What maids did? Part 5
FDW Source country - Philippines
Special Needs Part 1
My 4th filipino FDW (JA)
Who earns lesser than FDWs?
Winter: Can you believe a country creating haze every year, polluting its own country and neigbours that it cares for its citizens .... especially poor women leaving their homes to work in foreign lands? Instead of men working hard to support the households, these women became the breadwinners. The Ministers of that country are corrupted, can't control and reduce haze problem, had the cheek to blame Singapore for being the owners of the plantation companies. Before you people say anything, touch your heart you really have good intentions, not trying to pocket more money from the pathetic Indonesian FDWs and Spore employers. Don't make the whole world laugh at you, we have eyes to see! Indonesia's mentality towards Singapore - hostile, jealous, bias and hateful.... trying all ways to get free money from us with "good excuses"! U have no gratitude for nature and countries that provided good employment opportunities for your citizens. I am sure Spore isn't that bad, at least better than source country. If letting you have your way, that is your wilful ignorant policies is a form of respect and indirectly agreeing you care for your citizens .... Spore govt must be blind or 'kowtowing'!
I really can't understand why some people with qualifications higher than me or is a person with power can be do unrealistic = brainless! FDWs are hired to work in a house so how much work can employer generate to fill the FDW's day if her duty is purely on childcare, eldercare, cook or do housework? A house is not a daycare centre with many children/elderly to handle, a restaurant that requires a person to cook and serve nor a hotel that has many rooms to 'make up'. If FDW cannot undertake a 2 in 1 or 3 in 1 job, why do we need her?
As long as employer gives FDW at least 9 hours continuous rest, she is not overwork. If this 9 hours include time spent on Facebook, phone calls, messaging, to sleep, etc = maid's personal time, employer should't be blamed. FDW chose to forgo a good night rest, means utilised her entitled rest time in other form, who's fault? Don't forget that modern FDWs don't work non stop, they take breaks in between... please use your brains, maids aren't rebots or really stupid... only rare cases of bad employers who thought they must make each cent spent on FDW worth!
I suggest those so-call kind people to spot check on FDWs without off days, check their well being if you really have a good heart, don't target employers who gave FDWs weekly off days. These FDWs have outlets to unwind and enjoy. These FDWs gathered to share tips, grumble as well as do whatever they fancy so how pressurised and bottled up can these maids be? These maids can easily visit any maid agency to look for better employers.
Am I right to say it is all about higher demands and pulling dirty tricks to get more money yet FDWs performing lesser work? Am I right to say source country is trying to bully this tiny red dot? Blackmail, threatening.... money makes the world goes round, agree? I do hope one day I don't need to employ maid as a special needs parent and best of all, Spore has no FDWs, totally free from the clutches of source countries and maid agencies... +sickening activists. Hope to see a better and caring govt who can think and ideally resolve issues in our shoes. At the moment, FDWs are a necessity, not a luxury! We need them, they need us! Let's see what pro-maid MOM intend to do, how much 'meat they want to cut' from us.
Indonesia plans to stop sending new live-in maids abroad, Straits Times, 18 May 2016
Indonesian authorities want its domestic workers to live separately from their employers in dormitories, work regular hours, and get public holidays and days off.
The Indonesian Ministry of Manpower's director for the protection and placement of Indonesian migrant workers abroad, Mr Soes Hindharno, told The Straits Times that, in turn, employers will get "better-quality" workers. They will be certified in Indonesia and trained to excel in specific skills, such as cooking, childcare and eldercare. "They are also free to do other chores, but don't penalise them if they don't do too well in areas outside their skill set. We want better protection for our workers. If they are always indoors, we don't know if they have worked overtime. They should be compensated for that."
The move will be made in phases and will first require meetings with the authorities in receiving countries, including Singapore. Mr Soes said the initiative will affect only new workers. Maids already working in households abroad who are happy with their employers can extend their visas.
The move is part of Indonesian President Joko Widodo's plan to professionalise informal employment. A road map to stop sending Indonesian maids abroad by next year was announced by the previous administration in 2012, amid worries about maids being mistreated. Indonesia is the biggest source country for maids in Singapore, with around 125,000 working here.
Concerns have been raised in Indonesia about the working conditions faced by live-in maids working abroad, and progress on addressing them has not been made fast enough, according to Association of Employment Agencies (Singapore) president K. Jayaprema. The association has been working closely with the Indonesian authorities to address these concerns. Ms Jayaprema said: "We also want to ensure quality domestic workers can continue to come to Singapore."
Agents said they support formalised training, but logistical issues like lodging, travel and housing will need to be settled if maids live out. "It might be difficult to get all employers on board," said Nation Employment managing director Gary Chin, adding that some might be concerned about unpredictable delays during maids' commutes.
One employer, a banker who gave her name as Madam Molly, 53, said she would prefer to have a helper at night as she sometimes works late. "She doesn't have to do anything after dinner, but it's just good to have an adult at home with the kids," said the single mother of two.
Mr Jolovan Wham of the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics said caregivers could have formal shifts, adding: "If where you live and work is the same, working hours are not clearly defined, and being socially isolated, domestic workers can't ask for help."
A spokesman for Singapore's Manpower Ministry said it had not received any information from Indonesia about the request for live-out maids, and the live-in requirement is not peculiar to Singapore, as Hong Kong, Taiwan and Malaysia have the same requirement. "Singapore does not condone mistreatment of foreign domestic workers and has taken errant parties to task," said the spokesman.
Indonesian maid Aisyah, 27, who goes by only one name and has been living in Singapore for six years, was happy to hear about the possibility of a live-out arrangement. "My situation is okay but I have some friends who say they need help but cannot get it because they are always at home," she said. "Living outside will give us more free time, more friends, but some might prefer to stay at home if employers treat them like family."
James Tan -- So after we investigate them for the haze issue, they not only want to cut off ties with us on environmental, now they feel they want to step in and cut off ties with our Manpower too? We don't need their Manpower then, I would prefer a Myanmar maid rather than the bad repo of murderous Indonesian maids they have.
Lai Yin Lee -- rather confused...so will they stop sending maids abroad or want them to live in dormitories?
Siti Farhana --Not all indonesian maids are bad..there are some gd ones too. Same goes to filipino, myanmar, sri lanka etc. Even some employers are bad as well. So dont judge their nationality . The best is just take care of ur own child .
Bunda Yunita -- Then hire Myanmar maid lor..not all Indonesian maids are bad..if you go to playground you will see Myanmar maids like to bring food and sit on the ground eat their meal while the kids just put on the stroller.
Jairaj Kumar -- James Tan, why can't u also mention our own Singaporean employers who are continuously in the news for abusing maids, both mentally and physically? Stop being a jackass, the current system we have is as good as modern day slavery. It's a good thing Indonesia is stepping up to protect their people heading overseas. And stop muddling it with the haze issue.
Catherine Lozano -- Not nice to say, im a filipino but i think you want to hire Myanmar because you can easily manipulate them. If your good employer im sure that your maid will be good too..
Siti Farhana -- If u suay...myanmar maid also cn harm ur family. Doesnt matter from which country. There r gd n bad ones in every country . Just saying
Sebastian Lim -- Canada have no import of domestic helper. Banning foreign domestic helper is good for politics. This is the first step to shut off those shouting the slogan of saying no to 6.9m
钟萍钟 -- Indonesia government must have plan to support your loss of income , just go back and enjoy life then . All the best .
Rudolph Vaughn -- Why are the indons and pinoy maids so defensive about this post? Know where you stand in Singapore society. If you don't like it then catch the first trip out of this country. Nobody is stopping you and rest assured that you won't be missed.
Kizel Wong -- The maids should go to Taiwan, Hong Kong which don't have a better law to protect them... Singapore law protected them well so they are riding on our head!
Sarina Rahman -- Errrrr like tat ah .. Better keep yr maids lah eh. U think maid now very cheap is it. I hv seen maids are more richer than the employers themselves. We need maids for reasons. Not all employers are evil. And not maids are angels. Just keep yr maids lah eh.
BL Tan -- Before he point finger at other countries, he should go and check all the maids work in Indonesia are they following the conditions he stated.
Yenyen Lim -- Good. Send them all back. They might as well bar Singaporeans from going to Wonderful Indonesia as well. Even better, bar ALL tourist from entering Indonesia. No wonder the planes got directed to wrong places in Indonesia. Just direct them all OUT of Indon.
Elaine Mae-lyn -- Well for too long we Singaporeans have been too spoilt and dependent on cheap labour and to make matters worse there is a minority who has no qualms about treating another human being like an animal or worse. Sometimes I feel if we did not have this easy access to maids, perhaps employers will be forced to look into the type of working hours we keep in Singapore and learn to be more flexible. Who knows, it might just lead to a better work life balance for all and one in which old folks and children don't have to contend with the only adult present at home being only the maid.
Norman Joshua Lai -- So much of protection and regulations, why not stay focus to plan jobs for them back home in Indonesia. Why support them to work as maids abroad and make it so competitive because there are maids from other countries that do not have such restrictions ???
