21 Dec 2015

Finding a suitable transfer maid

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Special Needs.2
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This important news slipped passed my radar.  "When a maid decides on a transfer or when an employer decides to terminate her contract, she can ask the agent for a refund"
Saw this news 2 months later.
A new requirement by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will make agent fees for maids more transparent and possibly prevent employers from being shortchanged.  In a change introduced last week, agents must inform MOM how much they are charging maids for a two-year contract when applying for work permits online.  When the permits are approved, employers get a copy of the in-principle approval, with the fee stated. They can compare it with the service agreements that they should also receive from the agents - which should state the same amount - if agents followed MOM's recommended format.

A sample of MOM's recommended agreement can be found on its website. The move increases transparency by providing employers and maids with more information on their employment terms, said a ministry spokesman.

While agencies are generally law abiding, MOM investigates reports of overcharging, he added.  Engineer Desmond Goon, 32, who employed a maid two months ago, said: "It's clearer so we know how much we are owed when either I or the maid decide that the relationship is not working."

The fee that maids have to pay agents is legally capped at two months' salary for a two-year contract and typically ranges between $800 and $1,200 for two years.  Employers usually pay this in advance for their maids and later deduct it from the maids' salaries.

When a maid decides on a transfer or when an employer decides to terminate her contract, she can ask the agent for a refund, provided that she has cleared her debts with her employer. For instance, if a maid leaves her employer before her first year ends, she can ask for a refund from her agent for the second year that she did not serve. Previously, agents could lump the fees they are charging employers and maids, as well as fees to their foreign counterparts, together.

The practice clouds how much agents are charging the maids, said Ms K. Jayaprema, president of the Association of Employment Agencies of Singapore.  "The association is also trying to push for agents to declare how much they are paying the foreign suppliers," she added. But a concern is that agents would under-declare the amount, she said.

There are about 125,000 Indonesian maids in Singapore, and about 70,000 from the Philippines.  Indonesian Embassy counsellor Sukmo Yuwono praised the move, saying it helps prevent overcharging. "It's a fairer and more transparent system," he added.

Executive director of Humanitarian Organisation for Migrant Economics Jolovan Wham said maids may be denied of the chance to ask for refunds because they can be repatriated by employers. "They don't have the right to switch employers freely," he added.

Agencies convicted of overcharging maids face a fine of up to $5,000, and repeat offenders may be jailed up to six months in addition to the fine, said an MOM spokesman.  Their licences may also be revoked and appointment holders could be barred from being agents in the future, he added.

Review conditions for transferring maids, ST Forum, 26 Nov 2015
Lately, there has been a rise in the number of foreign domestic workers requesting a transfer to other employers.  However, they cannot do so because their employers refuse to sign a letter of consent, a condition imposed by the Ministry of Manpower.

I understand the rationale for obtaining letters of consent if the maid still has a financial obligation to fulfil.  But, thereafter, these maids should be able to transfer without the need for a letter of consent.  Locals are allowed to seek other employment once they have fulfilled the obligations of their contracts. Why are foreign domestic workers barred from doing the same?    (Winter: as long as enough notice given to me, I don't mind signing but FDW must pay all the outstanding loan. If MOM can make FDWs pay interest +outstanding loan and 50% agency fee before running off, employers will feel fairer and not abused or used by FDWs/Agencies. In my opinion, what's the point of holding a no-heart FDW.  Of coz, piss-off employers who have wasted time training FDW can refuse to let her stay in Spore, buy maid a free ticket home.  To recruit and re-train is an ordeal.  Money paid doesn't guarantee good results or the next FDW will be better.  People who has no bad maid won't understand)  

Preventing them from leaving their employer sometimes causes them to have mental breakdowns.  (Winter: so serious! FDWs can easily get stressful or suffer mental breakdown yet Sporeans have to press on 人比人气死人,为何女佣这么无可救药惹人怜?  Only FDWs/Activists are humans, the employers and families are not...merely ATM machines!)  In some cases, maids are repatriated once they inform their employer of their intention to transfer.

They then have to incur high debts again to look for employment in Singapore.  It is time that the MOM review this condition and ensure fair workplace practices apply to all.

Alice Cheah (Ms)

29 Jun
Last weekend went Bt Timah Shopping Centre (maid hub) shop for transfer maid.  Many agencies were just next to each other.

