasing number of reports of underage girls recruited by employment agencies in Singapore is disconcerting (Entry of underage maids remains a thorny issue; July 3).
Such cases are discovered only after an incident happens, or when the maids are subsequently found out by employers. When such a case is surfaced, the employer concerned has to go through much trouble to send the domestic worker home and do without a replacement, sometimes for months.
The underage domestic worker suffers too - she will have to deal with the financial hardship stemming from not being able to repay the debts she had incurred trying to get to Singapore to work.
Such lapses in recruitment is a clear contravention of the Manpower Ministry's policy on the minimum age requirement. Besides penalising the employment agencies for recruiting underage girls, more needs to be done to address this matter.
The employment agencies and the authorities need to find a more effective way to verify the age of the domestic worker to prevent the recruitment of underage girls into Singapore.
Keeping the current recruitment procedure is not tenable, as the cases clearly show there is a gap in the recruitment process.
Seah Seng Choon
Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support & Training
This was posted in the Comment (here):
Singapore must do more to draw foreign maids here, Straits Times, 24 Apr 2017
With more than 300,000 foreign maids needed in Singapore by 2030, the country has to step up its game if it wants to meet this projected demand, said Centre for Domestic Employees (CDE) chairman Yeo Guat Kwang yesterday.
Mr Yeo said: "We now face more challenges because other countries like Japan and Taiwan have also opened up to employ foreign domestic workers. It is important for us to ensure that Singapore remains a choice destination for workers in the region." He was speaking to a crowd at a cooking competition organised by Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao and maid employment agency Nation at Suntec City Convention Centre.
Five employers and their maids paired up to create healthy dishes in an hour-long cookout. Mr Yeo said the contest showed the importance of cultivating a good working relationship through effective communication. He also urged the industry to adopt fairer employment practices and offer pathways for maids to learn new skills so Singapore remains an attractive place for them.
To this end, the CDE is working with stakeholders to enhance insurance coverage, transparency in employment agency fees and the ability of maids to obtain Workforce Skills Qualifications when they first arrive in Singapore.
He also highlighted CDE's push to encourage employers to use electronic payment, such as interbank Giro, to credit salaries directly to the maids' bank accounts. Currently, banks charge a monthly fee of around $2 to customers who do not keep a minimum daily amount in their accounts. This is often the case with domestic workers, who prefer to wire the money back home as soon as they receive their pay. (Winter: Banks are legal loan sharks to eat your money. They impose fees here and there and some were really ridiculous. I've encountered late fee charge for credit card. The fee imposed were much higher than what I owe. Recently, I was charged more than $100 by OCBC -a local bank for forgetting to pay an amount of $800+. OCBC refused to waive. How many percent is that? Aren't banks made as legal loan sharks by our govt? If FDWs are asked to pay $2 each month. Sounds low to you but to hold a savings account for 24 months, to them is equivalent to parting with $48 + keep $500 as minimum in the account, each month)
Mr Yeo said: "We are now working closely with one of the local banks to waive some of these fee requirements." Details of electronic payment of maids' salaries will be announced soon, he added. This will help avoid salary disputes between employers and maids. Last year, more than half of the 600 complaints CDE received were due to such disputes.
"When we try to investigate, the employer will pull out paper documents as proof. But some employers may have forced their domestic workers to sign off on these receipts," said Mr Yeo, who added that there will be no such ambiguity with electronic payments.
Maid salary, training issues being looked into: Centre for Domestic Employees, 23 Apr 2017, Channel News Asia
The Centre for Domestic Employees (CDE) is looking into issues related to salary payments, training competency and insurance coverage surrounding foreign domestic workers, chairman Yeo Guat Kwang said on Sunday (Apr 23).
Speaking on the sidelines of a cooking competition promoting bonding between workers and their employers, Mr Yeo said the CDE is looking into the possibility of implementing electronic salary payments, reviewing insurance payouts for employees and standardising skill qualifications. (Winter: When these people made recommendations, are they aware that when FDWs open a bank account, they have to ensure a minimum balance each month, otherwise, bank fee will be imposed every month? They expect employers to pay and place a "float" inside their FDWs' account? What if the FDWs withdraw all the money, including ours? Where to cry and get refund? They assumed FDWs are rich to set aside a month's salary, untouchable? I don't mind do electronic salary payment but don't make me pay for such "nonsense")
"More than half the cases we've received are salary-related," Mr Yeo said. "So we’re going to urge the Government to seriously consider making e-payments mandatory." He added that the centre is working with a local bank to waive charges related to e-payments after employers cited such costs as a key concern.
"Today many of the employers pay their workers by cash. And when we receive any complaints or encounter cases regarding a salary dispute, sometimes it’s quite hard for us to establish any evidence as there is no documentation to confirm such a dispute between (the parties)," Mr Yeo added. "With the e-payment, all the transactions will be properly recorded - I think it will help."
The centre is also looking into standardising training standards, in line with the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) national credential system. "Now employment agencies claim that the domestic workers who come to Singapore have already gone through certain training," Mr Yeo said. "But we have found that because of the lack of standards, not many of them really have the skills. It’s important for us to ensure that all the domestic workers that come into Singapore will be certified with these skillsets."
"This will also help to reduce the disputes arising from the maids or domestic workers not being able to perform their job competently," he added.
Mr Yeo said that the centre is planning to come up with pre-departure videos to ensure that employees are informed about Singapore's laws, and will issue guides to promote better employer-employee relationships.
CDE was set up by the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) last January with the aim of advocating for the fair treatment of foreign domestic workers.
There are currently about 237,000 foreign domestic workers employed in Singapore, with a projected 300,000 workers expected to be needed by 2030, according to Mr Yeo. More details on to CDE's efforts to enhance employment practices will be announced next month.
Dec 2016 Read: Live-out at FDWs' cost, Indonesian maid, Maid's mobile phone and Activist
Posting too many details about bad/lousy FDWs would incur the wrath of activists. Activists always have soft spot for FDWs and felt FDWs have valid reasons to be bad. They err but shouldn't be punished as heavily as Employers. FDWs had been clothed like victims and need protection at Employers' expense. We are mentally and financial bullied but nobody pitied us! Activists felt bad FDWs deserve a second chance and shouldn't be blacklisted or highlighted by Employers. Thus, I'm only extracting a few, read up yourself "Worker Report". I seriously hope the activists who are purposely inflicting injuries on me/other employers have a taste of their own medicine. Make them pay dearly for doing things to create tension and cause conflicts between FDWs and Employers.
Activists like to bite on Employers instead of MOM, maid agents and middlemen .... why... because Employers are unprotected, usually just an individual, not a group or company, thus, are easy to crush, "blackmail" and make them cough out money. Activists like to see others fight so are cruel, sly and evil ..... wolves clothed in human forms. Activists felt they are nice people ... saviours. If there's something known as karma, retribution 报应, please punish those people who had been very bad, insensitive and causing me, as well as family miseries.... in this lifetime. It doesn't make sense to make them be punished in their next life.
Extracted from Facebook/Worker Report (post here for bad FDW)
1) FDWs' employer: Audrey Wong's post
What every FDW employer wants is just simply someone we can trust our house and our kids to.
I'm rushing work. I can trust my maid to pick my kids up from school.
I'm out for meeting. I can trust my maid to feed my girl milk & meds on time.
I'm in bed nursing an extreme high fever. I can trust my maid to feed my 3 kids during dinner while my hubby figure out what to get for me to eat.
We are not out to torture FDW.
We just want someone whom we can TRUST.
Posting sexy photos and chatting up with strange men isn't a good way to get our trust. What if you bring my baby girl to meet these strange men? Are they going to just touch you or will they touch my girl? And if they only touch you, why must my girl be watching?
Talking on the phone during work hours especially when doing dangerous chores like ironing when you need concentration isn't a good way to get our trust. What if you hurt yourself? What if you didn't notice the kids coming near because you can't hear them while listening to your friends' conversation?
Basically, we are 100% responsible for them. Sick also I pay to see doc. Die also I pay for funeral. Runaway also I must find her or pay $5k & possibly get blacklisted from hiring.
But, are they responsible towards us?
I'm glad our luck has been not too bad so far. My maid just went out to pick my son from school. I know I can trust her. And because I trust her, treating her like family comes naturally.
FDWs, work hard and know why you are here. Work hard, save hard and provide a good future for your family. I'm happy my previous FDWs are enjoying their hard work in their hometowns now. They worked, they saved, they went home rich.
And because we love them so much, my kids miss them daily. My eldest still sends Viber msg to his auntie when he has access (he is only 9yo this year so controlled access).
Singapore employers are generally nice if you prove to us that we can trust you.
Genuine abuse cases, whole Singapore will curse the bad employer for you and law will punish them.
2) Filipino FDW: Marife Maramag Dela Cruz
I'm writing this to share with fellow parents of my current helper who I am going to send back. Hope future parents will be wary of employing this particular FDW, I do not want another family to suffer. I am suspecting that the agency is currently in cahoots with her. Both my husband and I are working parents. I employed her (she is a single mom) in March last year and we were initially happy with her for the 1st 3 months. Her housework was alright, (not perfect) and she had to take care of my 2 boys. I am totally fine because, as a mother, I understand how tiring it is looking after 2 boys at such a young and active age, not to mention handling the whole household. Before I have employed her, I have told her that she was to place my kids in the top priority. Household to be second, and cooking for adults to be secondary. Honestly, nowadays, it is really tough getting a maid who will be able to cover 100% of what you expect. I have a mom that comes over every day to help out, to oversee my boys and the maid.
Towards the 4th month onwards, her housework was going down the drain in which I was not calculative and my mom help up with the housework as well. I had been very forgiving until last December, she asked for advance salary in which I gave her. (Note: Every time she asks for advance salary, we will always give and I guess it became a habit) She told me a sob story that her daughter’s new term is resuming and that she needed money to send back. After her off day, I started noticing that she has a fresh tattoo at her lower hip (at the back). I kept quiet and didn’t pry as I knew something was wrong. I started searching her on facebook and I found out that she did her tattoo after she got her advanced salary. When she was questioned, she lied that she got the tattoo in Philippines & when she was questioned again, she apologized and said that she did it in Singapore and her agent was present while she was doing her tattoo.
Also, to my horror, I found her selfies on her facebook that were taken in the day time- in my children’s room which she is sleeping at and also my master-bed room. I started getting paranoid, and saw sexy photos with her showing her butt, her tattoo, posing with a banana sexually, and it got me worried. No doubt that it’s definitely her own freewill to have fun when she has her off day. However, I have 2 very young children and I believe all parents out there would probably feel that same way as I do.
Gradually, her work performance deteriorate, her heart was not at home or at work. She became absent minded. She was reminded many times on a market list that was her responsibility but she did not keep up after constant reminders. Then came the scolding from me but she still refused to improve on her performance. I started having many ants in the kitchen, which includes our drinking water, rotten vegetables (that was supposed to be cooked for my boys) kept in the fridge, my boys’ milk teat not washed properly with accumulated BLACK dirt, black dirt in my boys’ water bottle, my boys’ sliced oranges in their bowl left uncovered overnight, my boys’ milk container not washed properly (there were milk powder stuck between the sides), my boys’ room not clean (when I clean the room door and the floor, the cloth was black). The list goes on, she did not fulfill her main priority (which is the children), not to mention the other household chores. My husband and I sat down and counseled her which was our last resort but nothing worked. She also changed her facebook name, but her facebook url still remains the same. We have all evidences of her work performance at home.
She went to her agency, requesting for a transfer, we went down to the agency to look for her. When we came home, we saw documents of releasing her to another employer stamped by her agency. I do not appreciate that the agency is doing all these behind my back. If the FDW has a problem, the agency should let the employer know of any problems or potential problems as we are the client. There were certain occasions that I walked pass the agency and witness the agency giving out flyers and interviewing maids who walked pass to change their employer- whether it’s a genuine case of helping troubled FDWs, I do not know. My maid previously has informed me about her agent, calling her to ask her to change her employer if she isn’t happy (this was within the 1st 3 months) Isn’t the agency supposed to act as a mediator between the employer and the FDW? It seems to me that they just want to make money out of the pool of FDWs that they currently have.
3) FDW: Myo Myo Hlaing
This myanmar maid is a THIEF. Beware! She has a SISTER, who is also working as a maid in Singapore so this is a warning to families with a myanmar maid. The sister could have been an accomplice. Be careful. I was a victim and I do not want you to be the next. (Please share)
I don't need a maid but I don't have a choice because my mum has parkinsons. This maid left last week after 1.5yrs with us because she said her husband is sick and was admitted to Yangon hospital. We sympathised with her situation so we let her go. We believed her as she was softspoken and was extremely polite and chanted her buddhist scriptures every night. She chanted her buddhist scriptures e..v..e..r..y night and this made me believed that there is some goodness in her.
When she left, she took with her some of our cash, money from piggy banks, my dad's collection of stuffs which was handed down by grandpa, a gold nugget or two and some foreign currency we changed for a coming trip. We had kept them in places we thought were safe but yet she was still able to find them. Yes, we were so gullible to have trusted her. We were just so gullible.
4) FDW: IstiqomahIstiqomah WP: 00344 FIN:G7410946U
This maid is stubborn. She will always compare my rules in the house to her previous employer of 8 years. Already told her that i have my rules and she should adjust to it. But stubbornly, she will still do things according to the previous employers way.
She ever complain to the agency that my 5 yr old son beat her and agency call me to feedback. Agent says parents is liable for child's action. I confronted her and ask is she bruised (sarcastically). She kept quiet and the expression on her face was really delighted when she saw my son getting scolded by my husband.
When she first started with me, i ever checked her hp and notice she contacted with a few banglas and mention she is 28 yo when she is actually 38. I also ever came across a text msg whom she saved as 'Bapak' meaning 'Sir' talking abt sex. I also caught her texting with my old helper(who ask for transfer out) discussing about how naughty my son is. I confronted her abt all this and she cried and said that she do not like me checking her personal stuff. The next thing i know she put a password on her hp.
There was once I ask her to cook Nasi Lemak and i expect it to be done within 1 1/2 hr(just sambal, fried chicken and omelette). She took 3 hrs as she was only using 1 stove. I scolded her as she is taking too long and she got angry and ask for trf out. She says that she cannot cope using 2 stove to cook.(it seems now i have to follow her ways). She started ranting that her prev employer allow her to sit and sleep in the afternoon. Fyi, she would like to talk to her family and friends till 12mn when she noes that i expect her to wake up at 6am everyday. But no, she will wakeup by 630am and have things rushed in the morn. By allowing her to sleep in the afternoon is like covering the loss sleep at night which she spends chatting away with her family and friend.
The agent msg me again saying that maid complain that the money she went to de docs have not been reimbursed by me. When actually, she was de one who says she wants to go to de doctor as she has headache. Why she was so cautious in going to de doc was becoz she had a chat wif her mom and her mom says that he neighbour back in Indo complain of headache and one day collapse and died and got her all frantic that she wants to go to de doc. Prevly she have a growth that leads to pus comin out on her stomach area. Bought her to the doctor and got it healed. 1 mth later it came back again at the same area and brought her to de doctor. Another 1 mth later, the same growth appeared but this time on her knee and it took longer to heal and affected all the hsework. We brought her to the doctor but was not heal and doc suspected it as diabetes. I ask her to half the payment and she agreed. So she ask to go to the doctors again to get it check, by this time i was coming out too much money and she agreed to pay it herself. And now she is complaining to de agent.
On 27 October 2016, she ran away from my house and was only discovered by my husband 15mins before fetching my son from school. We checked thru cctv and saw her leave with all her belongings. We had to take urgent leave from work just for her stupidity. We made a police report and the IO called later on saying that she is at the embassy. Arrange with the agency to fetch her and meet me on 1 Nov 2016 to send her off to Indonesia. Hire at your own risk! she is planning to come back to work in SG!
5) FDW: Anna Silvia - Date of birth: 28-01-1990
Employ the following fdw at your own risk. She is:-
Dirty – she doesn’t take her showers when she is having her menses. She always have body ordour.
Lazy – instead of helping out in the kitchen during cooking time, she chose to lie on her bed to sleep. Clothes dried are not neatly folded and put away in wardrobe drawers, they were squashed up into a ball and stuffed into the drawers. Her dirty bedsheets & clothings are stuffed under her pillow and she sleeps on them nightly.
Lied – instead of admitting to her mistakes, she would lie to cover her tracks, 1 lie leads to another and the story became thwarted.
Dishonesty – she utilised the house phone to call home without asking for permission. Choked up $140+ in IDD calls in 4 days!
She still has outstanding loans of 6 mths. I am not sure if agent will transfer her or send her home. Employ her at your own discretion.
6) Indonesian FDW: Mily Yannatunissa - Date of birth: 29-07-1980
Maid Agency: Nation Employment
Dear all, please look out when you come across this maid.
Recently we just sent this maid MILY YANNATUNISSA from Indonesia back to the agency. She has worked with us for 5 months.
The initial intention of hiring her was to look after our baby since she claimed she had experience in taking care of infants. However during these 5 months, she kept making mistakes in her housework and being dishonest that we could not bring ourselves to even allow her to go near our baby.
– she talked to herself (which gave us goosebumps) at times
– asked her to buy an item from the nearby supermarket, she took a long time to come back, cos she also bought a big bag of her own things
– entered our rooms without asking for permission
– housework not done properly and claimed she had done, which she had not done at all
– opened the main door to let stranger into the house and said we gave her permission to do so
– we had installed cctv in our house and she hid in the toilet all the while when no one was in the house (we locked all our bedrooms)
– she was caught shitting in the toilet with the door opened early in the morning at 5am..the stench was all over the kitchen!
– caught peeing in the toilet without locking the door
– did not follow instructions
– gave black face everyday and did not greet guests when they came
– left laundry in the rain. when we called her to bring in the laundry she piled the laundry in the room without hanging them to dry!
– everyday in a dreamy state. seemed she could not concentrate or focus in doing her work as she kept making stupid mistakes
– washed baby’s milk bottles with soap still in them
– etc etc etc
We treated her too well. She ate the same food we had. And even much more. 1 big tub of butter every month. 1 bottle of jam every week.
She has made way too many mistakes, and we had to tolerate her for 5 months, keep giving her chances to improve herself and which in return caused us so much inconvenience.
BY THE WAY, SHE UNDERSTANDS CHINESE!!!
7) Filipino FDW: Laurence Angela Lardizabal Soria (Perez)
dear all, this was my previous helper here in Singapore. Her name is Laurence Angela Lardizabal Soria and might go for the last name Perez. I would just like to make a public note that we had already sent her back home to the Philippines after 3 offenses of lying and stealing from us. She is from Batangas San Jose. After giving her a chance the first and second time round, the last offence she commited was stealing money from my wallet. Although she already confessed for taking the money when confronted before sending her back, we were surprised that no apologies was even said. Please be aware of who she really is and if you happen to know someone who would think of hiring her, think again. If you have valuables, it will disappear. Please do me a favour to share this and spread it out so it may reach everywhere in the world. Who knows, her next destination might be in your country. For those of you who wants to know the full story of my side, please check out this link: https://www.facebook.com/notes/michelle-kaye-yu-tan/my-side-of-the-story/10153574854831291 and if you want to hear her side from what she has been telling her friends, you are in for a real entertainment, refer to this link: https://www.facebook.com/notes/michelle-kaye-yu-tan/her-side-of-the-story/127875641290.
Progress done: already made a report to MOM (ministry of manpower) and she is already blacklisted. Police report would prolong her stay and we need her out our hair as soon as possible.
8) FDW Nurmiati
She's from Lampung. 02/09/1990. As due to her sly n evil hearted character she landed into Hor soup with legal issues. She brought to me endless of issues after knowing n discover about her character but it was then too late... worst when you have young kids at home... never never employ her. Unfortunately I heard tt she was transferred to a new employee on 12 oct 2016. Hence mummies if you know of any of yrs Friends that have just employed a new transfer maid latterly please ask them to check and Ensure she's not Nurmiati else please send her back immediately... she's acted nice for almost a year n in front of me...
You might and will get yourself into deep shot with this horrible character maid. She has integrity issues. Please mummies please pass this message around.. beware of her...
9) Employer nickname: Jayne0955
Nowadays employer become very difficult as The Maid does not behave or do what they should do. The employer sometimes have to endure The Maid , scared they will mistreat their kids, or being lazy and add something bad into the food while they cook。
it become more and more difficult especially for a family like me. We are double income Low income group with 2 kids. We hire a maid who is lazy and like to steal money, we have been giving her chance but we still Endure her Cz we are afraid of her mistreating our kids. And we can't afford to change another maid which could easily cost us few thousand dollars.
MOM has came out with many rules to protect maids. But what about employers like us, a Low income employers like us. We need maid not because we wanted a good life: it's because of our kids.
It makes the maids become so arrogant and openly criticise our house is small, how nice is other condo, etc. And always threaten us want to go home whenever we pointed out her mistake.
I really feel frustrated with maids. I have the record of her stealing money but I didn't report her Cz she Beg me, plus I don't have money to pay for the agency anymore.
Recently she is threatening us she want to go back again. This time round we decided to let her go. And borrow personal loan to pay the agency fee and the upfront payment.
Life is not easy.