Shabana Akhtar -- When I gave my maid off she looked for boyfriend and she lied to me that she don't have Hp. When I checked she actually had 3. I had to send her back and I've to bear the cost. Looking for new maid Trainning her and a whole lot of expenses on the new maid. Employers are being penalized. Recently my maid of 8 months left my baby who was sleeping alone at home while she drop my elder son to school. It's accident waiting to happen. Now I've to bear the full cost of getting new maid all over again! Again I'm penalized as an employer. And their salary is increasing year by year and yet the quality of maid is declining. So how are we suppose to work in peace while "entrusting" our children to a stranger? It seems that these maid can break the contract by not completing their 2 yr contract and they don't lose anything. Why so?
Mami Ailah Mengurut -- Errr is it because of the toddler case who died at the hands of the maid..maybe thats the reason the indo authorities jump in to make new changes for all maids to live in separately because most maids complaining of ill treatment got by their employer?
Might as well sgp employers that dont like the system to employ myanmar maid instead.
Vin Chia -- We singapore don't really need indonesia maid,since we still have other countries,is not just indonesia,is better our government bring them back,no indonesia pple can come over to singapore
Au Kah Kay -- Better not to hire an Indonesian maid if this is the case. Employers sill have to contend with MCs, absenteeism and truancy.
Kel Lee -- Let's see this from the maid's point of view. Now must wake up even earlier. Pay for own transport and lodging, and even own breakfast and dinner. End of the month, what will be their take home pay?
Fand Zee -- Ph off and live out? Sounds like a student living in hostel..or expat workers...should count them in for income tax too....i heard my friend maid went clubbing at night and return morning to care for kids lol.....they should apply for jobs, pay rent and meals just like an employed worker not under domestic worker since they require the stardards. Many filipinos nowadays applied for childcare jobs to teach english...they dont work as domestic anymore. This is the first question i ask when i enrol my child to class....local or Filipino teaching english? Anyway if indo maids have better living standards better in indo...well care by their garment they should not come spore. We only prefer quality maids when we pay a higher premium. They are free to resign and return. Its just a job. So far i brought my helper holidays twice a year and she is happy=)
Jimmy Chua -- build a dorm for maid?..hahaha....Indonesia is becoming a huge laughing stock in Asia. ,,a lorry with maids arrive every morning as early as 6am or expect the maids to take public transport early morning and by12am back to dorm?..3 meals all by themselves too? medical fee paid by themselves too?..do not shower and wash their clothing in employers house, buy their on 3-1 Kopi , shampoo n soap..?, living in dorm, means lower pays with high daily expenses and inconveniences for the maids, . and soon we will hv a Little Indo in Mandai,,and becomes another public attraction, must see.
Nigel Lian -- If you stop live in, they will definitely spend more here. I know many households that give their maids good perks from food to other goodies and even utilities like Internet. Think again. Anyway, this move may also further contribute to the issue of maids moonlighting wink emoticon
Alvin Chiong -- How are you ( Indonesia ) going to help them secure a job..?? If they can get a decent job in Indonesia, do you think they want to leave their family and work in a place far from home...????
Ad Rella -- They come here to settle down or to work? The Dorm Isn't it another extra living expenses.. To rent a room in SG is not cheap.. Plus.. How about I hire a maid and rent a room for her within my place? Min. A room is already $500. If co-sharing is $250. Btw.. Group them together is the worst.. They learn bad work ethics from each other.. Heard so much stories.. How to hire?? Who mind if they can feed themselves.. Pay own transport.. Take mc on own expenses? If run away, no penalty for employers? But I guess SG will have a sudden influx of maid here pretending to be maid and run away kind! Another social problem..best is to stop sending Indonesia maid.. Their president will take good care of them right? No need to be maid if there are good jobs within the country..
BenjaminShylyn Chang -- Wow..don't they have days off nowadays?? So if to arrange them to live in dormitories..who will bear the costs of building the dorms?? Talk so easy..what about the potential problems of having them living in dorms?? I can easily name a few problems that may arise..reporting to work late..vice activities in dorms..healthcare & cleanliness issues which will then bring about frequent MCs..etc.. might as well employ part-time helpers..
钟萍钟 -- Great ! I knew this day will eventually come when maids will demand . I have fully prepared to handle without the help of maids , I will give some allowances to my relative to help bring my parents to docs and cook meals , I will do housework by myself like the old days . Nothing is impossible , impossible is nothing ! Want try to blackmail us ? 回家吃自己
Solomon Tan -- I think it's an absolutely fabulous idea! How about we stop the maids tomorrow morning and we deported all Indo maids by tomorrow at 2359 hrs? We have to respect our fellow ASEAN country and to show that our country is highly effective in administration.
Paul Tan -- Indonesia has such genius leaders. They look after their citizens well. No need to work as maids. They will give each Indonesian US $1000 every month. Ministers will forgo bribes and will pool together bribe money to upkeep their citizens. No need to bribe to burn and clear plantations, more haze will be loving extended to Singapore,Malaysia and some say batam. Thank u thank u thank u. Ruth Pritchard also would like to thank u for the haze as it helps to speed up her death process.
Derek Yip -- Now they come here to go MBS, Merlion, picnic with other fellow "tourists" and always ask for extra allowances or early salary payout and sleep earlier than the owner .... Fair? Right? Or Singapore is always wrong or we are just been too kind?? .... "like" if some of you are experiencing such
Erni Poyraz -- Good support frm indon govt to their citizen who want to work here as , domestic worker . But pls ensure they are 'very' skilful, 'very' qualified , 100% ready to work in modern country like Singapore . Drop the cat. such as fresh or exp or whatever maid . All must be same gred . Improve their Eng lang skill first most importantly . KPI must be imposed for them oso to keep up with their job skil.
Roy CJ Gwee -- The Indonesian president should do what he is paid to do and also arrange for the bond that employers have to pay to be terminated. The Indonesian government should then provide the guarantee required by the Singapore Government against over stayers, pregnancy etc.
John Goh -- Time to bring in other countries FDW... SG government, should bar Indo FDW as well... So let their own indo government create job for their own FDW instead.
Derrick Wong -- Not all domestic workers are bad. Not all employers are good. If anyone is lucky, do not abuse it. But if the dw has to stay in dorm now, it means employer has to pay more. I will be happy to settle down with other live in dw. Moreover, my house is a haven for the maid the whole day; no one in the house and also internet service. Only busy in the morning and evening. If that is too much to ask for....good bye.
Eric Gerrard Seah -- very ironical. They have yet settle their living standards and the working hrs within their country..They already start to poke hands into the matters here. Dun work in the rubber plantation require long hours and meagre salary . if the standard of living is good who wants to be a maid. Some re even having high qualifications.
Ryu Chan -- strait times always like to use headlines to cause argumentative comments so that netizens paid attention to its news and a certain few netizens did not read finish the entire article and start typing irresponsible comments. Actually, the main crux of this article is that Indonesia will give you better skilled and trained domestic workers but in return more welfare and benefits to be given to them. In the form of domestic workers living separately from their employers in dormitories, work regular hours, and get public holidays and days off. Thanks for sharing.
Peter Tan -- Terms and conditions not met you are not going to get any maids all are staying at home growing palm oil,rice and vegetables.
Karta Kosasih -- Most of you Singaporeans live in apartments. Why do you need maids anyway? I lived in Australia and it is almost unheard of to employ a live-in maid. I cleaned my house myself once a fortnight or once a month depending on my schedule. Clean your house yourself and learn to bloody cook. Are you guys really that lazy?
Elaine Yong -- Impractical and silly. Does it stop mistreatment of maids? You are not solving the problem... just killing opportunities for yr own people and helping other countries.
Ying Shu Heng -- The market will respond accordingly. If market deems the standard of domestic help from Indonesia is worth the increase in pay and other benefits, it will pay. If the market deems that the quality of workers do not justify the increase in cost, it will seek another source of workers. The Indonesians have every right to make demands, and the market has every right to choose to whom it pays.
Hannah Foong -- My relative who hired a Indonesian maid, she turned out to be useless. Only knows how to suck up to her employer and gives black face; talks back and reluctant to do anything when other family members asks her to do something. Told her to get a simple thing done; she disappears, reappears 2 hours later having taken a nap and shower and totally forgot what I asked her to do in the first place. shrugs and does nothing when I point out that there are ants in the kitchen. If you have no motivation to work and yet demand so many privileges it's better that we hire maids from another country with better attitude who actually want to work. I have never heard of people talking back to their employers without getting fired seriously. If they get fired they should be made to bear the cost of their return trip to their own country. Why should we pay everything for them?
Aileen Tan -- Indo maid run away back to embassy and the employer can't do anything. Just because of home sick. 30 plus still home sick come only 5 months, one fine day just run away without notice. So indo better don't send out their people, better stay back inside.
Lai Yin Lee -- if you want to protect your womenfolk, please keep them at home. make your indonesian men work hard to support the family so that their wives don't have to be maids overseas.
my former maids told me their husbands don't work...they come out to work as maids and send money home.