Surprise 1
The Myanmar maids' English was above my expectation.  One of them, worked 2 months in Spore, surprised me with her English.  She told me they attended classes before coming to Spore.  Went online did English-Burmese-Bahasa translation.... end up not required.

Surprise 2
The maids I interviewed need not pay placement fee.  If FDW has existing maid loan, employer to help her pay and she'll pay off by each month of work.  Don't understand why agency 'so nice' to maid.  No need pay placement fee for transfer maids sounds like an encouragement to job hop.... unhappy change employer!  Job too tough, change!  Employer too naggy (one maid worked one month and decided to leave because of a nagging lady boss), change!

Surprise 3
One agency by the name of GreatLink said the salary of its FDWs are different.  The second year, FDW gets a salary increment, instead of waiting for 2 year when the maid decides to renew her 2-year contract.  Its standard 'maid loan', agent said it is known as service fee, fixed at $1888.  If a maid replacement is required, amount will be deducted from S$1888 .... if not getting a replacement, agent will return part of the money to employer.  This excludes the $877 employer's agent fee, insurance, work permit, etc.  Confused.  That $1888, agent stressed is a 'compulsory upfront payment', their maids don't pay maid loan but you, The Employer is required to absorb that amount!  This agency has 18 demerit points, better don't get yourself in any unwanted mess.  Walk around, compare and gain interviewing technique.

Surprise 4
The agencies I went allowed me to bring the maids home to have a better understanding of her prospective job.  If both employer (my father-in-law) and maid are happy with each other, paperwork can be done.  

In total, 5 FDWs (1 Filipino, 2 Myanmeses and 2 Indonesians) were screened in my father-in-law's house - interviewed about taking care of elderly, 'scrutinized' by sisters-in-law because I was busy feeding my girl.  

Out of 5 maids (ages 32 to 35), 2 agencies were listed in MOM website, showed demerit points.  Guess they (GreatLink and United Channel) received lots of complaints, thus, offering employers with special needs/elderly an 'error-free' job placement.  FIL preferred Indonesian but that agency sucks.  Agent wasn't able to provide correct info.  Example, my brother-in-law is the sponsor and FIL is the employer.  Both should go down to sign papers but agent said only sponsor need to go... wasted BIL's time.  Last Saturday, Agent pretended to be very professional and knew a lot.  She said to get faster MOM approval, FIL should go and open an account with S$50,000 fresh fund.  After MOM has approved the FDW application, that sum of money can be withdrawn.  She told me not to speak too loudly because her new neighbour-'enemy'-agency is trying to learn from them.  Another mistake made by this 'smart-alek' agency was writing a receipt that doesn't tally with the amount BIL paid.  Before the maid was chosen on Saturday, hubby and I did tell the 'decision makers', agency isn't that good.  Out of 5 maids, I actually preferred Myanmese.  Suggested to FIL to use pictures to communicate and teach Myanmese some Chinese and Hokkien slowly but the decision makers weren't keen.  Thought Myanmese has been banned by its govt but 2 agencies were promising me their fresh maids could arrive in about 2 weeks' time.  Hope this Indo maid turns out ok and they won't run after me for doing poor maid searching.

Felt the urge to fire my inconsiderate and take-for-granted maid. Let me observe JA, if she disappoints me again, off she goes.... will try Myanmar maid, at least I have another option, not limited to Filipinos!

Spike in demand for transfer maids, Mypaper, 6 Apr 2015
Once shunned as sub-par employees, transfer maids - those who are already working here but want to work for a new family - are now in big demand.

Employers here are turning to such maids as they can start work in a matter of days, compared with the 10 weeks or more it takes to hire a new maid from Indonesia and the Philippines. Agent fees are also slashed for these workers - at $700 to $800 compared with more than $2,000 for a new maid.

Five agents who specialise in these helpers told The Straits Times last week that they have seen a 20 to 40 per cent increase in business in the last five months.  Desmond Ding of SG Manpower, which deals with transfer maids, said that in the past, such maids had been shunned by many employers as people thought they had problems with their previous bosses.

"But employers don't have a choice now. The wait for a new maid is just too long," he said. Business owner Patricia Wong, 47, who hired a transfer maid four months ago, agreed.  "A new maid has to be trained from scratch," she said.  "Transfer maids have been working here for some time so they require less supervision and training."