10) Employer nickname: Jinkyatakayuhira12
i used to have an Indonesia maid few years ago name Ike Nurjanah or Ike Camelia as she now married.and about 30 years old.
she 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 ...she cook food and leave it burnt , add many chilli to my instant noodle and cause me gastric purposely already few times out of spite... 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 regularly even during working hours...even i tell her off she ignore me i has no choice but to keep her phone until 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 ...each time i give her orders she will always mess up the orders include food i instruct her to buy and never bother to ask when she is unsure and wasted my money as she bought wrong things from the supermarket ...so terrible bad attitude of this ikeu ...also each time i ask her to buy something like macdonald thats near our house she will take round an hr plus to come back ...its like taking the time to meet her friends instead so i tell her off but there no improvement...she was close to 30 of age but did not think sensibly .sometimes i scolded her coz she did not do the housework properly and neglect my child.once i even see bruise on my child hands i think she abuse it too much...when u confront her she deny it bluntly and even ask one of my family who was not on good terms with me to sides her stupid and bad act.. she was too cunning...many times i was nice to her before give her treats dinner brought her out and trusted her but now she was too over and even my family was disappointed with her but we give her too many chances to stay 4 years here and she show no improvement.
i also think she steal many sanitary pads of mine as i remember only giving her little she a thief .sometimes my cupboard also seem to be unlock even i was back fr work.i inform her agent and they try to consul her but guess they give up as she too cunning to change her side of story and blame us for bullying her instead ...such a rude and rebellious maid...i bet she was transfer maid coz previously she did something bad at her work place even her agency covered.Her agency was a money eating agency only care for profits.One day i checked her phone and found that she was soliciting in fb and so many guys malay or blangadash photos was found in her hp.wonder what is she doing...it seem real bad and my friend advise me to send her back in case she did more harmful things.she was also a great liar and will act innocent so careful of her. i also found a paper drawn in her bag with our family cartoon and seem like a curse for us to obey her.it too scary . Also we fight many times and when i shout at her she will threaten me with an evil smile as if i cant outwit her.finally i send her back and peace so better avoid such maid for your own safety.
Happy relationship, a headache free Home
主仆关系好 家无后顾忧, Zaobao, 20 Dec 2016
More and more families are having dual income. In order to concentrate on work, households need helpers to take care of elderly and children. Thus, this lead to a high demand for maids. Based Jun 2016 statistic, there are 237100 foreign domestic workers (FDW) working in Spore.
From Oct 2016, agents are allowed to bring in Cambodia FDWs, a new source of supply.
Mandatory off days were implemented in 2013 but some households, especially those with sick members, there should be a discussion and salary compensation for FDWs who cannot be away.
FDWs left home to a foreign land thus, there's a need for them to contact families with their mobile phones. This is a privilege that employers are giving FDWs. Employer interviewed said she allowed but hoped that her FDW would not abuse the privilege.
Maid agents who deployed FDWs to individual households should have all the terms ironed out. Professor Lim said that mobile phones are not apart of FDW requirement but hope employers could understand the need for FDWs to use their mobile phones. (Winter: privilege such as use of mobile phones were abused by FDWs and Activists, had been regarded as an entitlement to work in Spore as FDWs)
培训多方面技能 让女佣透透气 Skill upgrading is a way to unwind
Courses such as cooking, childcare, computer, language, eldercare are offered at FAST
More than 40% FDWs faced issues such as lonliness, helplessness, depression, inadaptability, loan, legal issues, etc. FAST has a helpline to help those with serious problem such as intention to commit suicide.
照顾阿公阿嫲 她是‘专家’ She is a pro in taking care of Ah-gong
据统计局网站，截至今年六月底，我国人口有12.4％达65岁或以上，比2014年的11.2％及去年的11.8％，呈每年攀升0.6％的趋势，相比2006年的8.4％，10年来增加4％。另有数据显示，能供养这些65岁或以上的乐龄人士、适逢工作年龄的成人越来越少，我国老年人口赡养比例（old-age support ratio）已从2006年的7.8，下跌至截至今年六月的5.4。年长人士行动不便，或因病无法自理，子女无法同时兼顾事业与家庭，往往就得请女佣。
Spore has an aging population. Many elderly are immobile or ill and their children are unable to cope with full-time work and parents, thus, lead to the need to employ FDWs.
从事旅游业的冯素珊（49岁）就是其中之一。两年前，她父亲不幸中风、病危在床，急需看护者从旁协助。她受访时说：“母亲年纪也大了，我无法常在他们身旁，就请女佣照顾父亲。” 女佣在冯素珊父亲临终前三个月照料他，包括喂药、搀扶上下床等，让冯素珊留下好印象。“她很用心，会顾及我父亲的感受。父亲过世后，我就把她留下照顾母亲。” 她口中的好帮手，是来自印尼玛琅（Malang）的俞妮（Yuni Akowati, 32岁）。
Indonesian FDW Yuni is a pro in taking care of elderly, such as feeding medication, assisting them up and down the bed, etc. Yuni worked in Spore for ten years and learnt 4 languages. She confessed the initial six months was tough due to a temperamental sickly ah-mah. In order to communicate with the elderly in her care, she learnt a new language. She can speak English, Mandarin, Malay and Hokkein. She conversed in Mandarin during the interview. Her employer treated her very well. When she was sick, they were more anxious and worried than her. Employer commented Yuni has high adaptability, learnt things fast and good working attitude.
当时，来自菲律宾比科尔（Bicol），年仅24岁的梅尔峇（Melba Sta Ana，46岁）来新应聘，正巧被张明鸿和丈夫曾昭锋（53岁，工程师）选中。梅尔峇忆述，起初人生地不熟，尤其在照顾小孩方面，她并不在行。
Filipino maid Bicol was employed at the age of 24. Now, she's 46 years and still serving the household. She treated the employer's children just like her own, took good care of them, even though she had no prior experience in babycare when she first joined. As time goes by, she was more and more efficient in her job. Sometimes, Bicol didn't go out during her off days. Bicol didn't return home for ten years because she couldn't bear to leave the 4 children. Employer asked her whether she wanted to go home have a look. In year 2004, the whole family flew with her to Philippines for home vacation.
“不过，女佣来自不同背景，有文化差异，她们遇到问题可能不知如何寻助，家庭佣工中心就提供这样的管道。” 过去一年，中心处理过200起个案，大部分与拿不到薪水，或被无理扣薪等薪金问题有关。 其次，一些女佣或雇主对彼此的期望有出入，也会构成问题，“一些女佣可能不想做了，或要更换雇主，我们就得提供相关的辅导和安排。” 少数较严重的案例，则牵涉暴力与虐待事件。据法令，雇主若犯下伤害女佣罪名，刑罚是一般刑罚的1.5倍。
According to law, if employer abused the FDW, the punishment is based on 1.5 times. (Winter: whereas the punishment for bad FDWs are slashed to 10-30% or scotfree)
今年9月，该中心曾发表声明，建议中介在账单上列明海外中介、本地培训与住宿，以及政府三方面的费用。杨木光说：“一些女佣和雇主对收费详情不了解，因此透明列举不同款项很重要。” 其二，中心也商讨为女佣提供“技术认证”，让女佣在家务或沟通方面获“证书”。“通常纠纷会发生，是因雇主觉得‘人’不对办。女佣技能如果能被认可，在雇主眼中也会比较称职。” 中心也希望透过不同活动，促进劳资关系。杨木光指出，女佣在家里工作，与雇主的关系也很微妙，如何让双方在相处过程中彼此更了解，成为关键。“女佣为我们照顾家人，帮忙分担家务事，雇主也应将心比心。双方如果有更多机会感谢彼此，渐渐就能心心相‘应’，互相对应，也有个照应。”
Many FDWs and Employers are unaware of agencies' fee. Thus, having transparency, a proper cost break down is important. Some employers felt the FDWs were mismatched so MP Yeo Guat Kwang felt a certificate of skills achieved would avoid misunderstanding.
Fresh maids will not be able to meet employers expectation upon job commencement so MP Yeo Guat Kwang urged employers to give FDWs ample time to adapt. He hoped employer and FDW can understand each other and establish trust, as well as care for each other during rough times. FDWs know their entitlement but if given special privileges, FDWs were advised not to abuse what was made available to them. FDWs should know their duties and responsibilities.
New shelter for distressed maids next year, Straits Times, 19 Dec 2016
The Centre for Domestic Employees (CDE), a help centre set up by the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), plans to launch a new shelter for distressed workers in the second quarter of next year.
The shelter will be able to house and support around 100 maids. This was announced on International Migrants Day (IMD) yesterday, at one of two events by NTUC non-governmental organisations, the Migrant Workers' Centre and CDE. The new shelter will bring CDE's total housing capacity to 150 as it rents 50 bed spaces at an undisclosed location, making it Singapore's biggest shelter for maids.
Most maids in shelters may be embroiled in disputes with the authorities, their employers or employment agencies, said CDE. Speaking to the media yesterday, CDE's executive director for strategy, Mr Shamsul Kamar, said that as more maids come to Singapore, "what we want to do is strengthen our capabilities and how we can give humanitarian, social, emotional support (to them)".
He added that having its own shelter will allow the CDE to "provide direct support to our domestic workers who are having issues". The new shelter will have counselling and mediation services.
Ms Sheena Kanwar, executive director of the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home), was heartened to learn of the new shelter and its services. Currently, Home runs Singa- pore's largest shelter for maids in distress, with rooms for about 70 workers.
"Once (workers) report abuse or exploitation, their safety might further get undermined and alternative emergency housing becomes essential," said Ms Kanwar. "Holistic socio-legal support for the shelter residents is very important." Home continues to call for maids to be covered under the Employment Act, which will ensure them labour rights such as statutory holidays and paid leave.
To celebrate IMD, the Migrant Workers' Centre organised a talent show in Hougang. The centre's chairman, Mr Yeo Guat Kwang, said on the event's sidelines: "With the 20,000 cases that we have helped, the main issues are still with salary disputes, workplace injury compensation claims and concerns about workers' accommodation."
He hopes for more enforcement in the future to ensure salaries are promptly paid and for effective resolutions to claims submitted. He also urged the authorities to "consider imposing a deterrent sentence" such as jail for errant employers who collect kickbacks. (Winter: For so many years, how come bad/abusive/killer FDWs aren't given harsh treatment similar to employers? Why FDWs' punishment are either covered up or given the least jail term, as well as not fined/fully publicised? Harsh penalty is meant to deter but giving FDWs the least penalty or leeways is encouraging them to bring more harm and damages to their employers.)
Refuge for maids in distress, Straits Times, 18 Dec 2016
The two bedrooms on the third floor of the shophouse are barely larger than four five-room Housing Board flats, yet about 70 foreigners live there. They sleep on double-decker beds laid out side by side along the walls and in the middle of the rooms.
On the second floor, tables and chairs line a communal dining hall and kitchen. Those who walk past the ground floor of the three-storey shophouse in the eastern part of Singapore will have no clue that so many foreigners live behind the plain white doors.
The shophouse may look like an illegal foreign workers' dormitory, but it is far from it. It is Singapore's largest shelter for maids in distress, run by the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home). "This was how we started, helping domestic workers in distress," says Home executive director Sheena Kanwar when she took Insight to visit the shelter last week. She adds: "It costs us more than $350,000 a year to run the shelter."
Home was founded in 2004 by former human resources and employment agency manager Bridget Tan. It had been holding ad-hoc English and computer classes for maids since 2004, but it now has a formal school - the Home Academy - that trains about 1,500 maids a year in skills such as English, computer, caregiving, dressmaking, cooking, baking and even martial arts. "Cooking and caregiving are the most popular classes," says academy training administrator Sisi Sukiato. The classes are held on the United World College of South East Asia premises.
Ms Hla Thien May, a maid from Myanmar who was learning dressmaking, says the class helped her to pick up a useful skill. "It is useful when I go home (in future)," says the 32-year-old, who has been working in Singapore for eight years.
Ms Kanwar notes that there is a misperception that Home serves only maids. "Each year, we get about 1,000 calls to the hotline from domestic workers and an equal number from male migrant workers."
Mr Jolovan Wham, who was Home's executive director for eight years and is now its consultant, says that male migrant workers face problems such as salary and employment-related disputes as well as poor working conditions. He cited a court case last month in which a company boss was hauled to court by the MOM and fined $60,000 for collecting kickbacks from foreign workers.
Jail, fine for loan shark who preyed on Filipino maids, Straits Times, 10 Dec 2016
An illegal moneylender who targeted a niche market of vulnerable Filipino maids was jailed for 44 months and fined $450,000 in one of the biggest such prosecutions.
A district court heard that K. Ramakrishna Kannusamy, 47, who kept their passports and work passes as collateral, made about $100,000 in profits between 2014 and last year by charging 10 per cent to 20 per cent interest rates.
The Singapore permanent resident admitted to 15 charges of illegal moneylending, five charges under the Passport Act and one charge under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act. He faced a total of 181 charges. The remaining 160 charges, including 89 charges under the Moneylenders Act, were taken into consideration for sentencing.
In sentencing him last month, District Judge Salina Ishak ordered the sentences for six of the charges to run consecutively, "to accurately reflect the accused's overall culpability and the number of charges he faced, after a careful consideration of the aggravating factors".
The judge said that although he carried on a one-man operation, the scale of operations involving the large number of unique borrowers as well as the amount of loans granted showed "he was not a small-time moneylender, but he ran a sophisticated operation", in decision grounds issued on Tuesday.
Kannusamy had exploited a niche market of mainly Filipinas working in Singapore as maids who were unable to obtain loans through legal sources. The illegal business stretched over seven years from 2009, when he was in a relationship with a Filipina known as "Mary Jane".
Mary Jane, then a maid, introduced him to several of her friends facing financial woes. He offered them loans and word soon spread, growing the debtors' pool. The victims included a cash- strapped 41-year-old dental nurse who borrowed $2,500 last year on 20 per cent monthly interest and gave her passport as collateral.
Kannusamy admitted there were about 76 debtors when he was nabbed. All but one were Filipinos. In addition to interest rates of between 10 per cent and 20 per cent per month, he charged a further $10 per day for late interest payments. His borrowers signed promissory notes and provided collateral in the form of passports or work passes. (Winter: My "assurance" before employing a FDW is that in front of maid agent (definitely before processing employment), my helper will be asked about her passport "ownership during employment". FDW who flatly refused to pass her passport to employer is not advisable to employ. Brainwashed about human rights .... employers are opening themselves to scheming and greedy/demanding FDWs. To prevent a run away FDW, it is best to keep FDW's passport with her agreement. Get FDW to write and sign that she has willingly handed over her passport to employer during employment. How would know your FDW is not travelling out of Spore during her off days? Filipino FDWs don't need any visa to cross over to JB and engage in "dirty business". Lucky these FDWs weren't asked to be loan sharks or introducers - in return for lower/zero borrower interest.)
When he was arrested on Feb 10 this year, police seized 68 Philippine passports and nine Singapore work permits and passports, among other items, from his Housing Board flat in Chai Chee Road.
Build up capacity to train maids in eldercare, Straits Times, 24 Oct 2016
Given an ageing population, there will be a growing market for home caregivers. There will be higher demand for caregivers to come to Singapore, and the report is right to point out that there is a ready pool of domestic helpers who can be trained to fit the role.
To meet this trend, Singapore has to build up the capacity to train foreign domestic workers (FDWs) coming here with skills in caring for the aged. Doing so will ensure the quality and standard of training can be maintained to meet our needs.
Government agencies involved can facilitate and bring in the resources for this sector of the population. This can be achieved by accrediting a pool of employment agencies to source FDWs who are keen to be caregivers and take steps to get them properly trained and certified for caring for the aged.
Employers must then be prepared to pay more for these specialised domestic workers. Regardless, the cost would be driven by supply and demand in the long run; hence the tiered work pass will fit in quite nicely to recognise the skilled domestic helpers.
In order for such arrangements to be successful, we also need to have a pool of such workers to be called upon in the event the helpers take days off, or go on leave for home visits or for personal emergencies.
Such contingencies would need arrangements such as locums to cover their duties. In these instances, a pool of specialised foreign domestic caregivers could be provided by the accredited employment agencies.
Seah Seng Choon
Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training
New work pass proposed for maids taking care of elderly, Straits Times, 21 Oct 2016
A group of Singapore researchers is proposing a skills-based, tiered system of work pass for foreign maids who look after the elderly. It could offer better pay and perks, like an option to live in their own accommodation, for those who are more skilful. The move could ensure Singapore stays an attractive destination for domestic workers, said the researchers.
Currently, all maids get the same work permit regardless of their experience or skills. The researchers from the National University of Singapore's Asia Research Institute (ARI) made the suggestion following interviews with industry players like maid training centres in Indonesia for their ongoing study.
The main grouse they found in Indonesia is that Singaporean employers pay less and deduct more from the maid's salary, as it is done over a shorter period, than their counterparts in Taiwan and Hong Kong, said the institute's research and communications officer Kellynn Wee.
The monthly deduction is to repay the employer for paying the worker's recruitment and placement fees in advance. The tiered system, listed in a report, will be among the issues to be discussed at a seminar today.
The meeting, organised by ARI, will focus on the employment of foreign domestic workers and how they and employment agents figure in Singapore's care industry over the long term.
It comes amid efforts to further improve Singapore's home-based care industry for its greying population. One in five people here is expected to be older than 65 by 2030. Many Singaporeans, however, prefer to hire a foreign maid for eldercare instead of a local nurse. This is despite many of the maids not being qualified or equipped to do the job, the researchers noted.
Added Ms Wee: "The tiered system would provide a way upwards for domestic workers who come here and have experience with the culture. It is an incentive to stay here longer and get more training."
Another suggestion they made is to study the feasibility of replacing the current system of deducting the hiring fees from the maid's salary.
The maids and Singapore employers could be overcharged because the collection of the fees by Singapore maid agents on behalf of overseas recruiters is not well-regulated, they said.
Indonesia has begun requiring the maids to take a bank loan to pay the recruiters. These recommendations are derived from a year of interviews with players such as employment agents, non-governmental organisations, and recruitment centre owners here and in Indonesia.
Enumerated in a brief report last month, it is a joint effort with ARI research assistant Charmian Goh and Professor Brenda Yeoh, research leader at ARI's Asian Migration Research Cluster and dean of the university's Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
Best Home Employment Agency owner Tay Khoon Beng, who was one of those interviewed for the study, feels letting maids live outside the home is a natural progression for the industry. "In the future when there are fewer kids, more older people, better childcare and smaller homes, maids may not need to live in," he said.
Employers, maids need to compromise, Straits Times, 1 Jun 2016
Many domestic helpers do not get along well with their employers mainly because of cultural and social differences when they come to work in a foreign country. Employers, too, have to accommodate a stranger in their homes to help take care of family members or do household chores. There is a price, compromise and responsibility for both parties.
A family that hires a domestic helper does not experience bliss straight away. They need to train or retrain her for the tasks that need to be done. There is little doubt that the Government is doing its utmost to reduce our reliance on foreign domestic workers, such as having more childcare and eldercare centres, and other facilities. There is also the option to engage a part-time maid, though it may not bring about an improved situation or cost savings.
Meanwhile, it is a happy state of affairs to see live-in maids gathering for a banter with their compatriots while caring for their wards outside the house, or on weekends and public holidays.
More maids are also seen possessing mobile phones now. This is good testimony that the current arrangement serves us well. With improved communication and knowledge among these workers, those with grievances can turn to their embassies, the police or the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) for assistance.
The MOM is in a position to see the matter better and to carry out investigations impartially. Perhaps it could also introduce a quota on the inflow of maids from the various source countries so that there is a better balance of nationalities working here.
Philip Sim Ah Tee
Singaporean women share shocking stories about their maids:
1) I once caught my helper kissing my 2-year-old daughter on the lips! I don't even do that!
2) You know how Facebook has the 'people you may know' function? Well it just so happens that when I was scrolling through Facebook one day, I came across a familiar looking face that had popped up in my 'people you may know' section. It was my maid! To be honest, I wanted to add her as a friend, but as soon as I saw that she was wearing my clothes in ALL her pictures (I did a little stalking on her profile), I was furious!
3) There was once when my hubby and I had just returned home from date night. We got home around 11pm and saw that our 2 kids were already asleep, so we went into our maid's room to check to see if she was asleep too. She was lying on her bed and using her phone, so we told her that we had just gotten home and wished her goodnight. She mumbled a goodnight and my hubby and I went back to our room.As my husband took a shower, I was at our dressing table removing my makeup. When he finished showering, he went to our wardrobe and opened it to get his pyjamas out and to his horror, he saw a man standing inside! He yelled for the man to get out and I freaked out too! The man rushed out and went out the front door, and my hubby went into our maid's room to question her.We found out that the man was her boyfriend, and had been secretly coming over whenever we were out on date nights! We were super angry! What if he had harmed our kids or if our kids had seen what they were up to? We sent her back to the agency after that incident. We were just lucky that our kids weren't hurt or that anything bad had happened.
4) I was on MC from work once, and decided to take the clothes out of the washing machine to let them hang dry. My helper had gone down to the market to get some groceries and I decided to just help her out a bit by doing the laundry. As I was hanging the clothes on the bamboo poles, I noticed some panties that clearly weren't mine.I lived with my husband, my 3 boys and my helper, so it was pretty clear who's panties those were. I've always hand-washed my own panties and have told my helper to do the same, because it's not hygienic to mix your soiled panties into the laundry where everyone else's clothes were, but I guess she didn't listen. Yuck!!