Nazlynna AshBourne -- Lol work during working hours when that working hours we are working? So by the time we come back, they go back? So have to call maid everytime we need to ask her about housework? Wow make sense hah? Everyday in out, nobody at home...? Lol
Rudolph Vaughn -- FTs don't have the right to demand anything. In fact, they should even be grateful and thankful that through our generosity they were allowed to work here in the first place. Singapore does not owe you anything. It was never her obligation to provide work for FTs. It's a privilege given and a privilege that can be taken as we please. If they don't like it then please by all means, go back to your country and work there. Nobody is stopping you and nobody is even going to miss you. There are still a lot of nationalities who are more than willing, to the point of even giving up their lives just to come and work here. That's a fact and you can take that to the bank.
Loh Wai Poon -- Interesting, employees host country dictating terms to employers. Who has the money? Reality will tell u, u raise demands that I cannot or don't like to accept, the deal is off! We cannot open the floodgate to employees making unreasonable demands. U make it official, we go elsewhere to find minds.
Nicole Ling -- This is a positive, progressive step towards just and fair employment. Although employers don't like this new ruling, we need to understand that Domestic Workers need their own privacy, rest and personal time away from their employees. Nobody likes to live with their bosses 24/7 and yes, nobody should not be on call round the clock. Nobody likes to be working all the time and nobody wants their bosses hanging around them even when they are resting. In terms of employment rights, this is a positive change. However, this will certainly bring inconvenience for those who depend on maids to care for elderly family members or pets.
Amelia Errington -- I am all for this - but the FDW have to be responsible for themselves. They pay their own Insurence and bond and are liable for their own well being and misconduct. Sometimes hiring a helper is like having a teenager. They want freedom ( which is fine) without the responsibility. I have from my own experience thought this arrangement would allow the hired help to be happier as she has more freedom. She was paid double, worked 9 to 5, 5 day week and yet she abused my child. Indonesia wants a better environment for their people, completely understandable - but that does not translate to better workers 100percent of the time. And it's even riskier for employers with this arrangement.
Nina Hilmi -- Wow!!it seems their 4benefit working in spore is much much better than a singaporean!i dun have much benefits working in my company compared to them..wat a great move!
Tan Soon -- The Indonesia Government shall reflect themselves and review why their lady need to work abroad and instead of earning a decent living in their own country. Even with increase of the country min. wages. The cost of living is still high. Stop corruption, improve education and improve your country economic, this is the better way. No doubt the government motive is to improve their lady working environment abroad but this is totally out of your jurisdiction, as only Singapore government agreed to the terms and revamp the maid employment regulation in Singapore. Singaporean will find challenging cost of living and might not want to have more baby.
Danny Ngio -- well.. then the domestic workers will have to pay for their so call dormitories. who will suffer more? i'm quite sure the workers will have more things to say about this.
James LY -- Great. Otherwise our kids would be hurt or harmed by them deeply! Stay at ur home not to come. With millions of thanks! By the way, control ur haze in a better way n do not influence our normal live here ! Do ur part as a country should take the responsibility , won't ya?
Emily Brenda Teo -- If your people (Indonesia) can work and provide better life to their families in their own country then they don't even need to come to other countries to work lah! Can't even protect your own citizens and still talking bullshit and putting up new rules, let see how "your people starve" in "your country lor"!
May Ong -- Useless government, if only you can help your own countrymen, you think these poor ladies need to sacrifice and leave their families to come all the way to Singapore for better paying job? As a self centred government to spite Singapore, you are creating more new problems to your countrymen than really helping them. These would be maids must thank you the "caring" government. Lol
Zura Zurah -- What kind of service is this. 1. why we have maid for to take care of our kids .if they are not there what is the point of having them?
Benjamin Yeo -- So does that means we don't have to pay levy? We can't be paying levy and paying their extra housing and if anything happen still employer problem. Point to ponder
Tung Chen Kum -- Ops.... What if the new President of the Philippines follow this proposal as well?
Si Poh Yan -- Singapore laws protect foreign workers better than their own citizens. Give an inch take a yard.
Priscilla Toh -- This make me think that DH is the employer and I am working to pay their salary
The makings of an Indonesian domestic worker, Nov 2015
Months of preparation have led to this moment — when Indonesian domestic workers meet a Singaporean agent for the first time, in the hopes of gaining a job in the Lion City.
“She’s shaking!” says the Indonesian recruitment agent, as we wait for the young woman standing before us to stammer a halting response. “Am I so frightening?” says Shirley Ng jokingly, prompting giggles from the group of about forty women seated cross-legged on the floor behind the unfortunate interviewee. “Why you so nervous nervous? Slowly, calm down.” “I used to work in Saudi, ma’am,” the woman finally manages to say, and we settle in for the rest of Shirley’s interview.
We are in Jakarta, Indonesia, where Shirley, a Singaporean employment agent from Orange Employment Agency, has offered to host Charmian and I for a day as she visits training centers in Indonesia to select workers she thinks she can market to employers in Singapore. We are in an area that Shirley says is populated by training centers which prepare Indonesian women for jobs abroad as domestic workers, at destinations such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore. It is at these training centers that women spend up to three months picking up a new language, accumulating the know-how of domestic chores, learning how to feed a baby, and practicing, on each other, the best way to roll an elderly patient on to a hospital bed.
Many training centers have set-ups similar to this — rooms that contain several beds, toilets, living room sets or child cribs, to train women to perform household chores in homes which may use different appliances or have different domestic configurations.
Some employment agents from Singapore make visits to these training centers in order to interview and choose workers that they would like to match employers to. Some may already have specific employers’ requirements in mind when selecting workers, while others are keeping an eye out for “quality” young women (as many an agent puts it) to add to their pool of candidates.
Shirley visits Indonesia almost every two weeks to make these selections. She will interview each worker personally — a process she considers crucial to the success of her business, which hinges on her ability to match a suitable worker to a suitable employer — and then collect their ‘bio-data’ (a candidate’s resume, detailing her experience, abilities, and personal details) to show to her clients.
An engaging, sharply charismatic woman who steps easily over potholes in high heels, she is now commanding the attention of a group of women who are getting ready to leave for years to work as domestic workers. Women are being called, one by one, to introduce themselves and talk about their employment history. Many of them are wearing badges on their chest that indicate their name, birthday, intended destination, height, weight, and age — an assemblage of the ‘bio’ and their ‘data’.
Shirley first calls on women who have had work experience in Singapore, and makes careful notes as she talks to them. She told us on the car ride there that appearances matter to clients, often more than experience: she knows that she knows she will have trouble convincing employers to select women who are too short (Shirley often chooses workers who are above 148 cm), too old (that is, above 35 years old), too dark-skinned, too frail, or who may appear less than pleasant-looking.
“It’s quite sad, but that’s the reality,” she says. “Ah mas (‘grandmas’) prefer good-looking girls, for example. If they get angry, they soften faster when the worker is pretty.” Women who are short, frail-looking or with “baby-faced” features may convey a lack of competence in being able to perform their duties independently. Based on their appearance, employers may perceive that they are unable to handle the rigour of household chores — such as hanging out laundry in high-rise apartments, carrying heavy bags, and reaching for items in high shelves.
For many of these women, their physical characteristics may be the ‘make or break’ reason why they are chosen to be ‘marketed’ in destination countries. Many employers express that choosing a domestic worker is a matter of heng sui — ‘luck’ — as they know little about the women whom they will invite into their homes for a two-year contract. Agents help to bridge this gap by offering advice, conveying a worker’s previous work background, or, like Shirley, by interviewing them in person every few weeks.
Throughout these interviews, Shirley is trying to grasp a sense of the worker’s employment history and the texture of her day-to-day life at her previous job. She asks the candidate about the scope of her duties, the size of the house in which she worked, if she took care of children, pets, or elderly people, what she cooked, and what her employers were like. She sometimes asks questions in English to gauge a worker’s linguistic ability.
A woman who worked with Indian expatriates in Singapore speaks English with a tinge of an Indian accent. Another woman tells us about how she worked in a house in Bukit Timah with a Malay family. A 24-year-old woman with short hair tucked behind her ears calmly reveals that, yes, she has had experience working in the Middle East: for two years, she cleaned twelve bathrooms, eleven bedrooms, and took care of nine children. She also cooked for the household of eleven. (We are all duly amazed. Shirley’s darting pen puts a star next to her name, and her bio-data will be brought to Singapore to be shown to potential employers.)
The selection criteria, however, goes beyond numbers: while centimetres, age, and years worked play a part — many ‘unsuitable’ workers are kindly, but decisively, given only a brief interview — there is also a particular quality that Shirley is searching for. It is something that Charmian and I found that we were also able to identify, after a while, putting our heads together to guess whether Shirley will star a worker’s name or not.
As Shirley says, the training of a worker is superficial; what she is looking for is the right “attitude”. It is the possession of a set of connected characteristics: confidence, calm, responsiveness, and maturity, manifested in the way a woman may answer a question, her body language, or the way she makes eye contact. Because of this, sometimes Shirley will choose women who run contrary to her initial set of criteria.
Shirley often describes the women she chooses as “bright-eyed” — engaged somehow, or capable. Shirley snaps photographs of the women whose 'bio-datas' she will market to employers in Singapore. Photographs are important, as they often form a striking first impression on employers and may strongly influence whether employers will select a worker or not. Shirley is concerned that the photos attached to their bio-datas may not be well-taken. To mitigate this, she takes extra photos of the women she has selected.