One such maid, Khin Aye Aye, 33, who is from Myanmar, found an employer who would pay her $600 a month, $100 more than the average salary, as well as give her a day off each Sunday.  "I am experienced and speak good English. I was sure I could find an employer," said Ms Khin, who has been working in Singapore for four years.

At the beginning of last year, new maids typically arrived in Singapore about a month after they were recruited.  But the recruitment process has slowed down because of stricter rules imposed by the Indonesian and Philippine governments around the end of last year. Most of the over 222,500 domestic workers in Singapore are from these two countries.

Officials from Indonesia and the Philippines want to ensure maids are not paying high recruitment fees and will receive at least the minimum wages imposed by their governments. The Indonesian government wants its domestic workers to be paid at least $500 a month, while the Philippine government states that Filipino maids have to be paid at least US$400 (S$540) every month.  (Winter:  The US$ conversion has been staying at US$400/S500 previously but Philippines Embassy's contract stated a higher salary.  As at today, it is S$540.  Source country/agency really know how to eat our money.  Filipinos want more money, more perks, Indonesians don't want to be left behind.  All they want is increase FDWs salary yet can't provide better work quality ... standard and work ethics kept going down!  If my recently renewed FDW sees this, I'm sure J will try to make my life miserable, thought I've cheated her.  And who can I seek for help?  Nowhere, nobody!  Who knows, J may play me out during her coming home leave .... job hop without letting me know.  MOM/Nobody will pity me if that day comes.)

Keen to take advantage of this surge in demand, hundreds of maids are flocking to Far East Shopping Centre and Lucky Plaza in Orchard Road every Sunday, as this is where many transfer maid agencies are located.

Noted Daisy Lopez, who owns maid agency WorkHome Personnel at Far East Shopping Centre: "I am also getting Facebook messages from maids to look for new employers for them."

Many transfer maids are at the end of their two-year contracts. They can work for their new bosses if their previous employers sign a Ministry of Manpower consent form.

Aug 2014
It is a chore to find a good FDW.  Hunting and recruiting a suitable transfer maid is a headache, mental and financial torture. Not all employers will send FDW back to agency because agency fee is expensive - it became dumped into the drain for each transfer.  The quality of FDWs are bad and their working mentally is wrong.

Extracted this in Chinese. I've briefly translated.
Case A) 我总共花了两个星期天,走了三间中介,面试了八个还是九个女佣,应该不算多吧。本来我第二个星期天还列出了要去面试的那间中介附近符合我的条件的其他中介,打算一间一间走看看。但是遇到一个合适的就定了,怕走几家找不到更好的,回来这个也没了,好的女佣签得都很快。因为之前就有一个不错的,我定好去面试,当天在我去之前就让别人签走了。


In June 2014, Writer (employer) spent 3 weeks to find a transfer maid. Interviewed 8 - 9 FDWs and one of them was with nice make-up .... skipped, employer need a FDW not a PR officer!
She asked the following questions during face-to-face interview:

1. 介绍一下你的家庭情况:父母多大年龄、几个兄弟姐妹、家中排行、老公做什么、几个孩子、多大了? (从中了解家庭状况,经济压力等等)
Family member, their ages, your rank in the family, your hubby, children - find out about FDW's family and financial burden.

2. 介绍一下你之前的工作经历:在新加坡有过几段工作经历?为什么样的家庭工作?分别负责哪些工作?做了多久?了解一下她的工作经历经验。前面讲过,可以从MOM网站查证,以确定她讲的是否属实。>
Employment history and experience

Employer interviewed one Filipino with 4 years of experience, 2 employers. She checked MOM website and found there were 5 employer entries.  Longest service was 22 months, considered completed a contract.

Asked maid to elaborate about her working experience, showed evasiveness, lied and very robotic/standardised answers. Didn't appeared cheerful as per photo.

3. 为什么离开之前的雇主?这个我们自己去面试的时候大多也会被问吧,可能都想了解一下原因,但是真假就很难说了

4. 你的前雇主对你怎样?有什么是你不能接受的吗?(有些可能第三个问题就已经回答了)了解她对雇主的态度,精明的女佣可能也不会说什么。
How did your last employer treat you?  Was it acceptable to you?