5) We hired a maid when our daughter was about a year old, as I was starting to head back to work and we needed someone to take care of our daughter. We got this one maid from Indonesia, and though she was pretty soft-spoken, she indicated that she had kids of her own and had experience in taking care of young children. So for the first few weeks, we trusted her to be alone with our daughter and everything seemed fine.However, whenever I got home, I noticed that my daughter was always hungry, and would be very agitated. We installed a CCTV camera during her off day, and monitored throughout the week. What I saw was shocking! Whenever my daughter cried or wanted to play, this maid would just ignore her! She would sit there and glance at my daughter, and let her cry. I caught her losing her temper at my daughter on a few occasions too.That's not the worst part yet, she even stole food from my daughter. Can you believe it? A grown adult stealing food from a kid! We had those little baby snacks that we bought, because my daughter loves it. But we saw on the CCTV camera that she would open these snacks for herself, and ignore the cries of my baby. I fired her immediately.
6) I once had this maid who would cry herself to sleep every single night. Not just the soft cries, I tell you. Those loud, weeping cries. It spooked my kids out so much that they would sleep with me instead of in their own rooms. I sent her back to the agency and told them about what happened. I hope she's doing okay now.
7) "I had hired this maid and she left within 2 days. She claimed that she felt spooked out and uncomfortable in my home - like there was a lingering 'spirit' around (in her exact words). Up till this day, I don't really understand what she felt or saw, nor do I plan to find out.
Visiting helpers' homes, they learn of sacrifice and separation, 15 Jan 2016, Channel News Asia
When local actor Benjamin Heng arrived at his domestic helper’s home in Ponorogo, East Java, Indonesia, there was only one word he felt: Surprised. “She lived in a bigger house than most of us in Singapore,” said Heng. “It reminded me of some resorts. I must say I was very impressed.” The 39-year-old left Singapore to spend five days in the home of his domestic helper, Yasinta (who goes by one name) as part of a special four-part series for On The Red Dot.
There are more than 227,000 foreign domestic workers in Singapore, and many helpers know the likes, dislikes and routines of their employers. But how much do employers know much about their helpers? Heng was one of three Singapore personalities who embarked on a journey to find out.
The other two, singer-songwriter and radio deejay Daphne Khoo and actor and TV host Paul Foster, travelled to the Philippines to stay with their respective domestic helpers. While shooting the series, some of them initially had the jitters, worrying about being taken out of their comfort zone and wondering if they could adapt as their helpers had done when they came to Singapore to work.
Khoo, whose Filipino helper, Yolly Dogillo, has been with the family for 20 years, had a different concern. “I think my biggest fear for this trip was that Yolly’s family wouldn’t like me,” said the 28-year-old. They were not the only ones who were nervous. Ms Bel Baltazar, 42, was anxious over the visit of Paul Foster. “I felt nervous because if Paul sees my house and if he is not comfortable, then what will I do?” she said. “I felt embarrassed.” Foster, on the other hand, expressed regret that he had not gotten to know Ms Baltazar better after all her years of work with his family. She started working with them just over 10 years ago, shortly after her husband passed away. Ms Baltazar had to leave her two sons behind in Capiz province.
The 47-year-old Yolly, who earned a teaching degree in the 90s, opted to become a foreign domestic worker because she could earn more being a maid in Singapore. “Yolly could have supported herself easily if she had been a teacher in the Philippines. But as big sister to seven siblings, she spent her best years in Singapore to ensure that they too went to college. She is proud of what she has achieved, but I think there's also an undercurrent of regret that she has missed the chance to settle down and start her own family,” said Mr Poh.
Yasinta’s life echoes that of Bel’s and Yolly’s. She had started work as a domestic helper when she was only 19. Over the years, the 35-year-old saved up enough money to get married, build a house and start a family. “Yasinta has been away from her family for so long, spending only a small portion of each year with them. But for a while now, she has been putting the money she sends back into a business rearing chickens. It’s admirable that she is thinking ahead and planning for her retirement already,” said producer Ms Elrica Tanu, who filmed Yasinta and Benjamin in Indonesia.
New centre for domestic workers to air grievances, Straits Times, 5 Jan 2016
Domestic workers with employment-related grievances or hardship will have a new centre specifically for them to turn to by the end of the month. The assistant secretary-general of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), Mr Yeo Guat Kwang, said yesterday: "It is our hope that in operating this new Centre for Domestic Employees, we will be able to reach out to and help even more workers, including those like this affected domestic worker."
He was referring to Ms Mersi Fransina Missa, 28, an Indonesian maid who has not been paid since October last year, when her employer fell into a coma. In response to a Straits Times report about Ms Mersi, Mr Yeo, who is also the chairman of the Migrant Workers' Centre (MWC), said: "As a labour movement, we are sympathetic that the domestic worker concerned has fallen upon hardship as a result of some unfortunate turn of events. We also sympathise with the employer in view of her current health condition." He noted that the employer, who is single, did not intend to deprive the worker of her salary since she had dutifully paid Ms Mersi up until she had a second stroke in October.
The Ministry of Manpower has received about 600 complaints from maids about non-payment of salaries each year for the past two years. NTUC declined to reveal more details on the new centre, the first for maids that it has launched.
Currently, migrant workers other than domestic workers may turn to the MWC for assistance with emergency housing and subsistence relief, complaint filing and representation through statutory resolution processes.
The MWC, a foreign workers advocacy organisation initiated by NTUC and the Singapore National Employers Federation, also helps to facilitate repatriation of workers who want to go home or transfer to a new employer if they choose to stay on and continue working. Its services are free and meant for all migrant workers who are work permit holders.
However, MWC caters mostly to migrant workers from the construction and other unionised industries, so domestic workers do not come under its scope.
Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics executive director Jolovan Wham said he hopes the function of the new centre will go beyond resolving personal complaints. As of June last year, there were 227,100 domestic workers here.
"Any assistance for them is useful, but for substantial change to take place, the centre needs to play more of a lobbying and advocacy role so that laws are enacted and enforced to ensure better protection for the workers."
Public raises $3,150 for maid whose boss is in a coma, Straits Times, 8 Jan
The maid whose wages dried up when her employer fell into a coma last October - leaving her without money and food - has seen her luck take a turn for the better.
Winter: Oct 2015 to Jan 2016, maid draws S$520 each month so $520 x 4 months = $2080. Activists like to assume maids are earning low salary and refused to take into consideration the living costs of maids which are payable by employers so $3150-2080 = maid earned S$1070. Activists, are you happy with my calculation? Do you feel maids are humans who can survive without food? If employers didn't pay for food ... the invisible costs that you people intentionally ignored, can she survive well? If employer woke up, she 'made a fortune' .... don't forget her employer still need to pay maid monthly salary .... her obligation. Thus, $3150 will be a windfall.
Employer in coma, Indonesian maid unpaid since October, Straits Times, 4 Jan 2016
For more than a year, Ms Mersi Fransina Missa fed, bathed and took care of her employer, who had suffered a stroke in August 2014. But a second stroke in October last year left her employer - a retiree in her 60s - warded at Singapore General Hospital (SGH) in a vegetative state.
"She opens her eyes sometimes but she cannot move her hands or legs," said Ms Mersi, 28, who is single and from Kupang, Indonesia. She continued her routine of shuttling between the hospital and her employer's one-room Housing Board flat in Havelock Road for a month. Then it got too expensive for the domestic worker, who has not been paid since October.
I hope my ma'am is okay, but I also miss my family. I wish I can have my money back too. Ms Mersi, who is supposed to get $520 a month, said: "I had no more food to eat. I also got no money."
A doctor at SGH put her in touch with the Humanitarian Organisation for Migrant Economics (Home), and she has been living there since December. Her case is one of about 600 complaints from maids about non-payment of salaries received by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) each year for the past two years. Most involved the safekeeping of the money.
Her employer, who is single and has no children, used to keep $100 for her and pay her the rest. "She usually paid me on time... But she cannot pay me any more now," said Ms Mersi, the eldest child of farmers. She used to remit $340 to her parents and six siblings, aged between two and 27, every month. "My family at home is waiting for my money," she said.
This is the first case that Home has dealt with in which an employer cannot pay her maid because she is in a coma. Calling it unusual, Home's casework director, Ms Valli Pillai, said it "underlies the risk of safekeeping domestic workers' wages. It's a practice which (Home is) against".
"The Employment Act forbids (safekeeping), so this should be extended to domestic workers too," she added. Ms Mersi has tried approaching her employer's sister. "She visited my ma'am only once at home," said Ms Mersi. The second time they met was at the hospital. "She asked me whether I am getting paid, and I told her no. But I haven't heard from her any more," Ms Mersi said.
She said her employer has another relative, an aunt who visited her only twice, as far as Ms Mersi knows, but has never spoken to the maid. "I feel helpless," she said. "Now I am just waiting for my money. I don't even know when I will go back to see my family."
Ms Mersi, who had worked for two other families since 2011, said she had enjoyed working for her employer. "She scolded me when I did something wrong, but she also smiled at me and we could talk (in English)," she said. She did not mind the daily tasks involved in looking after her employer, a wheelchair-user who then weighed twice as much as Ms Mersi did and was only slightly taller than her petite 1.5m frame. "I hope my ma'am is okay, but I also miss my family. I wish I can have my money back too," she said.
Her agent, Ms Sharon Ng at Yanda Employment Agency in Chinatown, said she is helping in MOM's investigations. "We are also in touch with the charity who referred (Ms Mersi) to us to see how we can help get her pay." Investigations are ongoing, said MOM. Ms Mersi has been "informed that she can seek help from MOM should she require further assistance pending case resolution", a spokesman added.
Francis Chong -- Her employer's next of kin should step up to the plate to reimburse this loyal maid. All these people can only talk about caring. But when it comes down to it, they are full of hot air. They want the old people to live, but they are not there to provide for them.They all shirk from their responsibilities.
Deltamaris Sri Wulandari -- Never keep salary tht is belong to ur helper. If u do really want to help her to hv some saving. U can set a join bank account for ur helper. So if anything happen ur helper still able to witdraw her money.
Elaine Yeo -- Do you understand that her employer is in coma? It is not her employer's intention to withhold salary. Her employer may be a single working person. I agreed that in this case it is better for the helper to seek the agent's help to notify MOM and other authorities to help.
Deltamaris Sri Wulandari -- I understand. But do u read all the story too? Every month her employer hold 100dlrs of her salary for saving n sent 340 for her family back there in indonesia
Elaine Yeo -- Yes, the withholding of money is for the helper to remit the money back home. That is normally the arrangement the employer has with the helper. I really don't think this employer has any ill intention to the helper. It is just unfortunate to fall into coma and I am certain that the employer never wanted for this to happen. The best thing is for the helper to contact the agent as the agents have fiduciary obligations to help the helper.
Nigel Woon -- Joint account? What a joke. Why not the keys to your safe so she can take her monthly salary herself?
Deltamaris Sri Wulandari -- Nigel Woon for ur information its very common here in singapore for employer to open a new bank account under employer n helper name. Wht is tht for u to be surpise abt? I hv too bfr. But now i dnt wnt anymore i open my own account in POSB. The money is belong to the helper. The employer just to put her name in it so she can monitor their helper spending. Thts why i choose to open my own bank account
Ann Lee -- One solution is to make Giro a mandatory way of paying salaries otherwise MOM disapprove the employment.. In tis way, employers's dun need to fork out entire sum at one time or refund.. Oso payment is on time.. Apart from this unusual case of coma, most of the complaints will be solved.
Beverly Goh -- Elaine Yeo The employer is not "withholding the helper's money for her to remit". According to the article, the employer withholds $100 out of the $520 pay (doesn't say for what). The helper gets the remainder $420, out of which she remits $340 to her family. So the $100 kept by the employer every month is clearly wrong. As Deltamaris Sri Wulandari mentioned, the employer should help the helper open a bank account instead if she wanted her to save some money. I don't even think the employer needs to be a joint account holder. Ann Lee's suggestion of mandatory GIRO is good.
Jennifer Lee -- There's no reason to open joint acc. Do you allow your boss to open joint acc with you for the purpose of paying your salary? No right? So why some people impose on their helper this stupid and unreasonable rule. Salary belongs to helper 100%, no deduction is allowable unless to repay advance/loan. If you are the employee and would not agree or think it's right that your employers impose certain rules on you, like expecting you to work 7 days a week without rest day, how can you then turn around and expect your helpers to follow the same rules?
Donn Chin -- Ai ya this one employer sick not due to safe keeping what. Safekeeping will not go wrong if it's for the right intention like if the maid scare money lost, bank need minimum amount which they won't meet if they send home every month, when they want to buy something for themselves.
Andrew Singh -- MOM can consider mandating employers to deposit the full salaries for the entire years of contracts with the banks to pay the maids their monthly salaries. If the maids contracts are terminated due to conduct or attitudes reasons, the banks must refund the balance to the employers with interest.
Charlotte Chow -- That is akin to telling your company to do the same for your salary. Why would that even be a logical suggestion?
And you probably think everyone with a maid is affluent and of good credit ratings.
Some struggle to look after their parents who have a stroke. They have bills to pay. They have to get a maid. They have to work to pay the bills and the maid. Banks have so much interest that that is additional burden if people borrow.
Your ridiculous sweeping statements with a hint of self entitlement is disgusting.
Winter: My first maid, thinking it was to our best interest (each salary payment and withdrawals clearly documented) that I open a personal POSB account in her name and I put all her monthly salary in it. Maid has her own ATM card to draw money (I don't know her PIN number) whenever she need. I didn't know the bank was eating $2 each month when the monthly balance fell below $500 per month. In other words, FDW had to withhold more than one month of her salary in order to keep a POSB bank account, just like our CPF being withhold till we retire.... feels good? At that time, a FDW salary was only S$340. Anybody in good mind/goodwill shouldn't suggest FDW to use GIRO, unless banks remove the clause of minimum saving amount in each bank account. Employer has no duty to deposit $500 to help FDW save money. What if maid withdraws that amount and disappear? Take note, POSB charged cancellation fee on my first maid for failing to maintain that account for more than six months.
Mediation service for foreign domestic workers to open in Feb, 7 Dec 2015
The idea of a mediation service for foreign domestic workers (FDWs) and their employers first came to Mr William Chew’s mind when employment agencies suggested that his organisation could take on the role of a neutral third party in such disputes.
So in September, the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (FAST) decided to expand its scope to include these services. Since then, it has tackled four cases.
Mr Chew, FAST’s executive director, told TODAY that one such dispute involved a runaway worker who missed home. “We brought in her employers and employment agency, and found out that the maid was not emotionally prepared,” he said. She was sent home eventually, and the matter was resolved amicably.
The service is expected to be launched officially in February, with five mediators on board. Training on labour laws and foreign domestic worker rights will be given to them beforehand. For a start, mediation sessions will be held once every fortnight, in the FAST clubhouse at Tanjong Pagar.
This comes on the back of FAST achieving Institution of Public Character (IPC) status last week, allowing its donors to receive tax deductions. “One of the most important reasons (for our application) is that we need donors,” said Mr Chew. “Most donors give to more conventional types of charities. For maids, it’s quite a challenge to get corporate donors. With the IPC, we hope to encourage more corporate donors to give.”
Since its establishment in 2005, FAST has conducted subsidised training for more than 66,000 FDWs, and received nearly 4,000 calls on its 24-hour hotline, Minister of State for Manpower Sam Tan said at a FAST event on Sunday (Dec 6).
He added that a recent Manpower Ministry survey, involving about 1,000 FDWs, found that 97 per cent of the respondents were satisfied working here. About four in five said they would recommend Singapore to their friends and relatives as a workplace.
The survey was conducted this year, and more results will be released at a later date.
Lianhe Zaobao 联合早报 7 Dec 2015
According to a survey conducted by Ministry of Manpower (MOM), 97% of Spore domestic helpers/maids are happy to work here. 20% mentioned they will recommend friends to Spore as an ideal place to work.
Surprised to see this post in my blog:
Greetings to all worthy Employers and Mistresses,
I am really ashamed and want to apologize before all respected Owners and Mistresses on behalf of all helpers & servants. Shame to the complaining servants in this blog who do not understand their position and duty and cause troubles to worthy Owners. I am a domestic servant in Pakistan and I must say that servants in Hong Kong and Singapore are paid 10 times higher than we are paid here. I earn $70-80 in Pakistan on monthly basis. i work 16 to 18 hours daily and always available to the needs of my Owners in nights as well. I clean toilets daily, polishing shoes, cleaning, dusting, car washing, kitchen help, shopping, taking kids to school, handling infants and other duties.
I am doing all this because I am a servant and its duty to fulfill orders of my Owners. I have accepted my duty and now being servant, will of my owners should be the purpose of my living. Regarding Owners behavior, I must say that we servants live at their premises so we must never complain about their terms and ways. My Mistress abuses me most of time, its natural for Owners to become angry over servants silly mistakes, so I properly apologize before my Mistress and most of the time receive punishment as well. But I never forgets in apologizing and receiving punishment that it was caused as a result of my behavior, mistake or fault. So I fear my Mistress and never tries to commit mistake again so in the end its for my betterment and benefit. If I will be fit and obedient, she will refer me to somebody else for service as well.
So, servant should be like a servant and Owner should an Owner, this difference assure proper delivery of duties and its for our (servants) benefits. We are not equal to our Owners and must know our place.
I beg to know from Owners here that is cleaning shoes on daily basis should be duty of a servant. Just asking an opinion from worthy Mistresses here, I do this on daily basis. infact most of time I am in my Owners shoes cleaning and polishing.
Once again my apologies to all worthy Mistresses who have been suffered by their servants but we are not all same.
Kind response from worthy Mistresses is appreciable for this servant.
Winter: I do not agree that employer should keep maid's salary. How FDW uses, overspends is her problem. FDW is an adult who should learn to manage her money. We shouldn't encourage FDW to act like a child. Maid shouldn't pretend or cry no money because of her poor money sense. You may feel you're helping her to save but to her, she may feel you're controlling her hard earned money and every time she needs access to her OWN money, she has to report/seek your permission.
JA has been spending money .... I felt unnecessary but JA felt she has to go home each year and buy lots of old/new clothes to send home... shipping a carton home, excluding her 20 kg check-in luggage and 7 kg hand luggage. I thought JA will eventually learn to manage her own money (after my 2-year nagging) but she still claim no money .....hoping one day I would be soften and give her extra $. Each time JA tries her trick, I reminded her:
- You are paid promptly each month, your money is yours, how you spend I don't care. No money is your fault!
- You are already 38 years old, a mother of 2 teens and should know what to spend and when to save for rainy days.
- Any money required by your embassy or related to OEC is your duty to pay. I don't owe you anything as per Spore contract.
- If the salary I'm paying you is too little to support your lifestyle, you're free to find a better employer (this is my message but I word it in a simpler form). Don't compare me with your cousin (claimed her fresh maid cousin is paid $650) or friend's employer. What I am offering is as per agreement/contract. I am not a perfect employer but I don't agree I have short-changed you.
JA pulled this trick again for her coming home leave. She asked me who pays for OEC. She's holding a multiple OEC, used once last year and intend to use this year (stated valid till 2016), thought can use but one agency staff said can use as long as there are 4 green copies ... JA has. Last weekend, another agency staff told her can't use because the new OEC is a piece of white paper. Advised JA to take half day leave on a weekday, take her passport to the embassy and ask (I'll have to apply leave to take care of my girl during her absence) ... the other half day utilise on her usual Sunday but JA is not keen ... so my problem? Your Sunday is precious, can be taken away? JA made it seemed like I'm not 'helpful' enough. I am not interested to take the extra mile and visit her embassy on her behalf because I am not a carrot waiting to be chopped nor intend to open my ears, be cornered by filipinos and lectured how to become a desirable employer as per source country!
I reminded JA, any money required by your embassy is your duty to pay. If your own country wants your money, you want to go home every year, you have to give feed them, satisfy their greed. I am implying "You have money nowhere to spend, they are ideal receivers. Miss your family, this is the price you pay."
My first Filipino FDW, I opened a POSBank savings account in her name (not joint, maid's own personal account). She holds her own ATM card and PIN. The flaw about this is POSBank requires all account holders to maintain minimum $500 savings, otherwise admin fee will be levied each month. This is to the maid's disadvantage.
FDW knows how to use her brain to scheme yet doesn't know what is best for her? I think most maids know what's the best ... sponge on the employer, rely on any ill-fated/soft-hearted employer, pretend pitiful/poor .... I refuse to be a FDW's nanny! I am just an employer. I can give her lots of advice.... nag and nag, print on paper for her 'short-memory' but I am definitely not a 38 years old FDW's MOTHER! Also by safekeeping a maid's salary, the snowballed amount can be 'heart pinching'.
Safe keeping of maids’ pay can be tricky, Straits Times, 2 May 2015
Mrs Felicia Wong pays her domestic worker, Ms Nurhaniyah, through a bank account and keeps her bank card for her, at the latter’s request. Ms Nurhaniyah says she is worried she will misplace the card and has no concerns about the arrangement as she trusts her employers.
About 600 complaints from maids about non-payment of salaries were received by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) each year for the last two years, and most involved safe keeping of the money.
Releasing the figures in response to queries from The Straits Times, MOM reiterated that it discourages safe keeping of pay by employers, to minimise misunderstandings and avoid disputes.
Earlier last month, a Singaporean woman was fined $32,000 - the highest so far - for not paying her maid for more than a year. During the two-day trial, Tang Lee Sung, 39, said Ms Astrilia Agustin had agreed to Tang's mother keeping her salary for her and paying her later.