In an industry, a woman’s body (the way she dresses, carries herself, or performs embodied tasks) is inextricable from the labour that she performs and the initial impression she will make on her employer, This may be why agents place so much value on being able to meet workers face-to-face, and why both employers and agents connect bodily comportments and presentations of self to particular inferences about how well a worker will fare in her new job.
So much leverages on this moment of encounter. While many women navigate the interview deftly, some are tongue-tied, and lean towards the brink of nervous tears — even as Shirley tries to put them at ease. Shirley also says that candidates who are able to hold their own in an interview with her are more likely to be able to brave the admonitions of an employer.
An hour passes, and Shirley has made her choice of ten women whose bio-datas she will bring home. The training center will agree to hold these women ‘exclusive’ to Shirley for two weeks — meaning that they will not ‘sell’ the workers to any other agent from Singapore, leaving Shirley to risk ‘losing’ a worker after a client has made her selection. After that, the bio-data will go on the ‘open market’: still accessible to Shirley, but now without guarantee of availability.
Shirley asks the selected workers to take photos against a blank wall so that she can show them to potential employers. Then she thanks the group, and they disperse for lunch, and so do we — ducking back into the heat. The rest of the women must continue to wait, hopefully to be chosen by another agent, so that they can move forward on their migration trajectories.
Winter: FDWs are paid to work yet this report stated Spore is a place of modern slavery. I really hate activists for not getting facts correct and doing all their best to create conflicts. Indonesia a Hive of Modern-Day Slavery, Spore ranked 133rd with 5,400 while the Philippines is at number 19 with 261,200
FDWs are paid to work, not purchased as slaves, not our property or at Employers' mercy. This report is like slapping the faces of Spore ministers.
FDWs were cheated by recruiters to come to Spore. Not our fault, employers didn't force any poor or ambitious dream women to step into recruiters' office based in respective source country. Since we're hiring FDWs based on agency's bio data and paying all the inflated costs, painstakingly gave in-house training, why are we taking the blame for FDWs' plight? Aren't Employers pitiful and wrongly squeezed? Why FDWs are not required to be fully responsible for their actions?
Cost to employ a maid, DIY
|one way ticket||$100|
|taxi to airport pick FDW||$50|
|IPA (MOM employment letter)||$0|
|Work Permit & collection||$50||(WP can be mailed to employer's house)|
|Medical screening+ FDW pick up||$120|
|24 months insurance||$300|
You, sickening humans know PAP/MOM is afraid of saying NO to big countries. You people pretend to be blind and deaf.... find every ways to eat us, milk us and claimed slavery exist!
Indonesian maid hide stillborn in drawer, 21 Oct 2015
Maid charged in court over alleged abuse of her employer's children, 17 Oct 2015
Maid jailed for sex with employer's teenage son, 23 Sep 2015
Maid jailed for stealing luxury watches, cash from employer, 5 Aug 2015
Facebook comments on Indonesian maid salary:
Nov Nov -- Maids whom my mom has employed back home in Indonesia did not graduate from secondary school but they understand manners and honesty. The last 4 maids I employed in 6 years did not have manners and they stole from me. I gave them chances after chances and yet they did not repent.
Rhoda BebePretti -- Yes treat them well...I won't say there are no gd employers or no gd helpers in Sg. My past experiences of 3 helpers for my grandad was interesting. First one was gd initially then found out she's lesbian and would visit geylang for prostitute. We went to d police when she didn't come back home. Ah police checked n said this one again...I was dumbfounded. Later she came home to us n we went to police to inform her return. Afterwards follow w many gagas...2nd 1 was very lazy n I got a shock when I came home late 1 night to find her sleeping half naked...only when d 3rd 1 came in. A young girl but hardworking and really took gd care of my bedridden grandpa. We treated our helpers just like any other one a human, we don't starve them. We bought things for them. We brought them along to dine out w us too...but look around us. Its such a sorry sight to see maids around ur neighbourhood enjoying themselves but casting their responsibilities aside. Leaving old folks in wheelchairs treating them like junk. Sometimes at night when its windy n u can see frail old men or ladies feeling cold but did their helpers care abt them? As theres usually no one else around in d house there's no supervision unless u install an IP camera to monitor. Increase salary yes u may but make sure ur people come here to render their services and not just here to shake legs n not doing their part n keep asking for increment. Im not against anyone here just sharing my past experiences. Kudos to all the good employers and excellent helpers who did their utmost to care for their employers.
Lenny Ong -- Make sure the maid quality is good and up to standard for the worth of price hike to $550.
Helen Tong -- And urge MOM to review guidelines again. All these guidelines are against Employers. Can MOM shoulder certain responsibilities too?
Marlina Shikancil -- I agree with you lenny ong,I myself a helper but I don't agree about increasing salary for those none experience maids.
Lenny Ong -- Nowadays the maid give problem hide many thing from us only when we found out is too late, common problem - they outside have boyfriend, those Singaporean which have maid will understand the situation.
Maa Sűkä Ska -- So simple .. no money don't hire . Can't pay or not agree just fire them nicely .. all is government agreement. .. That's all . No need too much nonsense .
Marlina Shikancil -- Lenny ong @i guess about they having bf the problem is not in them but in yourself.they are human they are need someone to give them love.you as a good employer should give them advice ask them not to have any boyfriend unless they are willing to marry her and doesn't go to the hotel and don't bring them to enter your house
Siti Khalilah Al-Khatib -- Is ok to pay more... But quality of work suck big time... Treat them like a family also they back stab us back... Bad experienced with Indo Maid... Lying, stealing, etc.... Please provide a good quality Maid if u want us to pay them more.. Teach them about responsibility....
Maria Seow -- Don't mind to pay but provided they are well trained n work. Most important is that they have to bare the responsibility of getting pregnant not the employer. They shld have a penalty for that.
Liza Pascua -- Im 10yrs working in singapore untill now my salary only $500...not fair
Siti Nor'aini A S -- Hmm.. since many helpers want more freedom, and to be treated as equal, why not just like other work permit holders, pay them market rate but they find their own lodging... and employers are not responsible of their well being... and those who needs helper 24/7, pay them more but agree before hand the job scope.. give them the choice to choose..
Eddy Goh -- Increment is not so much of a problem, but the maid is getting worse than before. Lazy, not willing to learn, dirty, overslept....etc.
Daniel Gan -- SG$550 = RM1669.53. Malaysia has yet to decide on the salary increase for Indonesian maids, from RM700 to RM1,200 a month as proposed by the Indonesian government. See http://english.astroawani.com/.../malaysia-yet-decide...
The Indonesian government has announced that it would only lift the ban on its citizens working in Saudi Arabia if sponsors meet several new demands including monthly salaries of SR1,700 (SGD644), Fridays off, and overtime payment. Arab news
LeNaz Zikry -- Gosh! Indonesia, stop it eh. Give us maids of quality then we would be happy to pay as much. We are not shaming the maids, they're a few good ones but sad to say out of the few, most are terrible. Easier said than done. If slow and not clever but willing to learn and showed effort, its fine. But if stubborn, does not follow instructions but follow its own, then cannot lah. We at work also have to follow bosses' instructions.
Marlina Shikancil -- I don't understand why should increase salary all the time? well if they already work in singapore for a long period it's ok.but for the new domestic helper it's not fair for the experience one.as I ever being a new helper doesn't know yet how to do my work done properly.some more they are new why should they get day off and higher salary?.jokowi said gonna stop sending his people to work as a maid?.why now?.
Dan Fu -- First item on essential skills checklist : competence at extinguishing fires and mitigating haze. If employers pay more, they should expect an improved safety function?
Dani Herwie -- Why is everybody complaining that Indonesia needs to send us "quality" helpers? Isn't it up to the local agencies here to train them?
We have hundreds of thousands of domestic helpers in Singapore. Please do not cite a few examples here and there of cases when helpers went mad. It doesn't reflect the entire pool of the domestic helpers here.
Gosh. 50 years of Independence and good economy has made Singaporeans arrogant.
Venus Weng -- Don't mind to pay provided they are well trained... Majority of the domestic helpers now come here, not knowing how to cook, do household chores, take care of children / elderly & with attitude problem of not having the interest to learn when employers teach them. Ended up, working employers gotta rush back home to cook, do household chores & take care of the domestic helper instead. Quality of domestic helpers is better in the past.
Erni Poyraz -- We as employee has to set or meet a KPI standard at work, so shall we applied to these Maid also as yearly review.
Peter Tan -- Nowadays even salaries can be demanded wow since when I hear of such a thing not now certainly.It is like an applicant telling the potential employer I demanded a pay of so and so much....I think the interviewer will next tell the applicant thank you for coming for the interview we will look into your request and meantime you will hear from us within the next two weeks as to the result.Have a nice day. And after waiting for months it is not a case of no news is good news but no news is bad news you FAILED.
1. run away (for watever reasons, and not ALWAYS employers' fault, employer must pay
2. fdw get pregnant, employer responsible to arrange for repatriation, and must pay for their flt back home
3. fdw suddenly change their minds, dont want to complete contract and wants to go home, employer must pay for flight tix and again pay for a new replacement fdw.
...and etc etc etc..
And here i wish to stress that most of us need to employ fdws NOT because of luxury, its more of a neccessity..coz not all working parents have the luxury of choice of sending their young kids to be cared for by their grandparents..im not complaining here but i wished there could me more approriate protection for the employers of these fdws.