5. 喜欢孩子吗?愿意照顾孩子,陪孩子玩吗?
Do you like children?  Willing to take good care of children, play with them?

6. 可以给孩子唱歌吗?会唱哪些儿歌?可以唱几句吗?
Can you sing to the kids?  What kiddy songs you know?  Can you demo?

7. 愿意晚上带孩子睡吗?
Willing to babysit child during late nights?

8. 如果小孩子哭闹一定要去碰不可以碰的东西,你怎样处理?(看照顾小孩子的经验)
If child make a fuss, wanted to touch forbidden things, how do you handle? (Find out her real childcare experience)

9. 给孩子喂饭他不肯吃你会想什么办法?
If child refused to eat when you feed, what can you do?

10. 没有结婚的话,问有男朋友没?有计划什么时候结婚了吗。(结婚肯定得回去)
If unmarried, ask her whether she has any boyfriend, intend to get married, when?

11. 之前有用手机吗?多久打一次电话回家?如果我不希望你用手机可以吗?或者白天不用手机?(看自己的要求)
Did you have mobile phone previously? How often you ring home?  If I don't allow you to use mobile phone, ok? Day time, don't use your mobile phone?

12. 需要你在休假日工作的话,你会愿意吗?
Willing to work on your mandatory off days?

13. 家里会有CCTV, 以便我们随时查看宝宝的情况,你介意吗?
Employer's house has CCTV to safeguard child, do you mind?

Visited 2 maid agencies on the same day.   Evasiveness FDW was interviewed at Agency 1.

Agency 2 - agent charged fees according to how good that FDW is. One of the maid, a Filipino mentioned her last employer has a laptop and allowed her to use their internet.  Employer mind. Employer has no intention to give such fringe benefit and compromise her children's interest.  Then a Myanmese maid was interviewed, isn't fluent in language.


Made appointment to interview Filipino FDW but she went for lunch.  Interviewed an Indonesian maid whom employer didn't like based on her bio-data - short, fat, divorcee and not good looking.  She found her appeared to be cheerful in person, showed initiative and honest - honest about wanting to go Hong Kong but no response.  Made Employer felt uneasy, she may not stay long, Spore is not her preferred place to work.

Finally get to interview this well doll-up FDW.  Not very heavy make up but enough to make employer felt she is unsuitable to work as maid. Looked prideful and unmanageable.  Claimed ex-employer didn't allow her to talk to other maids.  That raised an eye brow, is it maid loves to chit-chat or really forbidden to talk to others.  Employer didn't like maid to busy chit-chat and disregards her child's safety.

Case B) 看到很多妈咪投诉家里的女佣,我也忍不住要来吐嘈一下.
In 7 months, changed 5 FDWs.  Posted in Feb 2014.

第一个女佣,在我家一年半,总的来说挺满意. 家务做的还过得去(睁只眼,闭只眼),除了不吃猪肉,也不挑食,对孩子也好。我对她也不错,回国度假3个星期,也带她去。出国旅行,也带上她. 一年半后(2013年8月),她跟我说她爸爸去世,要回家照顾她妈妈。所以就让她回了.

FDW 1 - choosey with food, doesn't eat pork, nice to kid, housework ok.
When employer went home for overseas vacation (China), FDW went together. On leisure vacation, FDW 1 followed. Worked 1.5 years, claimed dad passed way, must go home take care of mother so repatriated.

Nightmare began ....

一个多月后,第二个女佣来了. 来我家之前,她在阿拉伯为同一个雇主做了13年. 我也是看中这点优势,另外加了280块的中介费. 满心期待她可以在我家可以做久点。。。结果......
英文完全不会。在中介那里的时候,问她吃饭了吗,她摇头。中介说她吃了,可能她还不适应我们的口音,不会回答. 算了! 来到我家,开始整理她自己的行李,要洗很多衣服(他说女佣中心不方便洗衣服). 接着,奇迹出现了:她放了洗衣粉之后,拿手上下撸了三下(哈哈,这个经典动作我有点难用文字形容),然后只拿清水冲两遍,说洗好了. 我实在看不过去,就跟她讲,衣服要稍微搓一下,洗衣粉才能溶解,污渍才能洗掉. 她不明白,我亲自洗好多件给她看(估计我是为数不多的需要帮女佣洗女佣衣服的雇主)。衣服洗好的时候,我妈也煮好晚餐了。我叫她一起吃,结果,她跟我比划,猪肉不吃(可以理解,不勉强),蔬菜不吃,面条不吃,鱼肉不吃,米饭不吃,所有的剩菜不吃。。。我一下傻眼了,问她吃什么,她跟我说,她只要吃鸡蛋,鸡肉,牛肉,配面包,咖啡,美禄. 我就想,可能刚来我家,还不习惯,就先由着她,观察几天再说。当晚,晚餐她自己煮鸡蛋(不知道几个),配面包,美禄.