But Tang and her mother did not pay Ms Astrilia when her employment contract ended as they claimed that she did not perform her tasks well. The arrears amounted to more than $5,700.
According to regulations, employers have to pay domestic workers their salaries no later than seven days after the last day of the salary period, which cannot exceed one month.
While safe keeping is a private arrangement, the salary must still be paid in full when the helper asks for it, said MOM.
Failure to do so is tantamount to unlawful withholding of salary, and the employer could be fined up to $10,000 and/or imprisoned for up to a year. As of June last year, there were 218,300 foreign maids in Singapore.
Out of 10 maids whom The Straits Times spoke to, five said they sign a document drawn up by their employers or employment agencies on their payday but do not receive the cash upfront.
Ms Tini, 23, from Indonesia said: "I ask my (employer) for the money to send back and she will give it to me, or else she keeps." According to the Indonesian Embassy, more than $227,000 in unpaid salaries was owed to domestic workers last year.
To protect both employers and maids, MOM encourages them to sign a written employment contract specifying the pay amount, mode of payment and date. Another way is for "a licensed employment agent to sign off and declare that everything has been accounted for, so employers cannot send maids off to escape from all this", suggested Nation Employment's managing director Gary Chin.
If employers prefer safe keeping and both parties agree, it should be all right, provided there is a strong enough deterrent to prevent employers from defaulting, he added.
My employer trusts me and I trust her: Maid
When the Wongs first decided to hire a maid to take care of their newborn son, they were uncomfortable with having someone unfamiliar at home. But after half a year, Mr James Wong and his wife Felicia - both teachers in their 30s - saw Ms Nurhaniyah, 28, as a friend. Ms Nurhaniyah in turn trusts her employers enough for them to keep her bank card - which holds all the money she has earned in Singapore. The idea of paying Ms Nurhaniyah through a bank account came from Mrs Wong's aunt. It was mainly for convenience as payment was a monthly, recurring process, said Mr Wong. Added Mrs Wong: "We also wanted something in black and white."
Ms Nurhaniyah agreed to the payment method and also asked the Wongs to hold her bank card for her. She said: "I don't know how to use (the ATM). I'm also scared of (misplacing) the card." Every month, when she needs money, she asks Mrs Wong for about $100. Her expenses include school fees, food and calling cards. She is pursuing her Secondary 4 studies at Sekolah Indonesia Singapura in Siglap. She sends money back to West Java once every three months.
Her priority is to save as much of her $550 monthly pay as she can to build a house. She bought a plot of land in Indonesia with her savings from working here from 2005 to 2008. She is also saving for her three-year-old son at home. She thinks of safe keeping of her pay as a way for her to take home as much money as she can. While working for her previous employer, she had to pay for everything - from shampoo to clothes - so she could not save. "But here, 'Mummy' pays for me so I don't spend so much money." When asked if she was concerned that Mrs Wong might not return the bank card to her, Ms Nurhaniyah said: " 'Mummy' trusts me and I trust her."
Mrs Wong said: "I can always give her back (the bank card), but it's whether she wants it or not."
17 Aug 2014
Peace and harmony cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.
If FDW kept thinking she was forced to work and given a job scope that she was unwilling to deliver for at least 2 years, no matter how understanding or tolerating her employer is, FDW will soon cause a boiling point. Thinking she could get a FDW job with lesser duties and shorter working hours or her ass will forever be covered by activist and MOM, no matter how bad/lazy she is ... all these unrealistic 不切实际 好高吾远 不负责任 mentality won't make any FDW become a responsible, desirable and an appreciative worker. Good Life isn't an entitlement for FDW. 不劳而获 should be discouraged. When you are thankful for what you have, you are rewarded with more. I doubt all employers have hearts like stone, unkind or can't see your valuable contribution.
You don't work hard and meet expectations, you don't gain any reward. Don't need a FDW job, go back to home country, don't be glued to Spore and whining about your bad decision to work as FDW. You felt you deserve something better, go and tell your government and agency. Get your government and agency to please you, make you feel like a respected FDW-princess or living creature... if anybody dares to hire you.
每个人的心情都时常变化，有时早晚都会不同。有的人善于转化心情，能让阴霾变成阳光；有的人则易受外界影响，容易朝无辜人士发泄 如： 雇主的孩子。你错误的决定 (当女佣）也可严重影响心情 或未来的工作态度与人生观。 心情是可以创造的。心情不好不代表你有权力 迁怒于人他人。。。无论你是女佣或雇主。 你的心情， 对生活 对雇主的谅解在于 你有多务实， 正面的想法与感恩的心。 没有人的心情永远阳光灿烂， 人生没有十全十美， 一诺千金 对得起自己， 活的问心无愧 应该就对了。 世上不应该有人刻意说谎 还理直气壮 认为自己没错或借口被雇主诱惑/逼迫成为低等女佣 (人类)。很多女佣在埋怨自己命不好 没有遇到好的机会， 好的雇主。其实，机会可能一直都在，只是她们没有尝试去认识它，诚心接受它。 一个拒绝， 一个错误的工作态度 或不切实际的比较 将影响她们和他人。
人会感到痛苦，个中原因就是没有深刻了解“足够”的意思，只有觉得够了，才会“足”。 永不知足，或索求太多，让内心填不满 。。。是贪心。能对自己说“够”，是人生智慧，是豁达胸怀，也是保全自己的秘诀。从大局出发，从大处着眼，包容待人，塑造良好的自我形象，获得他人的认可，为自己赢得更多的口碑和影响力。别把心给丢了!
当女佣虽然不是令人羡慕的职业但并不可耻也不可悲 （以你的才华，留在自己的国家会更好吗?）。以女佣为职业是你的选择，雇主不认识你，没法逼你离开温暖窝 离乡背井 成为不令人羡慕的弱势女佣。无论做了什么决定 都该承担后果。若你真的身处水深火热 遇到虐待狂雇主， 我同情你， 相信好多人会奋不顾身 无条件愿意帮你。 可惜， 被欺雇主 永远不会有人奋不顾身 无条件愿意鼎力帮助。
Winter: Repatriating a FDW at short notice
To you, it could mean it's the end of an ordeal because you're repatriating a bad maid or FDW unsuitable to work as maid - behaved more like a princess, didn't recycle her to another unfortunate employer and allow agency to earn another round of easy money... which means you deserve good karma/blessings.
But if you are sending your FDW home without giving her prior warnings/reminders for her mistakes .... all the while, she thought she's a perfect maid, lived in illusion thinking you're satisfied with her performance ... maybe you're swallowing your grievances, maybe you felt FDW won't change even if you tried to counsel her, gave her chances but a leopard can't change its spots ... I don't know the actual situation that resulted in 'instant/short notice termination'. I personally think a bad/lousy maid should be terminated on the spot if employer can 'afford the losses' (if any). Don't allow bad apples to remain in Spore. FDWs who want to come to Spore must have the right working mentality, not holidaying mindset. Don't let them think we owe them a good living.
Some employers may thought allowing maid to be transferred is like a time bomb waiting to explode. You don't know how soon she will be out, she may take up her 21 days 'leisure time' to shop for employers. While waiting to be transferred, maid doesn't need to work but you still need to pay levy, continue her insurance coverage and pay her lodging fee imposed by agency.... can't cut the relationship instantly, very draggy procedure ... the ordeal cost more than a one way air ticket.... I fully agree all these harsh conditions are to employer's disadvantage due to MOM's pro-maid and pro-agency policies. If this maid gets hurt while waiting to be fished by another employer ... you're liable! It is unfair but there's nothing we can do unless you change the decision makers in MOM/PAP. To reduce your damages and fears, you certainly can repatriate a FDW at instant/short notice ... you are trying to protect yourself, what's wrong? There is no activist, no organsation or a good Ministry of Manpower to side you ... you are on your own to be freed from the clutches of FDW! MOM is already so harsh on employers, why should you allow yourself to be bullied or be at people's mercy since you've a better option?
If the maid is really not a bad FDW and you are sending her home at short notice, do you know how she feels? Personally, a good helper deserves to stay in Spore. I won't say the poor (poverty) FDWs should be given sympathy, numerous chances to repent ... they are not fit, some FDWs refused to learn the right ways and complaining frequently .... didn't reflect on themselves, thought they are wonderful and desirable helpers! Stop spoiling FDWs! Being poor is not a good reason for FDWs to come to Spore and sponge on us. Generosity and kindness are not for bad human beings. FDWs' govt owe them good lives, not us! When a FDW delivers what I taught and expected her to do, she is a perfect helper. Don't give me bad face when reprimanded for her mistakes. Don't tell me "I am a human and deserve some respect or human rights" ..... don't try to be funny or play mastermind games. If you agreed to work in my house, you do it and do them well!
Think of the money FDW paid her agencies (she has to work for free for so many months), she hasn't break even or started to receive a salary ... still running a loss but you are repatriating her for no good reason. To me, it is quite cruel to repatriate somebody without letting her know what mistakes she did. Probably, she felt you're nagging or too demanding. Maybe maid thought those mistakes or forgetful incidences were no big deal ... but at least you did voice out and get them to sink inside her brain. Nowadays, I made my FDWs write down their own repeated mistakes so that they can't deny. Maids can really act forgetful and innocent..... believe them totally, you're in for trouble ... my lessons learnt! If FDW doesn't want to write, eg M (ex-Indonesian maid), it just showed her unwillingness to change for the better and become a satisfactory helper.... nobody is perfect so I am happy just to have somebody who does her work according to how I trained. Satisfactory means if she said she cannot cook very well but improved her cooking as days go by or maintained a 70% standard. Bad means she stopped learning and going backwards ... from bad to worse..... expecting me to accept her to way she wants to be. 80% is good (did 80% of what I said, followed the training I gave), 90% is extremely good and 100% in my rating is of course, Perfect (followed strictly, 100% according to my training and accommodating to my needs) .... not attainable, where to find a perfect FDW?
If you encountered a clever but not-too-bad maid who complains to her embassy, agency or pro-maid MOM, what's going to happen? You have no grounds to fight the activists or her agency. Yes, you are paying for her air ticket. Yes, she's employed under your name and you can terminate her work permit online any time but in terms of humanity, shouldn't you have a chat or some counselling sessions before kicking her out? My advise is, point out to your FDW when she is doing something wrong or acted forgetful, lazy, etc. Let her know such performance/attitude would mean she's not keen to work and you have the rights to send her home or be transferred out to another employer once your tolerate level hit its limit.
When I had my 2nd filipino who told me she's not keen to work in my house on the day I fetched her from agency, I was shocked, angry and felt 'myself stupid' but for the sake of both of us (we paid the fees), I decided to give her chances. Agency has no immediate replacement. Was told I need to keep No:2 for 21 days at least! She appeared not keen to stay and delivered tasks badly, was a cry baby (cried almost everyday), quite unhygienic and we had many chats ... eventually, I took my video recorder, asked her whether she was keen to work and her 'forced to work in my house by maid agency' excuse. I showed that video to agency (not forgetting to email our pro-maid MOM the unfair deal I got) to clear my miseries and demanded for partial refund of agency fee, as well as all outstanding maid loan. I was still made to pay lodging fee, MOM levy, continued her insurance coverage although it was FDW and agency's fault.
To avoid FDW making a scene, Employer may want to 'bribe' her with some termination money. Ensure your FDW walks thru the Airport immigration gate.... no turning back or 'escape route'!
Try not to give FDW a surprise termination. Let her know (mentally prepared) what are the reasons that could lead to work termination from the day she works for you 勿踩地雷. I would advise all Employers to set your house rules, Dos and Don'ts. Give FDW a clear direction so that she knows what you want. What you told her during interviews, I believe she has forgotten or confused with other prospective employers. Some may comment why employer so strict, so fussy, why need to 'spoon feed' FDWs ... the bad news is, some FDWs really behaved like big babies or stubborn woman. Example the way I mopped the floor is different from my FDW's ex-employers. It is my house, I have my own way. The tools and detergent I am using is different. The house I am living is just a 4-room HDB flat, others may be living in condominium; could be buying expensive brands (eg Dynamo) instead of house brands (Fairprice) so how can you compare? FDW works for me so if I pointed out her method is not what I want, she has to modify and do what I prefer .... that's what I mean by becoming a good helper, not a hard nut to crack. I don't need a FDW to tell me how she wants to do her chores and comparing me with her employers. Simple reason, it is my house, not hers or her ex-employers. Want to work for me, please don't be stubborn, just do what I have trained you.
To avoid misunderstanding, don't expect FDW to be automatic and know what is expected of her. Don't expect your maid, including those who claimed they are experience FDWs, to deliver what you want. Show her, demonstrate and get FDW to do task in your presence. If you thought by saying 'iron the clothes' and FDW should know your preference ..... you could be wrong. You can get FDW to iron one of the clothes and then rate it. Tell her what is your 'right way'. Her usual method may not be your right way. I am not being a perfectionist. If I asked for fish, don't buy me chicken .... got the logic? If I say buy me bee hoon dry, don't get me bee hoon soup .... understand?
Below is what Facebook maids felt if being repatriated at short notice:
Maid agents get 'dos and don'ts' about marketing maids
The Straits TimesWednesday, 16 Jul 2014
In a letter sent on Wednesday morning, it told them to not include words such as "cheap fees or promotional rates" in advertisements as this may "liken foreign domestic workers to merchandise that can be purchased".
The advisory is reproduced:
Dear Key Appointment Holders and EA Personnel,
We are concerned by incidences of insensitive advertising and inappropriate display of FDWs by EAs.
Insensitive Advertising by EAs
We understand that advertisements indicating very low agency fees are sometimes used among FDW-placing EAs to attract prospective employers. However, these advertisements which emphasise cheap fees, promotional rates, and/or discounts inadvertently give the impression that the FDWs are being marketed as merchandise. EAs should ensure that all advertising collaterals accord FDWs basic respect and human dignity.
EAs should therefore refrain from all forms of public advertising (eg on shop fronts and websites) that casts FDWs in an undignified light. EAs' advertisements should not make any mention of fees or liken FDWs to merchandise that can be purchased and replaced when found unsatisfactory. The Ministry considers such practices unacceptable. EAs can however continue to communicate the full schedule of their fees and policies to prospective clients upon their request.
Inappropriate Display of FDWs
While we understand that the presence of FDWs at EAs' premises is aimed at facilitating job matching between the FDWs and prospective employers, displaying FDWs in an undesirable manner (including having them sit outside EA premises) reinforces the impression that FDWs are commodities to be "tested" or traded is unacceptable to the Ministry.
The Ministry considers the practices listed above as potentially detrimental to FDWs, who are ultimately EAs' clients. The Commissioner of Employment Agencies has grounds to take action against EAs with such practices under Section 11(1)(c) of the Employment Agencies Act which states that an EA should not act in a manner likely to be detrimental to the interests of its clients.
EAs should therefore cease the above unacceptable practices with immediate effect. The Ministry will take action against EAs which persist in such undesirable practices.
Please contact us at Tel: 6438 5122 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org if you require any clarification.
Related posts to read further. Reader need to scroll to the relevant part with these keys words:
Maids 'on display'
Poor treatment by maid agency
A Myanmese's view via Facebook regarding Maids on Display
Channel News Asia - MOM also reiterated that it is unacceptable for agencies to display FDWs in an “undesirable manner” which gives the impression that FDWs are “commodities to be ‘tested’ or traded”, including the mentioning of fees. However, employment agencies can continue to communicate the full schedule of their fees and policies to prospective clients upon their request.
Since the warning was issued, some agencies were spotted taking down posters which emphasised low fees or discounts. Agencies Channel NewsAsia spoke with said the advisory would not affect their business strategies. One of them is Homekeeper, which an Al Jazeera report says treated its workers like "commodities", although MOM says it has found no evidence of wrongdoing.
"For us, we don't need to take much action, because all along, our marketing strategy is that we do not advocate price wars," said Homekeeper's General Manager Mark Chin. "We will tell the customers what we can provide (in terms of) the different types of training."
Some agencies have also welcomed MOM's advisory, saying that it creates a level playing field. "It's fair competition for all the maid agencies in Singapore," said Flora Sha, Bukit Timah Branch Manager at United Channel Employment Agency.
Other than insensitive advertising, agencies are also not allowed to display workers in an undesirable manner, such as having them sit outside their offices. Since the advisory was issued, MOM officers have been on the ground to check that employment agencies are adhering to the rules. Action will be taken against agencies which fail to comply, MOM added, which include penalties such as demerit points. Uncooperative agencies may also have their licences suspended or revoked.
"MOM proactively audits Singapore employment agencies," said an MOM spokesperson, "and those found to have acted in a manner detrimental to the interest of the FDWs, will be dealt with in accordance to the Employment Agencies Act. "EAs which flout Sec 11(1)(c) of the EA Act, which states that an EA should not act in a manner likely to be detrimental to the interests of its clients, may be issued demerit points. Recalcitrant EAs may have their licences suspended or revoked."
The Association of Employment Agencies says the advisory is long overdue. Its president K Jayaprema said "Every EA will definitely take it very seriously, because it's not just an advisory to tell them 'We advise you to be mindful and follow certain ways of managing your business'. You can see that they have spoken of legislation. They have to conform to what MOM has requested for. So we are definitely going to see a lot of improvement in the industry."
They're human, stop 'selling' them, Mypaper, 17 Jul 2014
But the product on sale is not from the bargain bin. It is someone who could soon help you out at home.
To put an end to such marketing, the Government has advised agencies that they should not portray foreign domestic workers (FDWs) as "commodities" to be "tested or traded". And in another move that could lighten the burden that falls on FDWs when they find jobs here, the Association of Employment Agencies (Singapore) has proposed cutting the upfront fees that employers pay.
Its president, K. Jayaprema, told My Paper: "We have sent out a recommendation to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) saying that the upfront fee that employers pay on behalf of the foreign domestic worker should be limited to the local two months' agency fees that is approved by MOM. This will mean they will not heavily be in debt."
Currently, the placement fees can run into the thousands and is deducted from the FDW's salary every month. She also said that the Government's proposal to treat maids with respect would improve the image of the entire industry. Agencies have been told not to run advertisements which emphasise cheap fees, promotional rates and discounts. They should also refrain from having the foreign domestic workers sit outside their offices.
This comes after a news report pointed out that maids are being "displayed" and treated as commodities by some agencies here. It is also important to take action against such agencies, and to step up on public education, said Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home) executive director Jolovan Wham. He said: "Many employers don't respect domestic workers. We expect them to be at our beck and call. We see workers who put in 15 hours of work every day."
John Gee, who does research at migrant worker organisation Transient Workers Count Too, noted: "Singapore compares itself to the most developed nations when it comes to economic progress, and this should also be the case when it comes to how we treat and view foreign domestic workers. "In countries like Europe and America, there is a cap on their working hours and they have mandatory days off. Those are the basic standards."
Mr Gee added: "It's easy to take foreign domestic workers for granted. It's very convenient to have someone to do your washing and cleaning. You can easily sit back and give them more work and think this is the natural order of things."
MP Zaqy Mohamad, who sits on the Government Parliamentary Committee for Manpower, said that the advisory "sets the tone for us to respect foreign domestic workers here". "While it targets employment agencies, we have to look beyond scrutinising them. We also have to treat our workers well - we don't want a culture where we degrade or cheapen what they do."
An MOM spokesman said that the ministry "proactively audits Singapore employment agencies". Those found to have "acted in a manner detrimental to the interest of domestic workers" may be issued demerit points, and "recalcitrant" ones may have their licences suspended or revoked.
The Business of Making Money from Maids
HOME: Singapore’s Employment Agencies Act stipulates that agencies are allowed to charge a maximum of two months salary as a fee to foreign workers entering Singapore, yet most workers end up with a debt that is much higher, either knowingly or unknowingly. Singaporean agencies justify charging higher fees by claiming it is not a debt but a loan, or by claiming that they are merely asking workers to pay off fees charged by agencies overseas, for which they have no responsibility.
Jessel is a domestic worker from the Philippines currently staying at the HOME shelter. She shares with us her story of her agent, who when she complained about having been deceived with a false contract, send Jessel a text message stating ‘I told you before my business is making money’.
‘Getting married at an early age is quite difficult. At 19, I gave birth to my eldest daughter, and the following year to my second. Life was hard with my husband having no permanent work. So I decided to apply for work abroad, in Singapore. Applying to work in another country takes time, money and patience. My first attempt failed and I had no choice but to stay with my family. I gave birth to my third and fourth child.
At that point, life got even harder. When my youngest son turned two I decided to apply again to work in Singapore. I had to pay six months of salary to the agent, but my employer let me pay small deductions every month. I was lucky, my employers were good people. I felt at home with them, even if I did not have any days off and they did not allow me a handphone. After two years, my contract finished, and I had to find another employer. I did not go home to take a vacation because I wanted to earn money. To transfer I had to pay two months of salary to the agent again.
My second employers were good people too. They treated me as family. When my mam gave birth, I felt like I was having a baby too. After a year and a half, I made a mistake that I regret badly. I decided to go back home. My mam wanted me to stay, and I am now very sorry she agreed to send me home.
Life back home was difficult, as I did not have any income and could not provide for my four kids. I felt so down. I applied for a job in Singapore again. Processing went very fast and after only one month I was back in Singapore. I was very shocked when the agent told me seven months of my salary were going to be deducted as an agent fee. I did not get to see my contract until I had been working for the new employer for three weeks already. By that time I had little choice but to sign it. I felt that I had been fooled. Why had they not told me this when I was still in my own country? They had said that because I had worked in Singapore before, I would be a direct hire and would only get four months of salary deductions, spread out over a longer period. I had trusted them to tell the truth. Another mistake.