Lya Marriah -- Totally agree with u! I've experienced all that u stated! We employers also need to be protected. Eg. Should maids want to leave for whatever reason, they must give a months' notice. We as employees also hv that agreement.
Cathy Tan --Too bad MOM is NOT doing anything to protect employer despite they know that some maids really can't make it even if employer has repeatedly taught them the same task for months.
Susan Chloe -- Julia, agreed with ur mentioning.
Esp the Pinoys,they think so highly of themselves.Full of demands fr them.Employer around they act working,once we step out the house,they start their nonsense.Can't live without cellphone. They work to our standard requirements but most of the Pinoys think they are on pile with us & some even overrides employers. They have forgotten where their origins. Thanks to MOM for educating this Fdw mentally with the over protected dump rules
Lya Marriah --That's just NOT it. Maid wants to leave within 24hrs, we relented. So we change a new one. The new one also wants to leave. Untill we hv to go the in house classroom course as we changed maids too frequently but hey, it's they who wanted to leave? Worst still, we hv to pay for the course! MOM better do something. There MUST be a FIRM contract between us and maids.
Jihan Al-kathiri -- And the agencies, sit back relax and enjoy the commissions and perks. No responsibility or very few is ever borne by them
Connie Lee -- Totally agree to your views, Julia. I had my share of problematic maids. Treated them nice, but end up getting headache from them. Worse, we have to bear the costs of transferring or repatriation.
Sumita John Hisham -- All working mothers shd be given the opportunity for flexi hours or work from home. Also more incentives and subsidies for childcare. Best if all employers adopt family friendly practices for working mothers. Family do not need to employ maids to take care of the kids when they are at work. We are already focusing on the elderly population, hence the intergrated healthcare. Its time to focus on the future generation.
Sadly....we are the sandwiched group.
Jimmy Oh UtdbyUtd -- Employing a maid is like buying lottery as you won't know whether your bet will win you any money until the draw results are out. I believe many of us employers have positive and negative experiences with Indon maids or all other countries maids. It's not only about the quality of the maid that you hired. It's also how you train or guide them to live up to your expectations. Respect is the key factor that make your relationship with your maid work and it will enhance the work rate of your maid if she is happy working with you, chances are her work rate will be high and quality will improve as time passes. Be a respectful employer to your maid. They will respect you and your family in return.
Kh Stephen -- Depend on individuals and your luck too. I encounter two maids both are Indo. One was always in different moods. When happy she worked willingly and adverse when not. Always eyeing for males was a big problem and she ran away before her contract end. Another attitude problem as well and a great pretender. A little more work she pretended to have frequent headaches and given her afternoon nap. Spare her for breaking many items yet was ungrateful. She left before her contract end and wrote rubbish in her fb.
Murni Kamem -- I wonder can Indonesian government pass a law that their maid shd be paid $550 in their home country, with the same benefits as in Singapore? I guess not, because they knew that it is just not justifiable with their maid credentials.In reality, their maids received much lesser salary, longer working hours and no benefits. And yes, there are still many good maid in Indonesia who are hardworking and humble.
LeNaz Zikry -- Gosh! Indonesia, stop it eh. Give us maids of quality then we would be happy to pay as much. We are not shaming the maids, they're a few good ones but sad to say out of the few, most are terrible. Easier said than done. If slow and not clever but willing to learn and showed effort, its fine. But if stubborn, does not follow instructions but follow its own, then cannot lah. We at work also have to follow bosses' instructions.
Mary Cheah -- Don't understand, Indonesia currencies keep on dropping still asking 4 maids' salary increase whereas our S'poreans' salary increasing not much, worst not at all although S'pore currency value r high. Think twice not necessarily nd 2 hire Indonesian maids.
2nd taught, maids now n then r totally different. Their mind n thinking r expose 2 much on community, social media n internet not like kuku (wood).
Ognij Ttup Ttup -- How the increase in maids salary from Indonesia is justified when most new indonesians from the province are lowly educated as compared to their counterparts from Phil whom mostly have degree education or diploma holders?
Annie Tan -- I hope the 5k bond can be removed. Then the maids can hv more freedom. Coz now if they get pregnant or runaway, the employer is at fault. This is not fair coz the maids are grown ups, they should be responsible for their own actions
Gnanasegari Rajesh -- Look at statistic of abusing kids and adults. Indo maid r at the peak. Dare talk abt quality. Look at statistics of employer`s high blood pressure & increased stress level this few years. Managing our kids r easier than managing maids adjusting to all their demands. Yah we r at their mercy as we r all working adults. Never do work properly, it's OK never cook it's OK, chose off days and time offs it's OK, watch TV as they wish anytime, it's OK, But can we behave the same manner at our own workplace. Why our government is not flexible towards own citizen. All their expenses are taken care by us. Can our employer take care of my expenses. My maid's has a bungalow in her home town with big plots of land but we here can only afford a hdb flat. What is our government doing for us y not fight for us. Always fighting for rights of foreigners here as though we r treating them badly, have they ever look into every house how bad the maid is treating us and how we've accommodate their nonsense. If we show this kind of behaviour in our workplace we'll be sacked immediately. Our government should not judge every maid quoting the behaviour of their maid. Look into every layman's house in our neighbourhood and quality of each and every maid. Please fight for your own citizens first rather than always fighting for rights of foreigners in OUR country.
Serena Yeo -- It is not a matter of $500 or $550. What makes hiring a helper expensive is the maid levy and agents' loans /fees. These are fees that are paid to people whom are not doing the housework, and merely profiting from the poor helper and employer.
Higher pay for Indonesian maids from next year, Straits Times, 11 Nov 2015
Employers will have to pay more to hire an Indonesian maid from next year. The Indonesian Embassy had announced in a letter to Singapore maid agents last month that maids from its country must be paid at least $550 a month, up from the current $500. The last round of increase was in September last year, from $450 to $500.
There are about 125,000 Indonesian maids in Singapore, making up about half of the foreign domestic worker population here. Indonesian Embassy counsellor Sukmo Yuwono told The Straits Times that the increased minimum wage applies to domestic helpers coming to work here from January next year, and those renewing their contracts next year. He cited several reasons for the Indonesian government's decision, including protecting Indonesian women who go abroad to work.
"We have to protect the income of the Indonesian maids. Singapore also doesn't have a minimum wage, unlike others like Taiwan and Hong Kong," he said. Mr Gary Chin, managing director of Nation Employment, a maid agency, said that higher salaries might attract more applicants to work here. "But the increases might be too frequent. Employers need some time to digest and get used to it. Some might consider hiring workers of other nationalities," he said, adding that domestic workers here are paid $450 to $550 each month.
Another agency owner, who declined to be named, said that the increase came as a surprise as worker salaries was not one of the issues raised at a recent meeting an Indonesian government official had with several maid agencies. "We discussed many other issues like regulation and loans, but salary was not one of them," he said.
"We will continue to face increasing salaries if we don't improve the work conditions here," he said. "The supplying countries can't change our laws and regulations. The only thing they can control is the salary of their workers."
When contacted, the Ministry of Manpower said that it has not received any official notice about the new minimum wage set by the Indonesian government. "While source countries may choose to impose additional requirements administered by the foreign government or embassy, employment agencies and employers should assess whether they can fulfil these requirements when recruiting foreign domestic workers and making their hiring decisions respectively," a spokesman said.
Malaysia yet to decide on salary increase for Indonesian maids, Bernama 4 June 2015
Malaysia yet to decide on salary increase for Indonesian maids
There are currently 146,993 registered foreign domestic maids in the country and most of them are from Indonesia. - File Photo
KUALA LUMPUR: The government has yet to decide on the salary increase for Indonesian maids, from RM700 to RM1,200 a month as proposed by the Indonesian government.
Deputy Human Resource Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Mutalib said the matter had to be studied and discussions to be held with the various quarters before any decision could be made.
"The salary increase was proposed by the Indonesian government, but we have not made any decision on it," he told reporters after presenting contributions to 50 students pursuing studies at institutions of higher learning here today. However, he said the proposed salary increase by the Indonesian government was too high
End overseas hiring of Indonesian maids? Start at home first, 27 Apr 2015
Maids have increasingly become Indonesia's best-known global export "commodity" (excuse me for the lack of a better word) and while the government would not recognise it and many Indonesians feel ashamed acknowledging it, no one seems to have any serious intention of stopping it.
We have to admit that these young rural women are earning foreign exchange valuable to the economy. Many times, I have come across people in Asia and in the Middle East who would tell me the moment they learn that I come from Indonesia: "Hey, my maid at home is an Indonesian." They would say this as a statement of fact rather than a derogatory remark about my nation.
Many of them would add that Indonesians make the best domestic helpers, presumably based on their experience of hiring helpers of other nationalities in the past. They would describe their Indonesian maids as hard workers, loyal and obedient.
Yes, Indonesian households are actually the largest employers of these young women. This makes their calls to stop exporting Indonesian maids abroad selfish at best and hypocritical at worst. What makes them think that they make better employers than those in other Asian countries or in the Middle East? Going by the lengths the government goes to in trying to ensure these workers better legal protection abroad - such as by insisting on a legal contract with conditions attached, including minimum wages - these young rural women are much better off there than at home.
Their exposure to living abroad often allows them to develop skills they would not otherwise learn. Ask any housewife and she would tell you the best maids are those with "international experience". They tend to be far more disciplined and diligent at work, and can cook delicious Asian and Arab foods.
And in the absence of any legal protection in the country - maids are not considered as workers - can we seriously claim that these women are better off working here at home? Activists who demand better protection for Indonesian workers abroad usually turn a blind eye to the situation at home because, like other middle-class Indonesians, they are employing maids at home without holding themselves to the standards they are demanding of employers abroad. And just because we rarely, if at all, hear stories of maid abuse in Indonesia does not mean it is not happening.
Indonesian housewives are usually the first to scream for help the moment they lose their maids, even if for only a week or two. Listen to how loudly they complain around the time of Idul Fitri, when these maids join other revellers to celebrate the major Muslim holiday.
In the absence of any law governing their employment - it is left entirely to the kindness of employers - there is a tendency for these households to impose stringent measures, like keeping part of the maids' meagre wages, to ensure their return.
If we want to stop sending maids abroad because we are concerned for their safety, then we need to ban the practice of hiring maids altogether at home first. But can Indonesians live without their maids? The answer will most likely be a big "No!"
The writer is senior editor at The Jakarta Post
Indonesia's dilemma over foreign domestic workers, 16 Apr 2015, Straits Times
During a recent visit to Malaysia, Indonesian President Joko Widodo expressed shame when discussing the issue of Indonesian women working overseas as foreign domestic workers (FDWs).
In an effort to preserve the dignity of the nation, the President announced plans to stop sending women to work as domestic helpers overseas. In doing so, he failed to realise the greater consequences of legitimate employment opportunities for women being cut.
The growing gender challenges of development and economic growth aside, women also face numerous cultural hurdles in establishing economic security. There is a need for more income-generating opportunities to be provided for women in order for them to live stable, secure and, indeed, dignified lives.
Instead of "band-aid" solutions, policies should be aimed at greater regulation and protection of FDWs. It is, in fact, by empowering its women that Indonesia will find greater dignity.
There is ample evidence from cases in Asia and elsewhere that higher female incomes most often go towards the betterment of the family. This includes increased household food security and greater spending on education and healthcare. For these women, financial independence puts food on the table, sends their children to school and takes care of their families' health and welfare.
Being engaged in gainful employment enables poor and dependent women to negotiate for the lives they wish to lead. It gives them a legitimate "space" to freely leave the home and return without compromising their roles as daughters, sisters, wives and mothers.
In the eyes of many conservative families, looking after children or a home or the elderly is a "decent" job through which their womenfolk are permitted to enter the workforce. Many women, with their limited education and skills, find the skill set for domestic work within their capabilities.
Indonesia does not want to be seen as a net exporter of its people. However, it is high time leaders realised that FDWs provide a valuable service in receiving countries. Politically speaking, such a move to curb FDWs may assuage the middle and upper classes who do not want the country to be seen as "lowly", but it does little to alleviate the plight of women who see being FDWs as a chance to get out of the cycle of poverty.
Indonesia is one of the top three countries in the world supplying domestic workers. For the poor and disenfranchised Indonesian women, domestic work is a job that empowers them financially. In spite of having to face uncertainties in receiving countries, being away from all that is familiar and facing the possibility of ill treatment, women still leave to work overseas.
Indonesia has a large population of FDWs in the Asean region and beyond. These women contribute significantly through their remittances to their country's economy, with almost all their pay sent home to families. Stopping this will just push them into more fraught ways of earning an income. It will also make them more vulnerable to being trafficked.
Migrant worker numbers in Asean countries are growing. Thus, greater regulation and monitoring seem to be the order of the day. FDWs need to be made more aware of their rights, and there should be help centres and agencies set up to make sure that there is easy access to assistance if needed, including easy communication with their families back home.
The provision of such assistance needs to be decentralised and located at village levels and in small townships across the country.
Expanding the geography of receiving countries for a job that is in demand can also play a part in protecting these women. Countries with stronger labour laws that protect the rights of the worker and with good diplomatic ties with Indonesia should be seen as potential receiving countries.
The creation of jobs domestically to absorb additional numbers of unskilled females may seem a good idea, but the total number of this group will increase if they are no longer allowed to travel out of the country to work.
Moreover, the Indonesian Manpower Minister's claim to send only "well-equipped and skilled workers abroad" will already exclude a large number of women. As part of the wider objective of building an Asean community that is centred on its people, a better option for Indonesia would be to raise its game in empowering women through greater access to education and safeguarding their rights and interests.
Call for maids to undergo professional training in Singapore, Channel News Asia, 22 Feb 2015
Employment agencies in Singapore are calling for domestic workers to undergo professional training here so that they can become skilled workers. This comes after Indonesian President Joko Widodo said last week that the country wants to stop sending its women overseas as maids to preserve the country's "dignity".
Although no time frame for the stoppage has been given, the Indonesian manpower ministry has been ordered to come up with a "clear road map" on when this can take place.
According to estimates by the Indonesian Embassy, there are about 125,000 Indonesian domestic workers in Singapore. The number accounts for about half of all such workers in the Singapore, say industry players. Hence if Indonesia stops sending its women overseas as maids, employment agencies here say the impact could be bad.
The president of the Association of Employment Agencies (Singapore), K Jayaprema, said that for the employers, "if we were to lose this source, then we will have a very small pool of alternative workers we are looking at now - who come from Philippines, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and India, and in the Philippines we are having our own set of problems at this point in time."
"For the domestic workers themselves, what is going to happen is they're going to lose whatever protection that they have been receiving from the Indonesian government and they will become undocumented workers. They will continue to come in - because there are just too many exit points which they can freely move in from - we're looking at Jakarta, we're looking at Batam and we're looking at Semarang," she added.
The employment agencies added that competing with other countries for a limited pool of domestic workers could also spell higher costs and a longer processing time for employers. The agencies also noted that traditional sources are imposing restrictions to protect their workers. For example, the Philippines plans to introduce a quota system on domestic workers coming to Singapore.
The agencies said finding alternative sources to hire domestic workers will also be a challenge. The owner of Best Home Employment Agency, Tay Khoon Beng, said: "All the traditional sources of supply are thinking of how to better protect their women. At the moment, for example, Myanmar has a ban on all licensed recruiters to send domestic helpers to Singapore. The Philippines has got a quota system now for Singapore, due to unresolved placement fee issues.
"For non-traditional sources, it's very difficult to open up a new market. For example, the Ministry of Manpower has piloted a two-year project on the Cambodian market. In the two years, we are supposed to bring in 600 Cambodian helpers.
"18 months has passed and the pilot group only managed to bring in about 400 Cambodian workers. And I was told that as high as 50 per cent of these Cambodian workers have either left Singapore or changed employers.
"So it takes time to open up a new market and employers may not adapt to the new market as well."
To mitigate the effects of a potential supply cut, Mr Tay suggested implementing a mandatory professional course for these workers. He said: "For Indonesia specifically, they wish to train their helpers to meet the standard we require before exporting them. However, I also see at the moment, they may have difficulties to train their helpers to meet our standard.
"So instead of a bottleneck and allowing the ban to happen, why not they continue to export the unskilled helpers to us and we being an education hub will then work out with the employer to upgrade the skill of all these women so that at the end of the contract, they are fully trained, skilful and can go back to being a better skilled person.
"I think we need employers to understand that this is a new reality. Definitely there will be inconvenience caused to them, in terms of the helpers having to take time off to take courses, and at the same time they have to subsidise many of these skilled courses."
Agencies said other issues like high placement fees also need to be addressed. Currently, the placement fee can range from zero to S$3,000 or S$4,000 - which is equivalent to about eight months of a domestic worker's monthly pay.
Ms Jayaprema said: "We should only recognise the two-month fees that Singapore agencies are allowed to collect from the domestic workers as service fees. So we do not want to allow any of the source cost to be brought to Singapore as placement fee and allow the agencies to collect this on behalf of the foreign agencies, because that's what makes the whole figure looks very large. This will be a better solution."
'Huge impact' here if Jakarta bans maids, Mypaper, 17 Feb 2015
A potential ban on Indonesian maids working overseas will have a major impact on Singapore, which depends heavily on the country for domestic help, said maid agents here.
There are about 125,000 Indonesian maids in Singapore, based on Indonesian embassy estimates, making up about half of the 218,300-strong domestic worker population here.
"Indonesia has been a good and reliable source country for domestic workers for so many years. The impact will be huge," said Shirley Ng, owner of Orange Employment Agency. "A potential ban is serious. If it happens, the maid industry will be affected badly," said Gary Chin, owner of Nation Employment, Singapore's biggest maid agency.
Singapore maid agents were reacting to Indonesian President Joko Widodo's comments - made last Friday during political party Hanura's national congress in Solo, Central Java - that he wants to stop Indonesian women from working abroad as maids, and better protect the rights of overseas workers.