This time, I had left for Singapore together with a friend, through the same agency. My friend’s contract stated she would pay four months of salary deductions, and that they were going to be spread out over ten months, just like we were promised. Me, I would not have any money to send home to my family for seven months.
I asked my agent, who had turned out to be my mam’s sister, why my loan was so much higher than my friends. The agent said my friend was different, but when I asked why, she would not answer me. Neither did she answer me when I asked to go home. When I told the agent I was very disappointed in her, she texted me back, saying: ‘I told you before my business is making money.’
I thought I was very strong. I thought I had patience. But now, I started to feel unhappy with my work. Every time my mam raised her voice to her kids, every time I even saw her, I felt nervous. I could not fight the thoughts anymore about my own kids, now I could not send them any money. If I can’t send any money to my kids, they will starve. I was worrying so much I could not work properly. I felt depressed. I wanted to go home. That is why I ran away .’
HOME has managed to negotiate a reduction of Jessel’s agency fee, and she is hoping to find a new employer soon. It is common for domestic workers to find upon arrival in Singapore that agent’s fees are higher than agreed. Since contracts are either substituted, or not signed until after they have arrived at their employer’s house, domestic workers find they have little choice but to accept the new conditions.
Singapore’s Employment Agencies Act stipulates that agencies are allowed to charge a maximum of two months salary as a fee to foreign workers entering Singapore, yet most workers end up with a debt that is much higher, either knowingly or unknowingly. Singaporean agencies justify charging higher fees by claiming it is not a debt but a loan, or by claiming that they are merely asking workers to pay off fees charged by agencies overseas, for which they have no responsibility.
The Philippines government regulations stipulate that domestic workers should not be charged any agency fee. By allowing agencies to charge up to 8 months salary, and more in some instances, the Singapore government has contravened its own laws and also violated the Philippine government’s regulations.
rhealyn alonzo: My agent also the same charged me 6mos deduction it was so unfair..this happening must pulished to news and let all the employers and agency knws about it..thank you.more power to your office.
Nixon Darlington Umblas: I have a lot of friends who are in the same predicament as Jessel have gone through. Talking to them, I’ve come to know that most of them do not know what to do with their unsatisfactory predicament. It’s nice to hear, an organization such as HOME is out there to readily extend some support and help.
iksrahm Animeg: Singapore agencies,will process homeleave and charge us 4 1/4mos.salary dduction.
Ulol Ka Na Magnanakaw: I have a 7 months salary deductions... My agency take advantage of us!!! After i finished my my deduction salary they called mo to signa the blank sheet of parer for how many pages! That was against the law I WANT TO SCREAM AND PUT THE PAPER ON THE RUBBISH BUT still i cannot do because am here in singapore they still can hold my neck! When i come home ds Agency will stop their craziness!!! i want to make a move for our justice being a maid.
Alejandro Ruizdelacuesta: So what can be done? Can a collective claim be brought on Singapore courts on behalf of the workers?
If the Act stipulates a maximum charge, then this is beyond the realm of freedom of contract and goes from being a civil contractual dispute to an administrative one. The case should be referred to the Administrative institution that implemented the Act. At the same time the case of people like Ulol above, which show blatant abuse and fraud by coercion and intimidation, I think should be taken to small claims court. I expect that she cannot be represented but she can be assisted in filing and presenting her claim.
Mariz Casiping Kashem: Dans agency collect 5 month salary deduction if your from philippine but if you change employer her in sg 2 month salary..they only say but the agencies not follow..even indonesian maid also pay 5month or more..
Rrhecy Yam Garde: My agency took 7 1/2 months of my salary, that's equivalent to s$3,210..im finishing my contract few months from now.what should I do ???any legal suggestions pls.
Roselyn Pastidio: How could we do? Complain then nobody listened and nver take actions,.suppose to be all agency hv standard minimum deductions,minimum wages,.as per m.o.m and both country sides regulations to follows?.
Heaven Bye Urside: dan's agency charge me 8months
I went Der ask f I change employer how much it cost...they told me I pay 2months... coz finish already my contract my current employer they went back on their country so I need to change employer....
HOME: Even though agencies are not supposed to charge more than 2 months, the additional costs are labelled as 'loans' and MOM allows that, unfortunately.
Analiza Arcojada: im months and half salary deduction here in singaporw ... and my agent take from me thw contract document said latwr Ii will gve it back to you but until now she never return she has so many alibys about my doc... please
how to get from her I want to get my contract doc please help me... thnks
Janvier Lee: Well, MOM allowed the employment agencies to do for the past decade. Anyway, it boils down the repeated suggestions made by the public several few years ago.
1. Orange Law to allow maids to try the new home and be tested for 48 hours. So there is no need to display them and their skills like exhibits.
2. When EITTHER party finds it not suitable, then the deal is OFF. No need to sign the Employer and Maid Agreement.
3. During the 48 hours, not a single cent of agency fee is paid. It saves the hassle of getting refund, disagreement to make payments for maids behalf . .
4. Allow this 4 hours for the employer to show proof that a GIRO application is made to pay maids salary.
5. Ensure that the Employment Agency has someone who can translate English to Indonesian/ Myanmar language to the maid.
6. Set a 90 days Orientation Plan for the maid. Both parties must have the same expectation.
* * * * * * * * * *
Extracted from MJ's Facebook. If you happen to see your FDW's name appearing in my extract .... you, as an employer better find out what sort of good advice she has been brainwashed to believe. Being over smart and trying to manipulate you is not a good helper. Maid can demand, negotiate nicely but not showing you the attitude of Employer owes her a great deal!
Mahal Jat: SUBTLE BUT POWERFUL TECHNIQUES TO NEGOTIATE YOUR SALARY & OFF DAYS WITH EMPLOYERS
Many girls are shy to negotiate with employer as they think they are asking for too much or they do not want to offend the employer or lose the job. Here are some subtle techniques, used by even corporate executives.
Most important things are salary, your off days and curfew hours. Instead of asking directly, always ask INDIRECTLY in such a 'leading" manner that employer will themselves make their offer before you let your expectations be known. Always try to get the employer to disclose their RANGE (not fixed amount but RANGE of amount) before they ask you about your expectations.
1. OFF DAYS
indirectly ask them "sir/mam, which are my off days or how many off days...". You may have only sundays off in mind but generous employer may offer "all sundays and public holidays off" even before you mentioned your expectations. In case they asked you first, always say all sundays off and may be pubic holidays too (make it sound tentative).
Winter: In Spore, FDWs are not entitled to paid off days for all public holidays. Also, off day is not all Sundays, it can be a weekday, depending on what you've agreed with your Employer. The poster MJ made mistake and mislead others, thus, make maids felt they are short-changed/cheated. MJ is a foreign talent who proclaimed himself as an Indian expat. You know how expat behaves in Spore .... so there is nothing wrong to say 'NO' to your demanding or pushy FDW. Any employer who is in doubt, browse MOM's handbook. Don't just agree because your maid or 'her friend/MOM' said so. You are just being kind and extremely generous if you can afford to give all Sundays and Public Holidays as paid rest days to your FDW.
Q: Must the FDW's rest day fall on a sunday?
MOM's answer: You and your FDW can mutually agree on which day of the week her rest day should fall on. It does not have to be a Sunday. As rest days typically fall on Sundays, if you prefer your FDW to take her rest days on other days, it is best that you reach an
agreement with her before she starts employment with you.
2. EXTENDED CURFEW HOURS
Same way, ask "what are the curfew hours". They may say, 8am to 10pm already or may offer for u to stay out on Sat night. he he he ... if not, and if employer is unreasonable and says 10am to 6pm (too low, you must not do any work on your off day and you must get full day off, min 8am till 8pm or even 10pm, not just 8 hours from 10am to 6pm). In case they asked you first, always say 8am till late e.g. 8 or 10pm.
Winter: In Spore, as per MOM, employer and FDW can discuss on some light duties to be carried during FDW's rest days.
Q: How many hours of rest constitute a rest day, and what time does the rest day span across?
MOM's answer: Most employers provide their FDWs with at least eight hours of continuous break from work. As work arrangements in a domestic household setting are varied, you should discuss and mutually agree with your FDW on the time and duration of her rest day.
Q: Can i ask my FDW to do light chores on her rest day?
MOM's answer: Work arrangements in a domestic household setting are varied. You and your FDW should work out a mutual arrangement that is reasonable for both parties. Generally, you may ask your FDWs to perform light duties.
3. SALARY RANGE: Never mention fixed amount, but mention a wide range
If thay ask for salary, and your expectation is $600 and always say "I am expecting $600 to $800" and let employer decide, YOU WILL BE SURPRISED THAT A LOT OF EMPLOYER WILL OFFER MORE THAN YOUR EXPECTATIONS e.g. offer many employer $700 or $800. If an employer offers less than Sg$600, then let them know that it is a LEGAL REQUIREMENT by Pinas/Indonesian embassy to have min monthly salary of US$400 = Sg$600 and your contract must be authenticated/stamped/endorsed by your embassy and let employer know that embassy will not stamp the contract if salary is below MINIMUM MANDATED level.
Winter: In Spore, only expat offers ridiculous salary such as $700 or $800 per month. Expats are rich, paid few times more than locals and able to use their money to spoil the FDW's market. US$400 is equivalent to S$499, not S$600. Go online to use latest currency converter or visit any bank/forex exchange to see who is trying to sow discord. Please don't be dumb and be mislead by people who are oblivious. Your greediness will result in a sour relationship between yourself and your not-too-bad employer. Others are smiling at your stupidity. If you end up leaving your current employer and need to find a new one, both you and employer have to pay agency fee to find a new relationship. You'll cry if you land in the house of a bad employer! Your friends and activists are not going to minimise your losses or 'polish your bad luck'.
Be flexible, dont be shy to ask or negotiate. Negotiation is all about trading offers until both parties mutually agree. Do not accept the offer, if you are not happy. If they offer lower salary then ask more off days including public holidays and extended hours, give n take.
Remember, MONEY IS A RELATIVE THING. RICHNESS IS A RELATIVE THING. Asking for $100 or $200 may seem too much but it is NOT too much for an employer who is earning $5000 (local employers) or expat/local employers who may be earning $10,000 (lower income) or even $20,000 (reasonable) or $30,000 to $40,000 (people working as Director or VP for large multinational) a month. And, all these bosses get all SAT & SUN, PUBLIC HOLIDAY pluS 10 to 20 working days off every year from their own employer, so deep in their heart they know what you are asking for a very reasonable. An employer has to be truly a moronic idiot to think you deserve less humane treatment.
Winter: Goodness, $5000! I wish I have such salary. If hubby earns this, I don't need to employ FDW .... I can happily 'retire' and stay home. Sad to say, I don't earn this amount ... still far far away. Only expat/foreign talents earn S$5000 to $20,000 per month. If my FDW ask for $100 increment which is 23% pay hike, I'll tell her to pack and get lost!
My ex-maid J wanted a huge pay jump. She was employed at S$340 per month. I gave her a pay increment after her 1st year to S$400. Then when she was about to finish her contract, I gave her my increment proposal. She accepted but later claimed short-changed. Based on S$340 and her dreamed salary after finishing 2-year contract, her expectation of about 50% pay hike was scary. She didn't allow me to be prepared for the next wave and just dropped me a bomb! If J had endured till the 3rd year, I would have given her an adjustment based on continuous good performance. Based on her agency contract, J was supposed to be earning S$340 for 2 years. I gave her a pay adjustment at the end of her first year so seriously, I thought I wasn't that bad and have recognised her work performance. Comparing J and JA, I really miss J's cooking. Not that perfect because her trainer (me) isn't a great cook but compared to JA, she's definitely better. JA's cooking wasn't the kind "Practice makes Perfect". The more she displays her culinary skills, the worse the food turns out .... same dishes that she has cooked umpteen times but result was bad to worse or she forgets something. When JA takes her Sundays off, it is the time we buy pack food from coffee shops or food court. I can't task her with new dishes, she's not keen to learn well ... sick of eating the food that she cooks. J 'behaves' like a working cow. When I tell her to rest, she said she is used to work long hours. J's betrayal was really a tight slap on my face, mixture of sadness, disappointment and angry. Whereas, JA and M wouldn't want to miss any chance to rest/skive.
Heins Donor: I'm been working here with my employer for almost 7years.i start with 340 a month. now 500 a month, 2 Sundays day off per month, from 8am to to 7pm or 8 am to 5:pm to cook.... I'm to shy to talk about this matter. Because they think they always right...And I just put up with my employer until my contract end....don't worry they are good employer!
Rose Alonzo: Thanks po. .for da effort posting ths helpful strategy how to deal wth our employer.u r correct sir it shld be gve and take. .
Mahal Jat: ask them nicely but firmly for ur expectations...always NEGOTIATE, NEGOTIATE and NEGOTIATE...nicely but firmly..once or twice employer may turn down but when they think ur serious they listen to you.
How can u say an employer is good when they are exploiting poor girls (you) ... sorry, i dont hv respect for them. But u need to subtly, politely but firmly need to standup for urself, remind them nicely, again n again until they listen. There is a saying in Hindi language "even a mother does nto feed a baby milk unless baby ciies" which means sometimes a mother also does not know if the baby is hungry and wants milk/feed, i.e. you have to sometimes ask for what you want or else people may not have a clue what you want, they may not know ur not happy, they may assume ur ok with arrangements. Always communicate, know ur rights, stand firmly for your rights ina polite way and be persistent if employer ignore u 1st of 2nd time.
Sinamar Rabanal: Hmmm...makes me feel sick when I encounter women who can't even stand for their basic rights...ignorance is no excuse (especially filipinas) because we are not allowed to be out of the country to work without a high school certificate.
Mahal Jat: OFF DAY means ZERO WORK on that day ...you can let them know the law. its ur day for rest and recreation. They gotta ove their lazy bums if they want food n stuff on ur off day.
Sheiner Mhae Labay: "I wake up early then imust finished all my work before I leave the house I prepare their fud for lunch keep ready also for their dinner, omg how stupid my employer I leave the house by 9 something and must be backhome by 6 pm because I must br there to cook for dinner,, my off is week day alama.,once a month ""how is this,, but still I keen until my contract finished
Sheiner Mhae Labay: Yup they say they r always right, lastime also I talk my ma'am because that day is my off then she said I must finished everything before I leave the house, suddenly I get upset, and Im not in a mood I talk to her, excuse today is my off, u know whats the meaning of rest day? I say then the more she talking bla bla bla, she said im lazy., and she can go to our embassy to blacklist me, how is this mr founder mahal jat,,
Luvis Sales Alemania: Feeling down i've been working with my employer nearly 4years this coming May 2014 with salary $500 curfew till 6 PM every year more job to do instead increas my salary they are expecting more from me but i never argue coz i understand they know much better what is our contract signed and i don't have any copy but read it. So do i need to remind them? Talk about HONESTY.
Rosalinda B. Panague: most of the time we encountered salary and off day problems, i know some of us we try to negotiate to the employer and most of them never accept negotiation, seems like we don't have any right to negotiate but follow their own rules if not they will return the poor worker to the agency or terminate their contract immediately and return home, who is right or who wrong, who followed or do not followed the stated contract that is not their concerned, all they want is for the worker do a hard work and not lazy...huh what a heck....as a worker we also need to do what ever they want us to because we need a job to feed our family back home....that is reality...
Heins Donor: OFF DAY means ZERO WORK on that's day... I will bear that in my mind to protect my self for my employer..
Melai-Santiago Anacan Geronimo: wow!that a very clear explaination. now i know wer to to contact once i finish my contract here thanks a lot
this offdays issue me making me upset too because I have only twice a month from 10am to 6pm...I have to get up early and do the car wash and cleaning and preparing their breakfast.. And when I came home I have to work too and cook dinner .. In the morning I can only got out of the has by 11.and I must not be late of coming home.. 10mins late is a big issue already... 10 more months of sacrificing ... Can't wait for my finish contract
Ako Xi Yham: finishing my contract this coming aug..and slowly and step by step i talk to them i only ask twice off if i renew they havent agree yet
Mahal Jat: stand up for ur legal rights, at least sake of ur kids or else u will continue to be exploited ... stand up n get paid the prevailing fair market wages and off days
ur letting urself to be exploited, no more. you really need to standup, if you dont standup for urself, then no one else can. at the end, others can only advice but u hv to act/negotiate/move out. sa surgery, it comes out of the mandatory medical insurance as required by MoM and Phil govt, its part of your perks, its not a favor as it does not come out of their pocket.
Melai-Santiago Anacan Geronimo: I'm really planning to ask for transfer by because I'm so tired in here.. .. She's not giving me any rest at day.. I complained to her already but she said I will not compare her to other household.. My work starts at 6am until midnyt and because they are Indian ..they love guest so I can rest only very late and have to get early.. Pls advice me sir
Evelyn Aquio Dilim: most employers dont want us to give offdays and not allowed to use phone so that they can manipulate us..they want us to behave like a dog.-do what they want and whatever they please them..they want us to be isolated so that we cant gather information specially the laws concerning our rights. so many house rules,works and responsibilities given to us but a single 24h offday.they cant follow.. and they even find it very ridiculous and unreasonable for a maid to practice our rights,. they cant even get their water without me but call me lazy?! no way.!!!
Evelyn Aquio Dilim: showing blackface and turning rebellious is not the proper way to let ur employer know how u feel.and dont try to argue with them specially when theyre in highest point of anger.instead,try to approach,or talk to them when they're calm and in gud mood so u can both talk nicely and u can express more what u really want.in this way u can help them realize their wrongdoings too.trust me and it works,!
Nemia P. Cordero: Hi.....I planed to go spore this year.... since I don't have any experience I learned more from this techniques .....I have my agency there in Manila.... I gonna came from western visayas..... my agency said that gonna be paid 16000-17000 pesos which is equally to 470 Sg$.... that's too low for the minimum that stated in MOM laws.... so what can u advice in me for this situation? Actually I don't talk to my employer yet but only my agency give this idea bout my earning.... can u give me advice for this?
Venus Tunday: how about food allowances Mahal Jat,,do you have any tips to negotiate this matter?
I want to hv it in my nxt boss so then I will be happy with my food and happy to work too,thanks.,,
Roselleth Martinez Doneda: If we .learn .how .to fight our rights ..those kinda employers also get scared.speaking of employers i been .encounter veri wicked one before my present ..lucky i learn how to .fight my rights and thanks God .i get out .from .her ....thanks to .our .mentor .here ...if nt you im sure im .still there .untill .now .god .bless .and .keep .up .the .good work helping .us .
Mahal Jat: same tips apply ...for food allowance to anything...do not go with flow...before u say yes to a job offer, negotiate everything upfront, whatever u negotiate then ask the agent to include in the contract terms n condition.
Jelly Gabriel: Mu employer offer just &520, coz my salary right is just $420. She said she cannot give me more than $100. And she said that the sAlary of with experience the new hire is just $500. Regarding my off also they til 6-6:30pm coz i need to cook dinner for them. Coz if i dint cook for them another cost and they spend money. On day time they already told me they are givimg me a rest honestly i cant get rest the house is 3story. Wht i shall i do? Do i complain to MOM regarding these or better to find a new boss.
Park Yuen Mei: My employer talk to me if my willing to go no off day of course w/ pay...my madam told me f im willing much better for me,but I refuse it I have only once a month off.they told me that they need so badly because of grandmother..but I refuse it I told them that they find a new maid who's willing no off day.this is only my main problem to them no off day..about my relationship w/ them I have nothing to say there are nice and good people.my madam told that she thinking about this.I'm waiting for there decisions and feedback...its really hard for me to decide now becoz I love this family...I dont know Wat to do if leave them and find a new employer or I'm go to hongkong I'm just waiting also for feedback in my papers..
Rose Alonzo: No off day? ? ?for me I can't take it. F they r really nice then they shld.also consider gvng u a break frm all this workload .
Nene C. Janiz: now a days its hard to find a good employer eamana..y not asking 1day off a mont i think dat wud be ok..no need to go out every sunday wat.its just a waste of money be practical..im sure they will pay u if u are not going out right??..
Zoe Zen: Please read http://maid-employer.blogspot.sg/.../cost-to-hire.... Tats employer stories.. How. Many. % of sg population earns more than 5k a month. Please consider living expense in Sg, be fair to employer please. (Winter: this is my blog! Means FDWs are reading my blog. Hope they won't be cheated/mislead by activists or expats.)
* * * * * * * * * *
Extracted commments from maid's Facebook regarding Employers' top feedback about maids. This is an activist (An) page that provides DIY employer/FDW at your own risks, no agent involved. Not providing any hyperlink to help it generate traffic. The 'organiser' is in good relationship with HOME - a haven for runaway maids.
When you get a maid thru DIY method, it means she has no agency so if she turns it to be unsuitable, it is just between you and FDW to resolve. If she is a liar or awfully bad worker, I suggest you buy such FDW a one-way ticket home (get her to pack and leave immediately, on the day of flight), shouldn't cost you more than S$200. Maid is too smart and choosy. If you allow such FDW to take her own sweet time to find new DIY employer, aren't you inviting trouble? I doubt she'll work well while serving her termination notice. If you pity maid, do at your own risk. It doesn't pay to be kind to certain breed of people. Remember, your trust in her has broken the day/time you found she couldn't deliver what she has agreed. Can you trust a liar? Sometimes, employer has to learn to be 'cruel'. 你没听过 对敌人仁慈 就是你的忌日, play safe than to regret. Nobody will pity you. MOM/Activists will only side the FDWs.