This is not the first time that an Indonesian president has spoken out about restricting Indonesian women from working as maids overseas. In 2012, Mr Joko's predecessor, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, promised to provide one million jobs by 2013 to encourage Indonesian women working as maids abroad to return to the country. The initiative did not take off. The number of Indonesian maids coming here to work has been rising. In 2012, there were 100,000 women here, but that rose to 125,000 last year.
Still, maid agents say that the latest statement reflects a growing move to protect Indonesian women who go abroad to earn money. In November, Indonesian Manpower Minister Hanif Dhakiri said Jakarta does not aim to impose a complete ban on maids working abroad. Rather, the authorities want to ensure that the workers are properly trained as babysitters or caregivers.
Mr Chin said he interprets Mr Joko's comments as a push by Jakarta to send higher skilled maids overseas. "Indonesia wants to stop sending lowly-educated, unskilled domestic workers from going abroad. Instead, it wants to send maids who are better trained and who command higher salaries," added Mr Chin.
What is likely to happen is not an outright ban but a drop in Indonesian maids coming here, said maid agents. "Indonesian officials will tighten the recruitment process to make sure that the domestic workers coming here have gone through training. The numbers will likely drop over the next few years," said Mr Chin.
But these measures may end up putting Indonesian maids at a disadvantage, who may continue to work as maids overseas despite a ban, said Association of Employment Agencies Singapore president K. Jayaprema.
"Some domestic workers may leave the country as undocumented workers. That means they won't be able to go to their embassy for help if they get into trouble overseas."
Migrant group defends Indonesian maid program, The Wall Street Journal, 17 Feb 2015
As aspirations, opportunities and incomes rise in neighbouring countries, women applying to come here as domestic workers may be less educated and come from more remote rural regions, which may lead to adjustment problems.
A migrant group is raising alarms about President Joko Widodo's plan to gradually stop sending Indonesians to work abroad as maids, calling it "discriminatory" against women.
Millions of Indonesian women leave for comparatively higher paid work in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and elsewhere.
But a series of high-profile abuse cases-including one in which a judge last week found a Hong Kong employer guilty of assaulting her Indonesian maid-have sparked concerns about whether the women are vulnerable to physical and sexual abuse, as well as not being paid their promised wages.
President Widodo recently said he wants to set a "clear road map" for how Indonesia can stop sending women abroad to work as all-purpose maids. "We have to have pride and dignity," the president said.
Instead, migrant workers would be more specialised.
But Anis Hidayah, director of the nonprofit group that focuses on migrant workers Migrant Care, called the idea "discriminatory for women." She said ending access for Indonesian women would violate the Constitution, which guarantees that every citizen has the right to "get good jobs and protection from the nation, wherever they work."
"We strongly protest Mr. Widodo's plan," she said.
Manpower Minister Hanif Dhakiri said in a statement on Monday that in the future, "well-equipped and skilled" workers from Indonesia will head to other countries. The ministry aims to send each worker for just one specific task-unlike today where a maid is tasked to do various jobs in a household, including cooking, babysitting, cleaning up and caring for the elderly.
Ms. Hidayah said Mr. Widodo should instead fix the placement system for domestic workers and guarantee their safety. "The solution is for the government to protect its migrant workers, not avoid and ban [them going]," Ms. Hidayah said.
Brace for Indonesian maid supply cut, say agencies, The Star/Asia News Network, 16 Feb 2015
Malaysians must get ready for a possible move by Indonesia to cut off the supply of its domestic helpers, maid agency associations said.
Referring to Indonesian president Joko Widodo's announcement on Friday that he wants women in his country to stop working as overseas maids "immediately", the associations said they were confident that such a move, though likely, would be gradual.
The associations said Malaysians must be ready to pay higher wages for maids while the Government must increase efforts to secure deals with new source countries for domestic helpers.
Malaysian National Association of Employment Agencies (Pikap) president Datuk Raja Zulkepley Dahalan said Indonesia had announced several years ago their intention to stop allowing their citizens to work abroad in "low-paying jobs".
"I believe what Indonesia will eventually do is draw up some new policy where its citizens will only be allowed to work in homes abroad if their jobs were 'upgraded'," he said.
The new jobs, said Raja Zulkepley, would likely be classified as "childcare" or "elderly care" helpers with minimum salaries of about RM1,200 (S$450) , and employers would not be able to ask them to do any work like cooking or cleaning.
Raja Zulkepley said the Government should redouble efforts to find potential source countries for domestic helpers such as East Timor or China.
Malaysian Association of Foreign Maid Agencies (Papa) president Jeffrey Foo said any sudden maid supply cut from Indonesia would not make much of a difference as their arrival figures had dwindled since 2011 after the neighbouring country lifted a two-year moratorium on sending maids here.
Bernama quoted Malaysian Maid Employers Association president (Mama) president Engku Ahmad Fauzi Engku Muhsein as saying that the Indonesia's decision to stop sending maids overseas was not expected to severely burden Malaysian employers.
For the long term, he said the Government and private sector could look at setting up nurseries at workplaces, operated by trained child-minders.
I believe that many of the readers understand your plight and the issue of protection against employers has been lobbying around administration of government without any result for many years.
There are many underlining problem pertaining to this issue that your local agencies just can’t put to words and government agencies unwilling or simply refuses to address them. Hence allow me to explain to you and all the other reader the hindrance that government of employing countries that they face, which includes our Singapore government.
1. Double Standard
Maids from Philippines to overseas are deployed under their Philippines Overseas Employment Agency (POEA). Which means the employer must pay a minimum wages of USD$400 per month with a day off each week. With the success of these deployments to Hong Kong (Maid), Taiwan (Maid) and Japan (Prostitutes), the Philippine government had been aggressively marketing this concept to all other countries and in many ways forcing them with an ultimatum. The POEA was market under the cover of human right protection to the workers and they promote those few countries as a showcase as an example for other countries to follow. However, they conveniently forgot to inform all the countries they pushing to implement the POEA, is that these workers going to these “prime” countries will have to pay for all expenses. All expenses includes air-ticket, medical examination, training, agency fee in the Philippines, government administration fees, tax, interest and commission for the agencies from the employer’s country. Hence, employers are not required to pay anything to get the workers. Hong Kong would cost the workers about $3,000, Taiwan would cost them about RM3,550 and Japan a whopping $7,400.
Philippines had been playing double standard towards all other countries and lying to all the government they push, with a face palm. Which means the cost of deployment would be force solely on to employers. While the workers still would have to pay something but not pay such a hefty sum. This is also the main reason why Singapore government refuses to co-cooperate on the POEA and they find it extremely unfair toward Singaporean and employer of this double standard. In fact, majority of the countries do not support POEA, many countries would advise the worker to travel to their country under social visit so these workers do not have to pay bondage.
Majority of the cost of deployment is not the cost of maid but the cost of acquiring such bio-data. The system in Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia is somewhat the same, since these market were all established by Malaysian and Singaporean agencies for their countrymen.
Each local agency in Indonesia will pay a middle man that is task for a selected region. The middle-man would than task it to individual that would travel, kampong to kampong. Once these maids are collected, the main hub agency would then throw in a $500 cash given to the maid’s family and another $1,500 per maid as their profit.
As you can see, the cost of deployment is mainly due to the cost of agencies in their country. These countries enjoy their GDP with the deployment of these maids. Without a proper tax system, this is the only viable way their country can make money from their citizens. So how to protect workers when the maid was not the actual individual that results in such cost, it is all the middle-man and agencies that are owned by cronies are making the kill.
We must not forget that local agencies in Singapore face one bigger problems when comes to acquire maids. Many overseas agencies are indebted financially to local agencies. It is expected that sooner or later these debt will be written off. So local agencies would have to put that “future debt” in to consideration which means increase cost for employer. Understand there is no legal avenue that provides assurance to local agency being able to collect such debt. This is part of the problem, part of the cost and agencies perform as middle-man, they would not be place in a position to bare all risk. Local agency earn about mere $800 per maid. They will also have to bare cost of return maid whom is unfit or fail the Singapore test.
So the answer to your question whether the government or authorities can do anything to protect employers, well………there is nothing. My only suggestion is to employ local Care-Taker or nurse, if looking after your disable father is the main reasons because if you would average the cost out, it might be even cheaper in the long run. Many employers had that pre-text but they actually need the maid more for housework, cooking and other stuff, that is why they feel they can’t employ nurse or caretaker.
Posted by Eugene Lim
Copied above from here
Winter: Indonesian maids seemed to have a bit more mental issues than other nationalities. Its own embassy is calling for psychological test. Prior to this, there were a few coincidence of Indonesian maids falling from highrise windows, thus, leading to a ban on exterior window cleaning. The finger was pointed at bad employer, not Indonesian maids who didn't take safety seriously. All maids have to attend SIP, which include safety so technically, FDWs should know our culture, 'expectations', where to run for help and learn about work safely.
Indonesian maids in Malaysia are also being recommended for mental test. There was a statement made and I have posted somewhere below, the spokeman claimed the Indonesian maids supplied into Malaysia are unsuitable to carry out FDW's job, not trained to become maids.
Mental health test for maids, The Straits Times, 14 Jan 2014
The Indonesian Embassy in Singapore is calling for psychological testing of maids before they arrive here, in a bid to raise the quality of workers. Embassy counsellor Sukmo Yuwono told The Sunday Times that discussions on this issue with Indonesia's government body overseeing the deployment of foreign workers began late last year and are ongoing.
The push for such testing comes after recent high-profile murder cases involving maids in Singapore and elsewhere, he added. Indonesian maids Nurhayati and Tuti Aeliyah were charged with the homicides of their employers' daughters in 2010 and late last year respectively.
"We learnt from some of the maids' murder cases especially, not just here but also in the Middle East and Malaysia, and we think that implementing psychological tests could go towards preventing such acts," said Mr Sukmo. Indonesians make up about half of Singapore's foreign domestic worker (FDW) population, which numbers more than 211,000. There have been at least 16 reported homicide cases involving maids since 2002, and 12 of them are Indonesian.
Mr Sukmo, a lawyer by training, believes "the primary reason for these acts is mental, mostly depression", followed by underage issues and problems with employers. But weeding out potential criminals would only be a by-product of psychological testing. Mr Sukmo said such testing would also help Indonesian agencies determine whether candidates are suited for the demanding nature of maids' work, carried out in foreign lands and strangers' homes, and often comprising caregiving for children or the elderly.
Improved selection procedures would, in turn, raise the quality of Indonesian maids coming here, and put the embassy in a better position to seek an increase in maids' minimum wage later this year, he said. Indonesia made rule changes in 2012 to ensure its maids are paid at least $450 a month. The plan is to begin psychological testing first for maids coming to Singapore, then extend it to those heading to other places such as Hong Kong, Taiwan and Malaysia.
Singapore's Ministry of Manpower (MOM) requires maids to pass a medical examination before issuing them with work permits, but the exam mainly screens for infectious diseases. Psychological testing is not a key component. "Given the different reasons employers have for engaging an FDW, it is impractical to prescribe a comprehensive standard for medical fitness," an MOM spokesman told The Sunday Times.
"Employers are also free to send the FDW for any other suitable tests before commencing with employment of the FDW." Mr William Chew, executive director of the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training, supports having one more layer of screening. "Everybody benefits," he said. "You want to make sure the FDW coming here has the right mindset and mental health to do a job like this."
Mr Edmund Pooh, managing director of maid agency Universal Employment Agency, favours such testing but is concerned about how the additional costs would be distributed. He suggested keeping the cost low to encourage the practice of testing. He also urged the MOM "to implement regular feedback sessions" with maids after arrival as their mental health could change under the stresses of the job.
Psychologist Anja Wessels, lead investigator for an FDW mental health survey here, cautioned that testing would not be a foolproof measure to prevent criminal acts but was "a step in the right direction". "When looking at mental health, there are several adverse factors. Beyond genetics, there are also poverty and low education levels," she said.
"Compared with FDWs of other nationalities, those from Indonesia tend to be less educated and of poorer backgrounds, hence more pre-disposed to these risk factors." In addition, a significant number of Indonesian maids come here without being vetted, said Mr Sukmo. The Indonesian Labour Ministry records showed last year that about 30 per cent or 36,000 of the 120,000 Indonesian maids in Singapore were directly hired by employers who did not engage agents.
MP Zaqy Mohamad, a member of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Manpower, said psychological testing is "definitely worth considering, especially as it would give employers peace of mind".
New maid killed employer
Indonesian maid charged with murder of 16 year old girl
Shortage of Indonesian maids, Malaysia must start looking for maids elsewhere, Nation, Star online
Malaysia must start looking for maids elsewhere and Singapore should also do the same because Indonesian maids who still worked in Malaysia in 2017 must leave the country once their work permit expired, as the source country would not allow for a renewal. It had been reported that Indonesian Consul-General in Sarawak, Djoko Harjanto, said Malaysians (same for Spore employers) would have to seek domestic helpers elsewhere when Indonesia stops supplying maids to the whole world by 2017.
Malaysian National Association of Employment Agencies (Pikap) president Datuk Raja Zulkepley Dahalan said it would look into renewing talks to get maids from Myanmar and China.
Malaysians claimed the live-out maid proposal could be a solution to the current maid shortage.
“It seems like an automatic solution but a few things should be considered. It must be within the legal process. For example, if a maid gets abused at the second house or after she leaves a house, we must ensure that innocent employers are protected.” “Similarly, what happens if a maid leaves a house, goes somewhere else and contracts an illness? Who will be responsible? Employers and their families must also be protected, especially healthwise,” he said (May 2013, Nation, The Star).
Under the proposal, maid agencies would provide accommodation for the maids, who could also choose to stay on their own on days off. They would also be required to only work eight hours daily, six days a week and be paid a minimum of RM600 a month as well as overtime.
RM600 (S$300) salary was a “little high”, noting that live-in Indonesian maids were currently paid RM700, including lodging and meals. Malaysian Association of Foreign Maid Agencies (Papa) president Jeffrey Foo said that although it was open to the idea, it would wait for the Malaysian authorities to comment on the matter.
Meanwhile, many Malaysians have questioned the implementation of such a proposal, with Kee Kai Ming writing on Facebook: “How will they send the maid to work? Who is going to open the door for the maid every day and who will be responsible if anything’s wrong or something goes missing?”
Fuad Azizi said such a proposal would mean that the agencies would be the maids’ employers and should bear the expenses for “permits and medical check-ups”. Jasmin Mohd Saad, whose mother had a “live-out” maid, said she would prefer such a solution herself. “But it needs more consideration and should be a fair deal for both sides in terms of money, convenience, working hours and privacy.”
Another amount has been proposed for the contentious hiring fee for Indonesian maids, with the Government putting it at RM8,000 (S$4000).
“The RM8,000 was decided after considering the cost of training for at least 200 hours, documentation, food and accommodation before transfer to the new employers, travelling cost, medical check-ups as well as payment to the respective government agencies of both countries,” he said at a meeting at Parliament House.
It was reported under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Malaysian and Indonesian governments in 2011, the cost to recruit Indonesian maids was set at a RM4,511 – where RM2,711 was paid by the employer and RM1,800 was paid by the domestic helper. It is believed that under the new rate, Malaysia employers might pay an additional RM1,800, apart from the RM8,000, which would later be deducted from the worker’s salary over the first six months of the contract.
He said the new revised rates was considered reasonable compared to the other countries such as Singapore and Hong Kong who were paying Indonesian domestic helpers at higher rates.
Employers have been cautioned to be careful when hiring Indonesian maids to look after their young children or elderly folk as the maids are not trained for this purpose. The Malaysian Maid Employers Association (Mama) said employers should check the training certificate of the maids before hiring them for this purpose. “It may be risky to leave young children or elderly folk with a domestic maid who is not specifically trained to care for them. Indonesian authorities were not happy about Malaysians hiring their domestic workers to care for children and the elderly because the maids are trained to perform household chores such as cooking and cleaning.
Employers hope that the new fees would improve the supply of maids but with Papa already having given notice that families with young children and elderly people would stand better chances of employing them, a mad scramble seems likely for the limited number of maids.
IT architect Shamini Prithivi Raj is among those lamenting the high cost of employing a full-time domestic worker. She said she was now paying RM700 each month to send her child to a day care centre. “After my baby-sitter moved, I tried to hire a maid but the fee was just too expensive,” she said, adding that she had been told by several agencies that it would cost between RM8,000 and RM10,000.
Shamini said that she would rather to go directly to the source country and get a worker without the help of middlemen. “I have seen too many people get cheated by agencies and syndicates,” she said.
Fewer Indonesians becoming maids as pay at home rises, Straits Times, 26 Aug
As their economic lot at home improves, more Indonesians are heeding the government's call to steer clear of working in the foreign maid trade. In 2010, some 451,000 Indonesians left home to be domestic workers abroad. Last year, only around 238,000 did so.
The government wants to end all Indonesians going abroad as maids by 2017 - a goal many feel is unrealistic. But rising minimum wages back home and tougher competence standards have reduced the number of people leaving their families to take up menial jobs far from home.
"The decline in the number of maids going overseas reflects our current policy, that is to encourage overseas Indonesians to take formal jobs," said Reyna Usman of the manpower and transmigration ministry. "We prefer seeing quality over quantity."
The move came after the government faced mounting criticism over reports of the horrific abuse of Indonesian maids abroad. In 2010, a 36-year-old maid working in Saudi Arabia was reportedly thrown into a dumpster. The story came to light just days after another maid, a 23-year-old, was said to have been badly beaten by her Saudi employer.
In 2009, Indonesia banned maids from going to work in Malaysia after abuse cases there and reports of maids not being paid. The ban was lifted in late 2011 after Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur hammered out an agreement on measures to better protect maids working in Malaysia. Bans on Indonesian maids going to Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait and Syria are still in place.
The declining foreign maid trade has been felt all year by Rusjdi Basalamah, who owns an agency that sends maids overseas. "We are trying to figure out exactly what caused this," he said. "Tough regulations - more red tape - and better economies in the (maids') stronghold regions could be among the reasons."
Suhartono said: "The pay is greater overseas but living costs are also higher. More and more people prefer to stay and work with less risk and near families."
How wages compare:
RM700: Average monthly wages for an Indonesian domestic worker in Malaysia
RM1,200 (S$464): Wages in Singapore
RM2,292: Wages in Hong Kong and Taiwan.