Dela Cruz Cabajar Samantha: In my two years here in Singapore as a DH i never heard maids bringing boyfriend in their employers house hitting children but stealing yes a few. Most of the maids here are not allowed to talk or get along to their fellow maids how much more bringing boyfriend in there employers house even. Girlsfriend cannot. Hitting children thats ridiculous infact children's who does that to their maids even the employer, if they have cctv in the house they will bring the maid to the corner that has no cctv then scold her even hit her an egg and throw anything when they get mad. no complain, no evidence. Off days instead every Sundays some maids no off days. Employers can easily complain but think of it how can those maids complain when they dont have the fighting spirit to depend their self......Luckily I have a good and kind hearted employer and I'm happy and I love my job. This is my second contract with my Chinese employer.
Felicia Compala Lumicio: anything else does employers complain? How about MOM do something about us maids salary since employers pay our levy in catigories too? like when employers living with their old folks that needs care, they pay less levy. So how about us maid working in different kind of employers house. Salaries of maids are all the same where as some employers living in Condo, HDB, Terrace house, Bangalow, Detached house that all landed house are lots of work to be done , washing three to four cars every day, where as maids whose employers living in Condos, HDB are less job, how come we are paid the same amount of monthly salary? Can MOM do someting with this. For me is not fair, right?
most employers complain. how about us maid? i mean i dont have any complain about my employer. just reading/knowing about this complain sometimes its the employers fault. some are strict in all aspect, like no phone, no reading newspapers, no watching tv, no off, sometimes less foods. Why these maids who encountered this are all silent as they dont like to lose their job. talking about boyfriends, yes i read in newspaper maids are caught bringing home their boyfriend. maybe this maids have no off. I dont have boyfriend but should employer bother about their maids happiness? they should bother about their teenage children, bringing home their boyfriends or girlfriends and sleep together. i heard some employer worry when their maids get pregnant, for what? send her home. its not your responsibility to raise that kid.
Janette Amasca: I been working for my employer for past 7 years.one thing I can say I think as a maid we have a right to have a bf but make sure that we know our grounds we don't take granted our employer if they trust us.I bring my friends home sometimes even my employer.on holiday I make sure to ask a permission first and assured that I don't do funny things.treasure that trust that employer give us.I send a msg.to wherever they are ....miss understanding its always there....its OK to answer back with respect...show them that you are capable love the children like your own employer will love you also....now I'm staying in the Phil's.....for 1 year coz my employer stay in Canada stay in a year....my work permit not cancel and still receive salary from them....they also paid for my son tuition fee for the whole year.just want to share this to all of you that when employer trust us.....show them that we also trusted person.....life not easy to work in the other country.....even my employer very good sometimes still have things that we argued.... Coz we only human...INSTEAD of going to disco met bf....or all nonsense things I encourage all of you to used time going to church.... Met friends which are God fearing it really help us to be a better person.....make sure your employer knows that when you go out you have fun with the right people.......thank you.....
Mila C. Abrea: If you are in good state of your mind you shouldn't do to bring your Bf at your employers house. Have respect on them. Your off day is yours, do whatevet you want,. We are here to earn money and not to earn criticism. Bitting kids depends on d situation. Sometimes,those primary schoolers act like they are your employer,shouting at you, calling you stupid and throwing bad words to you. In fact those kind of kids need to discipline, but not to bit till they get injured, Stress in work sometimes make us angry too, esp if they showing disrespect to us. It doesnt mean we are helpers doesnt deserve respect. We are demanding respect for us also to be a better person to them. Respecting each other is one of the most impt thing in one relationship. We kept on respecting them and yet they kept on throwing their rudeness, its difficult to control temper sometimes esp when your too tired at work. So parents must teach their kids also how to respect their maids so the relationship will goung smoothly.Its not easy to work far from your family and yet you will encounter those inconsiderate and very rude person. Its a sacrifice.
Editha Delgado: as my point of view having boyfriend is not a problem as long u never bring your boyfriend at your employeers house and you've done your work properly...we need to respect the house and the owner...as a person we should know our limitations.....if some no boyfriend its their choice but the point here is respect your employer house because the house of your employer its not yours...so be considerate....dont bring your bf at your boss house thats simple.....to all the employers i hope u have consideration also to all the fdw that even they have bf as long they never disobey the rules as ofw i hope you will understand them also as we understand ur side also...to those employers who complain i hope u've done your part also as obeying or follows all the rules and regulations of the MOM..thanks..
Chy Domingo: Boyfriend is normal for all of us coz we are all humans but we must know the limitations and responsibilities...
Rösé Làng: Lucky i never encounter those things i work also in sg for 6 yrs. In one employer but they treated me as a family member ... To those people who bring bf to employers home ,, shame on u guyz ,, respect begins from respect,, ,, respect ur self before someone respect u ...
Debora Jabat Ita: I'm work in singapore for almost 10 years, what for hiting t child nothing it's make big problems, as I do if I'm not happy just change employer, better then I make problems to my self in Singapore,t same my employer son 3 years old hiting me kick me scratch me, but he only a child, I can understand, but why a child doing this to me I already see in my eye that his mother hit him sometimes,it's hurt he hit me n kick my tummy when I change his diaper, so I really can't take it n bettet I'm looking other Family to work is.so Employer know how to complain but they dont know to threat their child to be good to their Helper,n also if we interview why Employer need to talk to our current Employer, why helper can't talk to their current helper? We also want to know why they current helper move from their house to other families house? We all helper dont like to be transfer waste money n waste time do all we want to work In 1 family ,but mostly employers threat a Helper not good...who are hit t Employer kids n bring bf to employers house it's to bad, it's means have reason may be she dont have day off every sunday so she doing that, but by hiting a child it's means she dont have patience to look after child
Ann-Jems Ortega Reyes: I am not perfect i work with chinese for 7yrs without off days but they treat me like there own family my 2nd employer also chinese i worked 4 yrs 4 kids with once a month off day but only half day my current employeer is French family i am working with them almost 4 years and my boyfriend filipino stay with me we have our own room saturday sunday is my off days..so suffered muna bago enjoy..
Quenie Padillo Itong: My questions to all employers who complain,r they treat their helper well???i think no helper do silly things if only their employer treat them as a human being, don't mingle on their private life,understand them,@,must follow mom rules!!!
Rosana Tatslu Tabayo-Luib: Hahahaha my Mam's friend told me about their maid, she bring boyfriend inside their house and why i never do it.........my answer because i have no boyfriend at all for 7yrs!!!!!
Elma Tejada Bonifacio: Shame on those girls who bring boy in their employers house..
Sari Nande: Some people need happyness but they are doing by wrong way n they not suppose to show
More Singaporean employers hiring private eyes to trail maids, The Straits Times, 22 June 2014
Administrative assistant Shoba Devi, 27, got suspicious when her Filipino maid of a few months started chatting on the phone late into the night. Devi, who is single and lives with her father who is in his 60s, said: "I didn't know if she had a boyfriend and I was worried for our safety if she brought her boyfriend home."
In February, she hired private investigator James Loh, who runs International Investigators, to keep tabs on her maid during her days off. He discovered that the maid - in her 20s and married - had a Bangladeshi boyfriend and, on her days off, they would meet to eat, shop and check into a budget hotel.
Devi said: "I kind of expected her to have a boyfriend but I was shocked that she checked into a hotel with her boyfriend. What would happen if she got pregnant? So I sent her home." She paid the private eye about S$2,500 (US$2,002) for three days of monitoring the maid, but felt it was money well spent.
She said: "It's for our safety as the maid lives with us."
Like her, some employers are forking out thousands of dollars to check on their maids. Private eyes charge about $1,000 (US$800) for a day of surveillance and say it can cost between S$1,000 (US$800) and S$4,000 (US$3,203) to tail a maid.
Six private investigators interviewed said they all get regular assignments every month to track maids, and the number doubles during the June and December school holidays when families go on holiday and leave their maids home alone or with an elderly parent.
APAC Investigation & Consultancy's Raymond Lim said he used to get one such job every two to three months in the past. Now he attends to one or two a month and maid surveillance now accounts for up to 20 per cent of his business. David Ng, director of DP Quest Investigation Consultancy, said: "It is every employer's nightmare that some unknown man could intrude into their house. You don't know what these intruders could do, like turn violent or steal things."
While Singapore employers have long turned to sleuths to trail their maids, the investigators interviewed said demand has risen since it became compulsory last year to give maids a weekly day off. Many employers worry about what their maids get up to on their days off.
The Manpower Ministry (MOM) receives an average of 200 complaints a month about errant maids. In a report last week, maid agents told The Straits Times that bringing boyfriends home, stealing and hitting the children are the top three complaints employers make about their maids.
Some employers also get help to check if their maids are involved in prostitution - something the private investigators say is not uncommon. Ng said he trailed a Filipino maid in her 20s and found that she would check into different budget hotels with different men on a Sunday. She spent her OFF days as a sex worker, with three to four clients each day. His client let go of the maid as soon as he reported what he found out.
Some maids have been found to bring their boyfriends home, just as employers fear. Lim was hired to monitor an Indonesian maid when the family she worked for went on a long holiday last December, leaving her with an elderly woman with dementia. He found that she would sneak her foreign worker boyfriend into the house in the middle of the night and the man would leave before daybreak. When the family returned and found out, they let go of the maid.
* * * * * * * * * *
11 Mar 2014
An activist or Pamela is a maid? Comments were copied from this blog.
Pamela: I have just read that for your new maid you took her phone and told her she must keep her bedroom door open at all times! You unfit to employ anyone, and you have told the world this in your OWN words.
makansutra: Want privacy? pay for a room, simple! Tell yr employer DO NOT DISTURB after 9pm. Wat for make employer accept yr pattern. U didnt offer free services. U are a paid to live-in n work maid.
Must spend time on mobile anytime u like? Feel employer inhuman or unfair to u, pay wat u owe n get lost! Sit at yr agency n see who wants to employ people like u.
Hortensia: It's right and proper that the maid's quarters are at all times open to its owner. In fact the maid is spoilt to have its own quarters. In the Middle East, maids typically sleep on the floor in the kitchen or in a utility room, so as to be always available to their owners. Giving a maid access to a phone is ridiculous. I refuse phone privileges to my maid, and she's prohibited from speaking to anyone but me. Singaporeans are too soft and kind.
Anonymous: Hortensia, maids deserve to have their own living quarters. They should also have hand phones to keep in touch with their family and loved ones. I think you are too cruel!
Winter: Maid has no rights to demand for her own room. The law didn't state that!!
Don't act like employers owe you!! This is not being cruel. If you stay in your own country, your employment won't include living expenses and accommodation.
If you want to have your own room and hold your mobile phone 24/7 (use phone in the night eg after 8pm is OK), stay in your own house, remain in your country, don't come to Spore and bring your princess-problems/attitude. REMEMBER, EMPLOYERS DON'T OWE YOU A WORKING LIFE ie BETTER THAN YOUR OWN COUNTRY.
Anonymous: you really talk without brain. what size pigeon brain you have? the maid pay for the room rental la. you can sleep naked inside also can. house gt house rules. you come here to work in ppl house you have to respect ppl house rule. so if that maid is a employer you think she will allow her "maid" to walk around her house not wearing a bra with a white top! WE DON OWN YOU SHIT! WE PAY YOUR PAY ON TIME! STOP BEING A PRINCESS AND DEMAND THIS AND THAT!
Winter: Pamela, Every employee/maid has a job requirement to fulfil. If the job stated FDW cannot hold her mobile and use as and when she desires, must wear bra or keep bedroom door open, as a FDW who has committed to a job, it is her duty to carry out her employer's house rules.
You are not fit or have any rights to condemn any employer who is the owner of the house, an employer who had been very honest to state her rules. Maids who want to lie, too demanding, very dishonest is doing something very wrong!
Initially I wanted to delete your comments but kept to let others see what kind of maids have been recruited in Spore. By being dishonest, you're telling the people reading your comments, dishonesty is a right way for maids and employers should keep/tolerate a person who lies. We are born equal, you are right about this point but has employer been treated equally? Ask yourself, if we lie to you, will you be happy? If I promise you something but break my promise, will you be disappointed and unhappy?
Spore has no policy that states maid has the rights to own a private room nor encouraged maids to go bra-less at their employers' house. Maids should respect their employers, especially she doesn't own that house or room, it is a place where another man/men live. She is a paid to live-in helper not a princess or a hooker.
If having a mobile is a neccesity, you should return home and spend your time with your love ones or friends, use as much time you want with them. You don't respect your employer and do not have the mentality to perform a proper job as domestic maid. It is your fault to accept a job offer for such employer. You ought to blame yourself. Don't think you are in the right or being unlucky to have such an employer. My current maid, if you've read my blog is another person who lies and broke promises that she made during interviews. She was given enough time to think over, share views with her friends/agent re: my requirements yet she purposely lied and stepped into my house, then kept pestering me (her 8th employer) for requests that she knew I can't and won't agree. It is her fault, not about her bad luck. Having the wrong working mentality and too stubborn are my maid's problems of not being able to find employer who could tolerate her for 2-years.... not even her ex-Filipino employer. She kept thinking she's in the right to make requests, disregards the key words about 'HONESTY' and being Co-operative.
Lastly, as a maid, if you must go bra-less in your employer's premises, you should return home at your own costs or find a place fit for sluts to stay.
Winter: I believe you didn't read Hortensia's and above comments. What we're trying to highlight is "How wonderful if maids were slaves. Then employers (owners) would be assured that they would receive the deference, respect and service they deserve"
If sg maids are really slaves, employers will become the OWNERS, fully in-charge. Means Slaves have no rights nor any say in the bad owners' hands. Slaves are treated like we own them, not paid timely nor given any benefits as human!! Are you a maid or slave? Obviously, not a slave! Look at the FDW terms agency and MOM made us offer, do you get such salary and live-in benefits in your own country? A degree holder in the source country doesn't enjoy the pay and benefits we gave so don't be so unreasonable and greedy. Too many of you living in Spore so employers ended up as being bullied but nobody to care and fight for us.
Sg Maids and Foreigners are too pampered and demand these and that. If Spore is really so bad and unfair to you, meaning your country can offer better terms, go back home, don't stay here!
The issue or problem in Spore is, maids ARE NOT SLAVES nor can they be treated like slaves. Maids/FDWs are highly paid bad-attitude-princesses who are unwilling or cannot perform a proper FDW job yet demanding human rights or respect, eg as a cheater or loafer.
How I wish maids are slaves so that SHE CANNOT BULLY ME!
Because FDWs are not slaves, I ended up being bullied mentally and financially. This isn't fair to another human being. You're human, so am I.
* * * * * * * * * *
OK for maid to do chores at in-laws' home? 20 May 2014
I have a maid whose duties include cooking for my family from Monday to Friday. She does not cook on Saturday as that is the day I visit my in-laws, while Sunday is her day off.
Manpower Ministry rules state that she can work only at my home and nowhere else. Does this mean that when we take her along for our visits to my in-laws, she is unable to help prepare dinner or wash the dishes and cooking utensils?
Also, I was informed by the maid agency that employers are responsible for paying the work permit card replacement fee, which ranges from $60 to $300, depending on whether it is damaged or lost.
While I understand that maids need to carry their original work permit cards when they are out, for identification purposes, I am puzzled as to why employers have to pay the replacement fee should the cards be damaged or lost due to their helpers' negligence.
Shouldn't maids be responsible for the card since they are allowed to keep it? Knowing they would have to pay the replacement fee would certainly instil a greater sense of responsibility in them. The replacement fee could be reduced to make it affordable for maids.
Goh Puay Hoon (Madam)
* * * * * * * * * *
Is it employer's duty to ensure maids are happy?
Is it agency's duty to ensure maids recruited are mentally ready for overseas FDW jobs?
How helpful is SIP course? Can it help employers minus the flooding of princess-FDWs and screen for unsuitable maids?
Who should be the gate keeper for a mentally sound maid, a person who is fit/willing to handle the job scope of a FDW without giving excuses of underperform? Recruiters? MOM?
Which employer can tolerate a homesick maid for 2 years? Accept her attitude or sloppy work due to homesick or culture difference?
Who should be the one to accommodate and learn another person's culture and living habits? The Employer or the FDW?
Which employer can stand a FDW telling you she wants to leave because job is too tough? (eg working for a family of 2 adults and 1 child, given weekly off day, able to sleep from 9pm onwards and well fed)
Why some maids are unhappy? AsiaOne, 4 Mar 2014
Maid agencies The New Paper on Sunday spoke to explain why some domestic helpers feel troubled working here and what employers can do to help.
1. No days off
Mr Thomas Tan, director of Essential Maids, says it can be quite tough for maids to commit for two years without any visits back home or days off.
All maids think of their homes and loved ones, says Mrs Winnie Wang, senior overseas recruitment adviser of Advance Link International. Employers should let them make calls back home to tell their family that they are safe and that all is well, says Mr Gabriel Ee, director of Island Maids.
Don't let them get bored of the job. Switch up the routine, says Mr Ee, who has five years of experience in the industry. Include them in family gatherings and let them feel that Singapore can be home too, he adds. But if their heart is not here, you have to let them go. If you push them to continue working, you might have more problems in the future, Mr Ee warns.
3. Incompatible with job
If there is no one at home during the day, employers should consider choosing an experienced maid , says Mr Tan. New maids need more guidance and may not adjust well to their new environment if left alone, he says.
Those with school-age children should consider hiring experienced maids as a new maid might strain the relationship between the two because the maid and child will not be able to communicate.
4. Better opportunities elsewhere
Mrs Wang, who has been in the industry for more than 30 years, says that one maid returned home last year because her salary was not good enough to make her stay. The maid felt she could earn a similar amount selling shoes at a roadside market in her home country , and if she did that, she would be the boss of her own business.
* * * * * * * * * *
Are maids diluting our culture? AsiaOne, 2010
THE politically correct term is "helper", but most people tend to call them maids. And they are a growing population in Singapore, with many of them employed by the Indian community living here.
As more women in Singapore join, or in some cases re-join, the workforce - 53 per cent of the women here are working and this does not include those in part-time jobs - the trip to the maid agency becomes more common. Latest estimates in the Labour Force Report by the Ministry of Manpower claim that one in every seven Singapore households has a helper. After Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong, Singapore has the highest number of Foreign Domestic Workers.
These helpers look after their employer's children, home and, sometimes, elderly parents. They also run the kitchen in many cases. Whatever the reason, there is no denying their presence... or their usefulness. While a wide choice of nationalities are available, Filipinos are normally preferred because of their ability to speak English. But Indonesians are a common choice too.
But how does the presence of a live-in helper, most of the time a non-Indian, affect the upbringing of children from an Indian home? Do they dilute the Indian culture of the children? The Sharmas - Ashima, Nandan and their two children, both under the age of seven - have been in Singapore for four years. Speaking to tabla! about the Filipino helper they employ to assist with general household work and mind the children, Mrs Sharma says: "The topic that you have brought up is a common topic of discussion. Since our family definitely needed additional help, we hired a Filipino helper. The work is fine.
"In India, we had a helper with equal capabilities. Now the difference is the set-up from which they come. These girls from the Philippines are more advanced and their work is very professional. As far as child-rearing is concerned, the values come from us. They act only as childminders and babysitters." She feels there are more advantages to having a helper, even if she is not Indian, than disadvantages. "The only disadvantage is that our children get attached to these helpers as they cannot see that the helpers are here on contract basis with us," she says.
The Vermas - Sweta and Rajesh - have been in Singapore for five years and employ a domestic worker to help look after their two sons aged eight and five. Mrs Verma says she expects her helper to treat her children the same way they are treated by their parents. "The values come from us. The helper has imbibed them. It is all about the orientation to the family and the family values," she says.
Singaporean Praema Jain, who runs her own business and has had a full-time Filipino helper for the last seven years, thinks the helper is the one who adjusts more than the employer's family. "Of course, I had help... how do you think I managed a career, children, kept my fitness schedules and maintained a great relationship with in-laws, my parents and the extended family? Apart from her style of dressing, my Filipino helper is as 'Indianised' as one can get.She knows all about our vegetarian needs, her thepla (a Gujarati roti) is amazing," she tells tabla!.
Mrs Anita Mukherji says her two children, now almost teenagers, have been raised with the help of two Indonesian helpers. "Culture shock! Well, yes, the maid does get a bit of shock as their lifestyle is very different but I think we also get the culture shock," says the Singaporean. "My four-year-old daughter wore a backless swimming costume and my maid told her it was 'very sexy'.
Hearing that word from her, I was shocked as we Indians don't use such words so openly. So, 'shock absorbers' need to be installed for both the employer and the employee." Mrs Mukherji uses an element of interdependence and a bit of independence when managing the relationship between her helper and her teenage daughter. "I don't want my helper to do everything for my children. I tell the children to do their simple chores and each Sunday we all take turns to do the chores while my helper enjoys her day off."
Like in Mrs Mukherji's case, the issue of handling older children cropped up while speaking to Mrs Juhi Shukla. When the children are older, the demands on the helpers are quite different. The focus shifts to handling the needs of a growing child who is dealing with raging hormones. And parents play a big role in assisting the helpers down this delicate path. Mrs Shukla, who has been living in Singapore for nine years, has employed helpers from India and the Philippines. With the Indian helper, she felt she had to manage expectations in a very different manner. "She would want me to be her elder sister or almost a family member," says Mrs Shukla, who has two sons aged three and 11.
Mrs Shukla recalls the occasion when she was saying something to her older son "in pure humour" and her helper burst into laughter. Her son got very disturbed, assuming the helper was laughing at him. "I had to counsel my helper not to do that. You have to be cautious with teenagers, as handling and managing them is a whole different ball game," she adds. Says Mrs Shukla: "At present I have a Filipino... we are culturally different from each other but one advantage of having a foreign helper in your home is that you have the privacy of language.
There are advantages, especially if the helpers are educated and apply their knowledge to the job, but mothers definitely need to keep a critical eye on the helper and their relationship with the child." While everyone agrees that there has to be some adjustment from both sides, Mrs Mukherji adds: "I lose lots on privacy. Our Indian heritage ensures that we are not so open about public displays of affection but, with a helper at home, we are even more discreet." For Mrs Anoo Manoj, her mother tongue comes in handy for some privacy. She has been living in Singapore for four years and has no issues with hiring a Filipino helper.
Whatever be the disadvantages and the intrusions in their lives, most Indians appreciate the fact that the helpers have helped improve their lifestyle and in some cases helped them devote time to their careers.
Singaporean banker Chandra Iyer says she opted for domestic help so that she could focus on her career. "I had a variety of experiences with Indian and Filipino helpers. As a local Indian, I feel I have become colour blind. You have to orient the helpers to the house rules. Reminders and constant vigilance is very important when you employ helpers, colour and race is secondary," she says. Mrs Iyer feels that getting a helper is also about maintaining a lifestyle. "When I come home from work, I want to spend whatever little time I have with my children, not cooking elaborate Indian dinners. So I leave the cooking to the helper while I have my quality time with my children."
Singaporean Rashi Chainani recalls having a live-in helper in her home when she was growing up and now has one for her household. "I would not be working had it not been for my help at home. It is a blessing in disguise for women who wish to work. I know gender equality activists say that this is just shifting the responsibilities to another woman but till the time we become a more mature society, we need to stick to this and make the best of what we have. Foreign domestic help is our option... so be it," she says.
While some people like Professor Chitra Sankaran shared that they have employed only Indian domestic helpers - she has had three, each staying with her for seven to eight years - many others have tried other nationalities too. And the non-Indian helpers tabla! spoke to had good things to say about life with their Indian employers.
Ms Susyani, an Indonesian who has been working with Mrs Verma's family for the past five years, says: "I am very happy here with the Indian family. They have kept me like a family. What more do you want?" Mrs Manoj's Filipino helper Cherry has blended in perfectly. She orders Indian kurtis for herself and wore one for Mrs Manoj's daughter's birthday party. "I like them for their colours and the work done on them," says Ms Cherry.
Well, it looks like the relationship between Indian families and helpers, both Indian and foreign, works as long as it is mutually beneficial to each other.
* * * * * * * * * *
Readers to my blog
You're highly encouraged to share my blog and views. The reason I have this blog is to vent my frustration as a special needs mum cum maid's employer. I may get good support but I do know most of the time, I receive negative remarks/comments, mainly because most FDWs' employer are viewed as baddies.
It is good to get more people to know about how special needs family trying to survive in Spore and stay employable (work full-time) ....by employing a maid, a neccessity. I appreciate people who bother to highlight what I am going thru. Since I have made this blog to be viewed publicly and allow comment posted using Anonymous, I know the consequences.
There's a special needs blog which is visible to public and I thought the author intended to share her experience. By posting online and not setting to private viewing, she allowed others to read what she has posted. Anyway, as per her request, I have deleted on 11 Oct whatever I've extracted, including hyperlink about that special needs child, Zoe. Since action has been taken, her comment which fully showed her web address, has to be removed.
In case you didn't notice, all extracts (selected sections or totally), I've either included a picture or source link to its origin. I don't simply put a hyperlink without some description for readers to read before deciding whether to click and read more at origin. Note: what you've posted online may be too lengthy or irrelevant, that's why it appeared in my blog as selected sections.
I do not want to have any issue with any unhappy person due to what he/she posted online and expect full privacy (readership) about what she/he has posted. This is the same for a certain parenting Forum which deleted all my posts and banned me. It is your choice to help the FDWs to look clean and good. It is also your rights to keep your Forum look good as a PAP supporter. Since there are people trying to hide the truth, I have to maintain this blog. I can provide evidence about what KK Hospital, PAP and the govt offices did to me, no issue but I do not want to have any face-to-face meeting .... increase my frustration and waste my time again.
* * * * * * * * * *
25 Sep 2013 - Saw this in an Expat forum. Sounds like a good idea to let FDW wears uniform. This will let her know when she's off duty. If she wears her uniform outside and meeting boyfriend or talking like nobody's business on her mobile, you or other onlookers know she's doing something wrong.
* * * * * * * * * *
20 Sep - I like this post so I’ve extracted and pasted here.
I used to have a maid and I can empathize with any maid employer.
On the contrary, I think all maids are smart - that's why they can see the loop holes in our government policies and use them to their benefit. They are highly competent - all humans are - but they will choose not to because being competent doesn't help themselves. Frankly, to them, there's very little incentive to be competent cos it means more work (for the same pay).
Regarding their attitude, I don't think I can blame them for lousy attitude. Being a maid isn't something that anyone is really proud of - even if you are paid to do it. From their point of view, it's just a lowly job that pays well enough to attract them to leave their home. So I can't really blame them for showing lousy attitude (but that doesn't mean her attitude doesn't affect me). No one, in the right frame of mind, will take pride in being a maid.
We can argue that MOM should change their policies to help employers - MOM knows they can, but they won't. There are implications to changes (esp shortages of maid) and we won't be able to handle them now.
For those employing or considering to employ maids, look through and consider the potential issues and problems that might surface. Ask yourself if you can manage them if they happen.
1. maid runs away - for indo maids, buy an insurance with Waiver of Counter Indemnity option so you don't have to lose your bond if she runs away.
2. maid lies - will you be able to control the situations so that her lie will be exposed (preferably with little time and effort)?
3. maid is careless; damage things - can be deliberate but you will never know, so can you handle that?
4. maid keeps doing chores wrongly - mainly because they are stubborn/lazy, not stupid, can you handle the process in correcting her patiently every time?
5. maid gossips about you with other maids - can ignore?
6. maid eats your precious restricted food, uses your facial stuff and wears your clothes
7. maid moonlights and be part-time prostitute - should send her away, but can you do it without her creating a scene?
8. maid ill treats kids or elders - can still look at her without having thoughts of strangling her?
Most of the time, ask if you can control your emotions - not get angry/disappointed/frustrated when any rubbish happens. Actually, having a maid might train you to be calmer if you are dealing with your emotions the right way, but I supposed, not all people have that kind of mental strength (me included). If you can't foresee yourself handling them, ask yourself if you can handle the current situation without the maid.
Most of the time, it's about managing your emotions, balancing expectations, and having the perseverance to continue with each situation - involve your kids so that they will learn the right way to handling adversities. With or without maids, it's a fantastic opportunity for kids to learn about life.
* * * * * * * * * *
7 Sep - It would be better if the FDWs training centre is in Spore. Issue maids who intend to work in Spore a 3-month special pass. MOM can setup FDW's training centre and house the FDWs in the same Centre. The Centre ideally should be a high rise building so that FDWs can feel what kind of life is it to live in HDB or condo - high ground cleaning and do bamboo laundry safely.
Let all maids receive the same training from 1 to 3 months. While receiving training on how to cook, take care of infant, toddlers, elderly and those with disabilities, they will learn how to use modern eFDWs can attend interviews. The Centre should also educate all maids about safety, what are the usual scope of work, common expectation of employers, culture, policies in Spore, what are the terms listed in the standard contract and what's the definition of abuse.
Once maids had received training for one month, they can be interviewed and recruited by employers. After 3 months, any maid who is still unemployed will have to leave Spore and bear their own costs together with their agencies. Therefore, agencies have to screen the maids to ensure they are suitable to work as FDW. Don't recruit women who want to be princesses in Spore, means do not really need a job. All the placement fee and agency fee should be similar. The difference in placement fee could be due to nationality or city of origin (airfare). The longer maid receives training, too choosey, she has to bear extra money, including accommodation. There should not be big difference in agency fee. We should not encourage agencies to earn different amount of commission. More transparency in cost breakdown. Let both FDW and Employer know how much agencies are profiting.
Having a training Centre in Spore, employers can see the FDWs attending training and select accordingly.
While receiving training, the trainers and facilitators can assess the FDWs. Can they work in Spore for 2 years? What's the likelihood of maid terminating a contract because she misses family? Is she mentally ready to be FDW and physically fit? How good is her performance and learning ability? Did she (Myanmese, Cambodian, Indian and Indonesian) pick any simple English?
To make the training more realistic, maybe MOM can partner with nursing homes and orphanages. Get the maids to do real cleaning, take care of elderly and young children. When they cook, the food will not be wasted, it can either be prepared for themselves or those needy people. If training centres are allowed to partner with VWOs, nursing homes and orphanages, the training costs will be absorbed by the operators. Thus, FDWs just need to pay for accommodation and actual placement fee. The overall recruitment cost will be lesser (certainly not S$2000) thus, FDW can get her full month salary much earlier and feel happier. Employers get happy and trained maids, fair to both payers. Kick those blood sucking agencies out, make them close down and have a cleaner FDW market.
* * * * * * * * * *
The Ministry of Manpower has said that the maid levy is aimed at discouraging Singaporeans from employing too many maids, and it has also been said that abolishing the levy does not guarantee that employers pass the savings on to their maids ("Fewer maids remain with same boss for a year"; last Saturday).
One way to circumvent this problem and ensure that the pay in Singapore remains competitive is for the levy to be managed by the Central Provident Fund board as a provident fund for maids, garnering the same interest rate that CPF members enjoy.
The maid can withdraw the money only after completing two years of work in Singapore, or choose to leave it in the fund to accumulate interest if she carries on working here.
Such a fund will give maids an incentive to do their jobs well, thereby stemming the outflow of trained maids to greener pastures and saving employers time, money and effort in training new maids.
Second, a competent maid at home can improve her employer's productivity at work. Freed from the burden of domestic duties, employees can focus on their jobs and go on childcare leave for fewer days.
For children who are frequently sick, a caregiver at home is a better option than institutionalised childcare.
Third, the presence of reliable maids to care for the frail elderly family members at home will remove the need to build and subsidise an increasing number of nursing homes. It will also allow seniors to pass their days in the environment where they are the happiest, that is, at home and in the company of those they love.
As nursing homes inevitably employ foreign nursing aides, employing a maid to look after an aged parent instead would not make much difference to the number of foreign workers here.
Finally, the fund offers an automatic savings plan that earns superior interest rates than those offered by banks. Instead of succumbing to the temptation of squandering their higher salaries, maids can use such a fund for their children's education or their retirement.
Anne Chong (Dr)
Winter: Since the day I realised hiring a maid made my life miserable, this is how I felt. MOM shouldn't pocket the money (our hard earned money but we paid monthly without FDW 'realising' because they ended in MOM's pocket) and claimed levy is to control the FDWs in Spore. A good maid should be reward by having the levy converted as bonus at the end of her 2-year contract, must be with same employer.
* * * * * * * * * *
From Mr. Juerg: Even MOM and legislation is in place here in Singapore, conditions for maids are poor. The setup already is against the maid, in-house, at the mercy of the employer and sold by the agency. Yes she has the rights, she has support, she can run away, she can ...., she has ..., she .... still, she will swallow and continue, as so many maids but also wives and daughters do it.
It is a different case but a similar situation. Leslie is a strong educated woman within her own country and her own friends and family, A maid has a complete different fear factor. To complain is very important, but more important is how to improve the situation? We need to tackle it from all sites, but first of all the employer maid situation must become transparent and public, as long as it is hidden then it wont improve. Then:
The maid need a better education and better language skills. The schools at home need to teach proper english, the MOM shall set up a limit of xxx points TOEFL in order to become maid. It helps the maid to defend her and it defends the status quo of the maid and it pressures the schools at home to teach english. Further the maid need a regular external contact and support and a feed back to the agency and to the MOM, it can be easily done with www.MAGPI.com, reporting once a month how much salary has been paid to her bank account and what are the living conditions for her. The maid takes care, in many cases, about the children of the employer. The children are the most valuable assets in the family, the children today are the pillars of the economy in 25 years. The most valuable assets are in the hands of the last paid and the least educated in the household, does this make any sense? Would you give your Rolls Royce to somebody who does not know how to drive? A Rolls Royce can easily be fixed with money, try to correct a mislead child! Though I agree that maids are most of the time better mothers.
The agency need to follow up on a regular base the conditions of the maid. The maid is their cash cow so the agency must be interested to have good maids and a good relationship to the employer. The agency should be the employer and send the maid to the family to work. This would define the maid as an employee of a company, an asset which must be taken care of. This setup would reduce the pressure on the maid and improve her standards without any costs. The agency need to take care and take on responsability for the maid. This is a normal setup in the industry, why can we not do it for FDW?
MOM: The future generation of managers, leaders, doctors, politiciens, the pillars of the economy grows up in the hands of nannys and maids, typically the least paid, the least treated, the least educated but the closest to the children. What picture and what values are implanted in the brain of the sons and daughters of the todays employers. Keeping a maid at work sometimes for 12-15 or more hours, many of them sexually harassed and abused, usually at the mercy of the employer shows the upspring a wrong picture of society. An economy only can be successful if all peeple are equal, human rights are respected and can lead a free and decent life. Only then people perform best, create value and purchase products and services. We need qualified and supervised maids, if they are not qualified then we have them to qualify. Open a school, train them and make sure that only qualified and well treated people are hanlding the kids. It definitey pays off, Singapore can be an example in the region for the living of the values of the french revolution for all.
The employer needs to be taught that a maid is neither a robot nor a sub-human nor a pet or a domestic animal. It is simply a human being, with needs and deeds, certainly no angel but also no devil. The clash of cultures could be reduced by a one day training how to treat a maid, her rights and her duties. For everything you need a license, except for raisng children and employing people at home you dont need it. Westerners and Asians have all of a sudden to live together 24hrs in the same household. The one powerful, the other one full of fear. What do you imagine how it is working out? Who prevents abuse of power? I am not talking about severe abuse, more this subtle daily threatening, this constant fear to be expulsed and to come home often considered then back home as failure. Yes an introcuction in employing maids with a cross cultural part would reduce a lot of fear and anxiousity on both sides.
The governments in maids home country: if they are not capable to create a sound economy with the abundant resources given to them by nature, then they shall at least make sure that their citizens are trained and knowledgable in the field they are going to work. English is a must and to know their rights as well. A decent government takes care of their citizen abroads and vaues them, it doesn't rip of the own people coming home seeing mom and dad. A decent service and support should be self-evident, this people here suffer all year long and on the way home they are literaly robbed by parcel services and government, we write 2013. This are stories like they are written in the bible. What did we do in the last 2000years?
* * * * * * * * * *
17 Jul - MOM to look into AEAS appeal to review entry rules for maids, Channel News Asia
* * * * * * * * * *
19 Jun - I saw this and felt to be fair to FDW's employers, such a survey (by Gerald Lim, Lionel Ong and Marjorie Pang) should be conducted on weekends where all the domestic workers are flooding or roaming around Lucky Plaza and other hot spots. These people should open their eyes to see a sea of foreigners, not Tourists (who are prepared to boast the Spore economy with their spending power). Ask those FDWs who were given off days how well they have been treated, are they really afraid of being kick out, what benefits and rights they received as a well protected maid in Spore. Thought employers don't have a voice when compared to FDWs? Anyway, these people are more keen to show there are plenty of bad employers vs bad maids. They felt extremely good to be heros and able to rescue or voice for pathetic maids.
Extracted this from TWC2 website:
If I am living in a condo, I would want the facilities to be given to me or others who purchased a condo unit. If my maid wants to use any condo facility, she has to be accompanied by me or other family members, certainly not her, acting as a HOST to entertain her friends. Maids can enjoy their off days elsewhere. Places such as TWC2 or HOME ought to be kind enough to eat their words and provide FDWs FREE usage of facilities such as a swimming pool, tennis/ court, computer, BBQ, karaoke, etc.
It is not a matter of maids dirty, I believe it is what condo people thought and want to maintain, a high standard ... they are on upper class compared to people living in HDB flats, they paid more to live in condo which should give them better privacy and built in facilities. If maids are allowed to use the facilities freely, what do other condo owners get.... rob of their entitlement, their quality of life and property value downgraded, is this fair to them? Don't be too selfish to demand your entitlement at the expense of others. Btw, if you've read my blog, you'll know I didn't earn enough to live in condo.
If you wonder what maids are taught during SIP, the following is what they learnt. They were told their rights in Spore, how to contact MOM .... not what a good maid should do, what sort of house rules an employer in Spore would normally set, what job requirements most employers expect, how to adjust and deliver quality work, act responsibly and be honest, etc.
My first filipino maid, I got her thru a small maid agency. This agency owner has a maid and she told me this helper of hers pick up the maids, act as translator, do work permit and so on. She said this is allowed and such helper was given a higher salary. My current FDW, she was also asked to run errands like passing document from here to there while she was being housed at agency boarding, waiting for a 笨蛋 like me to 上钩. Anyway, I closed one eye to this 'helpful acts', as long as agency nice to me, gave me a suitable FDW and has good after-sales service.... already history, didn't want to trace back.
* * * * * * * * * *
Check on maids looking after your children, The New Paper, Apr 2012
* * * * * * * * * *
First male helper from Myanmar starts work 12 May
Brought to Singapore by local maid agency Homekeeper, 31-year-old Lum Hkawng has already completed a 45-day caregiver course. He also speaks Mandarin, which he picked up from ethnic Chinese friends living in his village in Myanmar's northern Kachin state. Agents say male domestic workers like Mr Hkawng can perform similar tasks as their female counterparts and more. These include caring for elderly men who are bedridden, which often requires more strenuous work.
While agents say there has been an increase in demand for male domestic workers, plans to bring in more men like Mr Hkawng have hit a snag. So far only 33 male helpers, mostly Filipinos, are in Singapore.
Winter - I'm really surprised there are male FDWs in Spore. Too bad my girl cannot take opposite sex as FDW. I don't feel safe to let a male FDW shower or change my girl's diaper.
* * * * * * * * * *
New 24-hour helpline for Indonesian
maids. Source, Straits Times
Indonesian maids will soon be able to call a 24-hour helpline to enquire about employment issues. The helpline, offered by the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (FAST), will be operational from June 1.
Winter - Where is our long-waited, dedicated helpline for distressed employers?
Don't understand why only for Indonesian FDWs. Is it because they tend to give or face more problems? Giving employers similiar problem like my ex-maid, M and hoping some helpful people will help them runaway from problems or truly solve them without causing damages to their employers?
Maids portrayed themselves very well as victims.... Another evidence to show employers are unprotected. Nobody cares. MOM just interested to 'endorse' (means not putting a stern stop, close eyes by agreeing to all the unfair acts on employers) agencies or organisations who can squeeze our hard earned money.... All they want is our money, their main concern is how to please the source countries and FDWs.
* * * * * * * * * *
11 May - All we want is a helper/maid that could help us by listening to instructions, don't act on her own, don't be stubborn, be hygienic, don't purposely make life difficult for us .... just carry out duties the way we want.
Why MOM has no policy to protect FDW's employers who needed a helper not a new mistress for the house? Maids are human beings, have their own thinking but you've agreed to the job scope so why refused to deliver as per agreement? Where are your moral values? Were you born to be cheater? We don't know you before you joined our house and you've resorted to cheating before Day One. Nobody forced you to fly out from your source country or get a transfer to us, don't say we forced you to lie!
Why MOM-Ministry of Manpower (aka Ministry of Maids?) allowed maids to play nasty games?
If maids felt they are slaves in Spore, owners (employers) can punish them severely, am I right? I understand slaves should have no human rights, their owners can kick them, whip them, make slaves work long hours without any salary, no off days, don't give them adequate food or accommodation and NOBODY CAN INTERFERE! Spore employers will be penalised by MOM as well as activits if FDWs are ill-treated. So are Sg Foreign Domestic Workers slaves? Can we legally punish maids, our FDWs for being too stubborn, playing princess games, forgetful, uncooperative, negligent, rude, showed no respect to us, wasted our money, bullied us or our children, spent too much time on handphone, chit-chatting during working hours, etc?
The answer is NO so FDWs are definitely not SLAVES!! Please wake up and stop using wrong labels!! Employers have been wrongly accused by you -- maids and the so-call people standing up for human rights ... you thought you're Saints and we're baddies?
* * * * * * * * * *
8 May - If FDWs/maids felt they are working and being treated like slaves, why don’t you go home, get your own govt to provide better employment? Stay in your comfort zone, remain close to your beloved family/boyfriend and share the goodness as well as bad in your own country.
FDWs want to feel unique, very important people in our house, want employers be prepared to embrace their repeated faults and flaws?
How come activists such as this sickening guy can have such mentality in Spore? He thought money will drop from the sky if all women stay home? He thought all families can survive with single income? He thought the role of women is to stay home and do their 天职? All the following were extracted from a maid's Facebook page.
* * * * * * * * * *
29 Apr - I read something that struck a cord, (source), amended to post in my blog.
In the current market, if you want to get a new Indonesian maid, it will be more costly than a Myanmar maid. So, practical Singaporeans and business owners will have to find a new source of cheaper supply. But the fact is even the cheapest replacement will cost higher than the existing ones.
The maids have their governments to support them, fight for high salary but our government, PAP does not fully support our low wage workers because they are not “exportable products”, no value or able to gain good relationships with other countries/investors by 'selling us' out to work overseas.
Our government says you must increase productivity then the wages can be adjusted. For the case of a new maid, her productivity will be low in the first few months due to newbie in a foreign country and receiving in-house training. It will continue to be low and likely to become worse to reduce their workload (lazy, scheming). Regardless a good maid or a FDW of high productivity/work performance, employers have to pay FDWs’ salary on time and live-in costs. Who is overpricing the maids? Who had pampered the maids? It sure is better to be a live-in maid in Singapore as compared to a cleaner!
Comparing to maids, low wage workers (our local aunties and elderly clearners who are cleaning toilets, clearing tables or office cleaning cum pantry aunties, security officers, etc) are not getting international wages. In your own country, Spore, you are not protected if you don’t have marketable value or exportable potentials. 没有商业利益! This is pure economics and Singapore economy has been organized and operated like this.
MPs are not crying foul when agencies & embassies kept increasing the wages of maids. Did you see any minister jumping out to say FDW's employers have paid the FDWs fairly, FDWs not underpaid? It is not as cheap as what ministers make us think foreign labour is cheap labour! Maybe compared to their million-dollar salary, it truly is worth peanuts.
Did any minister condemn any maid who has abused a child or hurt a person placed in her care, showed concern to that unfortunate family? Which minister could feel the ground and know what we really need ... 'tailor-made' rather than implementing island-wide blanket policy .... citizens can only see the goodies but they didn't fit/not qualify? Govt threw out a bombastic amount, informed everybody they have been very generous and kind to set aside so call help/funds to the needy or sandwiched citizens but how many really benefited? How many applied for the grants? Compared to their bombastic amount vs the real amount issued out, what is the difference?
Did any minister demand we, those aged 30 to 50 must get higher salary than the foreign talents? The foreign 'professionals' flew in as S or EP pass holders, earning at least S$4000 per month. These foreign talents will be gone after finished digging gold in Spore. Do most FTs want to be new Spore citizens? I would think most want to leave Spore and convert the earnings into their local currencies to live a great life in the land they were born.
PAP has been selling this idea that Singapore needs foreign labour because we locals do not want to do the menial work which these foreign resources take up, is this really true? What kind of undesirable job could it be that pays at least S$4000 per month, work regular hours? How many of you report to imported Filipino, Indian, Indonesian, Myanmese, etc? How many of you have 'imported' co-workers that are mostly foreigners? I am not talking about Caucasian/angmoh.
Channel News Asia - Amidst a tight labour market, Tan Chuan Jin said employers should also foster inclusive and progressive workplaces through measures such as giving more job opportunities for back-to-work women and older workers.
Are we drawing good salary that enable us to cope well in Spore based on single income? Should women stay home to nurture their children, stay out of workforce to make way for more foreign talents? On one hand encourage women to work, on the other hand holding us down by not giving us real support... ok.... maybe I'm just the one and only person who is stranded .... that bad? Am I really the only household in Spore that has no market value, not included in PAP's big plan? Will PAP claim companies creating jobs but not enough 'talents'/manpower to meet the tight market demands because most women prefer to stay home so companies had no choice but to hire FTs? Did PAP look at the root cause?
Why some citizens cannot earn more? Minimum S$2000 a month? How about govt reduce the costs of living eg reduce or cap stall rentals so that food prices can be lowered? Most citizens are educated (not those degree holder) but take home pay (minus daily living costs/expenses) is lesser than the live-in maids. Maids can have a fix amount to save or send home, as much as S$450/month because FDWs don't need to pay for room rental, utilities, food, insurance, medical and other living costs. But local cleaners and all employees in Sg need to. FDWs have a privileged life.... some employers maybe bad but overall, FDWs are not facing the harsh living standard in Spore because their not-too-bad employers covered them under their wings.
FDWs faced mainly loneliness and away from home but FDWs can use phone, internet or hook up with friends, both men and women .... so are their lives so bad? Who are the real slaves of Spore? I thought those citizens who clocked long working hours, had to compete with foreigner 'robber'/co-worker looked more like slaves of Spore? If they don't work harder than foreigners, they faced the risk of being replaced! We are born in Spore, educated and facing PAP's policies ... nowhere to run or hide. Cannot give up citizenship like some new citizens or runaway (migrate), move towards other lands of lesser stress and more ideal for retirement.
Does PAP know we love our children, we want to spend time with them when we're home? I, given a chance would prefer to stay home if living costs are not an issue.... lots of cash drop from the sky on a monthly basis! Quality time is not what some children want. Some children just want parents to be around, in the form of quantity time! Can parents who worked long hours, burning weekends fulfil such 'requirement'? Do we get mandatory work life balance similiar to FDWs? Will our rice bowls be taken over by foreigners if we slack, do not deliver a good job, work lesser hours, don't go the extra mile? Many sandwiched citizens don't enjoy good life like FDWs. No matter how bad FDWs performed, MOM still want them! Rotten apples, being kicked out too many times, MOM punished the employers for not trying to accept or accommodate FDWs' bad attitude and poor working performance. We take the blame, the unfair responsibilities and have nobody to help us air our grievances!
Many letters have been written to the press about protecting the employers but PAP government kept turning a deaf ear. One reason why the maids act up, deliver shoddy work is because they know they are well protected by MOM, their strong backing. With weekly off days, maids no longer need to be sneaky, they can officially gather at hot spots eg Lucky Plaza to exchange tricks, learn to manage their employers from others, they have common target, same bull eye --> the employers! Bad maids will become more common because MOM has offered a good chance for them to spread info and mix around freely.
By getting a replacement maid, is it free? Each time maid acts up, the poor employer has to find urgent temporary help and spend money on agency fee, get new insurance and other expenses for a new maid. Full time working employers had to tolerate their FDWs, hoping their maids would mend their ways so as to avoid monetary losses and time wasted.
The government has been rehashing the story to the citizens that they should not expect a high salary lest we overprice ourselves out of competition in this global market. How come modern FDWs can be pricey yet poor quality, unable to deliver a satisfactory job? Is it because MOM is controlling the source countries, not keen to find better source countries, not allowing competition and better FDW choices? You know the answer!
You want PAP to spare a thought for us, show real concern to the needy, understand the meaning of FDW is a necessity, not a luxury and tweak the policies …. long way to go! These people (MP) who some of you elected do not represent us. They have no heart to save us from bad maids and agencies nor embassies. Maybe PAP will feel the pain if suffer great losses in the next election .... lose that comfortable chair?
The struggle to live with basic necessities, for people like me isn’t easy but do you believe? Activists and insensitve people thought we just like to complain and make Sporeans be labelled as complain King/Queen. Some people have a blessed life but do others have it? How to educate people to count their blessings but don't be so nasty to others..... the less fortunate people?
Our lives are already so difficult due to PAP's shortsighted, insensitive and careless policies (eg 2 is enough 两个就够了... now Sg faced low fertility rate). MOM Minister Tan Chuan Jin and Minister of State Halimah Yacob didnt recognise the struggle to make ends meet with a live-in maid. They stood up and be the FDWs' backing. If Tan CJ, Halimah or PAP really keen to be kind to us, protect us, let women remain in the work force, PAP should sincerely make a stop to protect foreigners at the expense of Singaporeans. Also, remove the FDW levy for household income below S$8000/month. The maid agency fee must be capped below S$400 (more than enough for a one way air-ticket), no upfront maid loan (maids pay thru their banks or agencies by themselves) nor be given unsuitable/inexperience maids to make us train painfully. Those holding work permits cannot hire FDWs. PRs and those citizens' household earning above $8000 should pay at least $500 as FDW levy per month. If they employ more than 2 maids in the same address, they should pay double for their second maid.
* * * * * * * * * *
26 Apr - Saw Donkey's comment and have extracted to upload.
Spore employers didn’t force you (FDW) to accept an overseas job that you felt lowly paid and not well treated. Don’t give such lame excuse! Don’t think you’re so pathetic and place the blame on Sg employers. It is your own country that cannot offer high salary and welfare that’s why FDWs are flocking to Sg, after comparisons.
Winter: S$250K p.a …….faint!! If a middle income working woman earns S$3000 each month, one year she is only drawing $36k. You are so highly paid, so well off yet claimed you’re not rich! You don’t own Ferrari, AM or lambo but you can afford 4 cars with professional attention! Which woman doesn’t want to stay home to look after her own children if husband earn easy money like you, just half will do? S$250k per year, I/we must slog how many years to have this amount?? Donkey has 4 cars, dogs….. show off big time, step on the POOR without feeling remorseful and felt doing the right thing!
In case self righteous/activists forget how to count, S$250k p.a., an employee must earn S$20833 per month. I believe many dual income - working couples classified as middle income group, are unable to earn a combined income of S$20,000 per month. Isn't this pathetic?
* * * * * * * * * *
25 Apr - Up to bosses and agents to set rules of maid conduct, My Paper
I am not rich and earning a lot to own a car, spend on yearly vacation out of Spore nor can have a pet. Employing a maid to me, is a necessity and I believe I'm not the only 'poor employer' here. Being 'poor' doesn't mean we treat our FDWs badly.... don't understand why others fail to understand. We provide the basic live-in conditions and expenses as per MOM law, see Cost to employ Maid.
Being an employer of good quality certainly do not mean you'll get a good quality maid. She is herself, employer do not own her, you cannot assume FDW will be appreciative and deliver quality work. Who says you're extra nice to FDW, she has to repay your kindness and work well for 2 years? My experience in hiring transfer maids didn't prove that. I certainly don't have Donkey's good luck and solid financial status. Even if Donkey ends up with a few bad maids, she can afford the losses, no big deal, just some paper missing. Her definition of money:
If maids felt they are slaves, not well fed and they can live better in their own countries, why fly to Spore to eat our money? Why spend money as loan to feed the agencies? Used S$2000-3000 to come to Spore is a small amount to them?
If Donkey is using US$ to compare, first of all, any American want to fly to work as FDW? Secondly, USA is not an approved source country so the apple to strawberry comparison is inaccurate. To be fair to us, self righteous people should do an apple to apple comparison, not forgetting the living standards in Spore and source country (where FDWs spend the money).
Thirdly, this is Spore. We earn our S$ here, live here and spend using S$ not US$ or peso/rupiah!
Maids earn S$ but convert and spend using their local currency, low living costs so their money ended up a lot. How many maids earn S$ and spend all their S$ money in Spore? Where you earn is where you spend. Maids/Nannies/Cleaners maybe earning US$800 but they spend in USA, based on US living standard. It is unfair to use US standard to rate us when we are in Spore! Absurd. Do they have a PAP system in USA? They get good and cheap medical, do we?
If I based on US$800 for a live out nanny, it is only S$993 so much cheaper than what I’m paying for a live-in Filipino. The amount I've calculated is S$1700 per month. Is this dirt cheap?
If we're looking for a nanny or cleaner, be very specific, why do we need to employ foreign domestic workers? A local babysitter cost about $$500 to $800. The nanny takes care of the child, feed, shower, do clean-up associated to the child, ensure her house is clean and safe, do her own washing after each cooking, responsible for her own utilities, etc. Not many of us need a maid totally to babysit or do housework... one specific duty. Some households simply cannot generate that much work, enough to let maid be occupied for 6 to 10 hours each day.
If a maid is going to cost US$800/S$993 and doing only one duty, either cook, do housework, babysit or take care of elderly .... who wants? Most of us don't live in 3 storey house or huge landed property, thus, able to make a maid carry out one duty .... work by just doing housekeeping or cook for the whole house, about 10 persons in the same roof. We live in tiny HDB flat, each unit is about 100 sqm and mostly just 4 persons (2 working adults and 2 kids) in the house. To walk from one end to another (our house) or to tour our whole house, it takes less than 1 minute. How to generate enough work (8 hours/day) for a maid, based on one duty/responsibility?
Are you prepared to let your maid Skype using your home laptop (like Donkey)? Are you happy to see your maid spending 50% of her time talking on her personal phone, Facebook, flirt with men and/or watching TV? You don't mind hire a princess-maid .... you slog harder than FDW, pay to let her enjoy life? Having a maid is like having a toy, makes no difference to the total household expenditure?
Civic activism is good for Singapore but it must be grounded by updated facts. People should not criticise for the sake of doing so or pull out outdated data to support modern city life. Don't insist you are absolutely right when the facts presented showed your mindset need some adjustment. Your unwillingness to accept new facts, kept denying what others are facing, just because you were being born and blessed with a good life. It is unfair to people less fortunate than you. The real world is harsh, just that you are too lucky and unable to get a taste of it!
If I can find a good babysitter willing to give my girl loving care, stay nearby, have a good environment for my girl, I would rather employ a local babysitter than a FDW. It is also a risk to put my girl in a stranger's house, thus, even if get a babysitter but not recommended by people I know, I won't feel she's in good hands. Having a FDW has a lot of problem but I can have CCTV at home. Example this afternoon, I saw my girl crying, maid sms she wants to eat something but didn't tell me what. I told her to show me in front of the home CCTV. I won't be able to see my girl if she's in a babysitter's premises.
Those rich and self righteous persons can continue to show off their wealth, let their valuables lying around the house, show off how many cars and dogs receiving professional care ….. continue show off you’re RICH but don’t step on the Poor (low to middle income group)! Whatever people such as Donkey spent on FDW, are small money to them but the money we spent on FDWs are our hard earned money, they are not peanuts, they are the fruits of our hard labour! They can afford to live a comfortable life and no need to worry of not enough money, can we? Do we have such luxury?
* * * * * * * * * *
19 Apr - this means MOM will now revoke more work permit applications if found FDWs entered Singapore as tourists to look for employers - direct hire? So employers are now the biggest losers if FDWs coming in via the legal way but unwilling to work, bad working attitude and/or unable to perform their roles as domestic maids for 2 years?
Can MOM stop being so obedient to Philippines government?
Why can't MOM get more source countries and stop us for being manipulated by Philippines and Indonesia? Taking good care of foreigners is more important? Allowing poor quality women to work as domestic maids is helping us? Are FDWs causing us harm and/or making us incurr more and more losses?
Based on MOM's website, there are currently over 10 approved source countries - Indonesia, Philippines, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and South Korea BUT how nationalities are being marketed in Spore? It is very obvious MOM is sleeping! People sitting on the top, it is hard to get them feel the ground. When you tell them you saw an ant, they can't see because they refused to bend down to see.... they want to stand tall!
Source: Tourists looking for work as maids to be denied permits
A FDW's point of view, related to above:
* * * * * * * * * *
Apr - This is what a maid commented about her employer on Facebook. I have used purple to put my comments.
1. Your friend's house is small, your house is 3 floor, and you ask me to mop with my hand the whole house 1 time a day, the whole house!
JA is needed to mop my floors once a week and when there's oily cooking. I don't understand how come some houses need to be sweeped and mopped once or twice a day. If you live near the main road, with your windows opened like my mum-in-law then I agree the house is dusty and dirty. Maybe employers can't find other tasks for this FDW?
2. You ask me to wash your car every day, but when you hire me you only ask me to wash 1 time a week. Even if your car not dirty you ask me to wash the car.
Looks like employer really can't find other tasks for this FDW or 洁癖?
3. Just one more, out of so many nonsense you ask me to do. You ask me to handwash all your clothes and jeans. My hand skin break and I tell you and you still tell me to handwash without glove, because you say that I cannot wash properly with glove? You ask me why I need glove like a princess? You now prefer my blood from my hand go to your clothes instead? Because now my blood is flowing in your clothes you wear every day, a little blood every dress you have.
Olden days, people handwash clothes. Some people just like handwash compared to machine wash because their clothes are expensive (living in 3 storey .... rich employer) so don't want them to be ruined by washing machine.
Shows that this FDW was a princess at home, her mum didn't ask her do any manual chores since young so her hands are very tender, too well taken care of when she was not a maid.
If my FDW wants glove to protect her hands, I'll buy because I know some cleaning chemical quite strong. My Indo maid M wore gloves to mop the floor. JA doesn't want, said inconvenient, can't twist mop or cloth dry.
4. If you not working do you want to wipe your house with your hand once a day? Do you want to wash your car every day? You use your hand to wash the clothes? I bet every dollar I have you cannot take it and you cannot do it every day and you will buy a real mop top mop. You only take advantage of me, because to me you have no heart to care. Just because you pay me $450 a month you think that you own my soul?
Why employ a maid when Madam has to wipe the house herself? She can complain, not trapped or sold to anybody, what's stopping this maid from asking a transfer? If life is so tough here, salary is low, why didn't she go back home and continue be a mummy's princess? You can end your suffering by calling your agent to pick you up! Then, remember to offer them money as service fee to find you a preferred employer.
Extracted from forum, posted by bargainhunter3, 12 apr 2013
My maid get caught with stealing at my house and we have arranged her to be sent back to Indonesia tomorrow. She is currently with Maid Agency but to avoid something funny happen behind us, I think I should post here to warn everyone.
She is great in lies.
I got her from transfer. According to agent, she got transfer out by the first employer because the old folk pass away. She requested for transfer out from second employer because she know she can earn more money with the request (I suspect should be agent who teach her but not sure.)
Second attemp to break in my laptop happened again after we have re-format the laptop and crashed again. We have warned her without checking as we are 100% confirmed. But her answer is still 'NO, I never touch'.
Her target changed to our IPOD after that. My husband got a habbit to clean the IPOD after used. But he realized finger print all over the IPOD after he is back from work. He warn her not to touch anything on table and the answer is the same 'No, I never touch anything on table and I will not touch'. We just keep quiet for months after a few warning although this keep happen and happen every day. The best part is my hubby changed the password and she still can get the right password. My hubby try to close the room's door and warn her not to enter the room. But she just ignore all the warning and continue taking my hubby's IPOD without permission and break in the password secretly.
Until today... My hubby's totally can't find the IPOD. Of course we know where as there is only a person at home. My hubby ask her why is the IPOD and she hesistate and quiet. Finally IPOD found has been hiding under the bed.
Who can protect employer in this case?
LABOUR EXPRESS AGENCY totally washed out. Saying all charges for sending her back must be bear by employer. All charges for transfer must be paid by employer. If there is no employer want her, we will still have to pay for the air ticket.
Any rule to protect employer in this case???
Understand that if the maid haven't fully pay for the loan, employer will also have to pay for it!!! Who will protect employer in this case???
Understand that those problematic maid who get kick out by ex employer but employer requested for transfer, maid agency will still hide all things from the new employer!!! Who will protect us in this case???
Extracted from forum, posted by michelle_wei, 12 apr 2013
* * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * * * *
10 Jan - In Dec 2012, many cases of foreign workers on strike or refused to work. The most outstanding case was SMRT drivers on strike.
I wonder should the FDWs in Spore stand up to voice.
I think they should give Spore govt 14 days notice before they organise a legal strike.
- FDWs should ask why allow their agencies to charge them S$3000 as agency fee and made them work for free for 7-9 months. Employers were victims too, FDWs shouldn't point the wrong fingers. We paid agency fee, your lodging, 3 meals, insurance ...... any many others. How much does a one way air-ticket cost? FDW doesn't fly to Spore via SQ, she flown in via cheap airlines. Agencies claimed each FDW were given 400 training hours in home country but she came and unable to carry out any housework in Spore.... lies! All these adminstrative and training really need S$3000?? All those middle men and agencies are just blood sucking monsters. Now with SIP, did it help FDW? No, I doubt so.
- Ask their embassies why their countries have no printed notices or handbook about domestic workers working in Singapore. A lot of them have no internet access in home country. They were cheated by their local recuitment agencies, thought Spore is a land full of gold. More information should be easily available in their home country.
- Why MOM charging employers levy of $170 or $265/month and unwilling to make this become part of FDWs' monthly salary? If levy is waived, each fresh FDW working in Spore can be paid at least S$450 salary + $170 = S$620/month.
- Why FDW cannot live-out and must be a live-in FDW in Spore? FDWs may have no freedom and can be exploited to work long hours, 14 - 16 hours a day. Not many get hired by expatriates in Spore and given a special employment package.
Turn the table around, should all FDWs' employer organise a legal gathering to voice our concerns to ensure our MOM and government listen properly and act fairly? To have an untrained live-in FDW, each employer is parting with S$1300 to $1800 per month per FDW, is this fair? This 'investment' is of low or zero returns, based on the poor FDWs' quality.
Employers tried to voice but our MOM unwilling to listen well. Policies are protecting the interest of unscrupulous maid agencies (registered and working closely with AEAS or CASE) without considering the hardship of the middle-income consumers (employers). The agencies are manipulating the situation at the expense of the consumers..... as well as FDWs. Very disappointed with the way our Ministry and government is handling our grievances. The current FDW's employment terms is unfriendly, too harsh and unfair to full-time working employers.
News of foreign workers on strike made me felt if we, the workers are pushed to the edge, strike may be more common in Singapore, be it illegal or legal, it is the best way to get public attention .... a desperate scream for help! In this instance, I'm not an employer but a full-time worker, a helpless working mother who has nobody to turn to for help. I have a special needs child to care for and a job that I wanted very much to keep.