FDW 2 came one month later.  She has worked in Arab country for 13 years, same employer. When she arrived, after paying S$2800 agency fee, maid appeared with language barrier.  She has a lot of personal clothes to wash because she can't work hers at the agency.  She poured washing powder, did 3 flips and rinsed off.  Employer demo the correct method. After her clothes were washed, dinner was ready.  FDW said cannot eat pork, vegetables, mee, fish, rice and any last meal/overnight food. Jaw dropped! Said she only eats chicken, beef, bread with coffee and milo.  That night FDW boiled a few eggs as her dinner and bread with milo.

第二天刚好是周末,我们全家七点多全部起床了,就她一个人还在睡觉. 我看不过去,叫她起来,一脸不高兴!起来之后,早餐我们吃粥(我们家喜欢周末早餐吃粥,再炒2个菜,或者多炒个鸡蛋),她不要吃粥和菜.她给自己泡了咖啡,然后只吃鸡蛋,面包,配咖啡。 吃完饭,叫她洗碗,结果她洗碗就直接水开大大的,自己跑去擦灶台,擦桌子了,也不关水。我跟她说,新加坡的水贵,要适当得节约用水,她一直摇头,只发出一个音 :“hah? hah? hah?......." 无穷无尽的hah 之后,我也懒得解释了,直接把水关了。我妈也看不过去,说她来洗,让女佣去洗衣服。 我们家的内衣裤,袜子手洗,其余洗衣机洗. 结果,重复前一天晚上洗衣服的方法! 示范教学之后,也是看着我:“hah? hah? hah?......“好,我再教。。。吃饭,继续自己煮鸡肉,配面包,咖啡......家务依旧不会做......重复得过了三天,一样的挑食,一样的不会做家务,一样的完全不可以交流! 这三天的家务,几乎都是我一个人包办了。如此重复,直到第4天早上。我实在忍无可忍,请假半天,直接送回中介那里。

Day 2, all woke up at 7am, except maid.  Appeared unhappy to be awaken so early.
Breakfast was porridge but maid didn't want.  So she took eggs and bread with coffee. After breakfast, told her to wash up, she turned the tap in full blast and walked away to clean the table.  Employer has to demo how to do work as well as trying to break the language barrier - hard to communicate with FDW.  Sent back to agent on Day 4.

一个多月后,第三个女佣到了.同样的,英文几乎完全不会。第一天吃得很少,我都怀疑她吃这么点怎么又力气干活,不过她不要吃,我也不便勉强。除了猪肉,鱼和一些菜不吃,其他还好. 干活也比前一个稍微好点,起码示范给她看后可以跟着做. 第三天,吃的饭量就恢复原貌了,她一个人一顿吃我一天的量。我觉得女佣吃得多是正常的,毕竟她们有干活,不过就没有必要掩饰自己本来的饭量.

接着,问题又来了,我发现我一走开,她就坐着不动. 我想她可能是刚来,有点累,不习惯,再给她点时间适应.  有一天早上,我出门去超市买菜,让她洗我们房间。回来发现什么都没有动,只是坐在厨房地板上.问她,结果她回答我:“your husband is playing mobile in the room!" 我晕!“your husband!" 这是什么称呼阿,应该要说 “Winnie(我女儿的名字) daddy" 或者“Sir",或者叫名字, 这也算了,他在房里玩手机,你可以叫他的,又不是睡觉! 有了这次的经验,我决定再观察一下。第二天刚好是星期六,我早早把工作安排好了,午饭吃什么也交代了,然后带着全家去逛街。(我们家有cctv,在她来之前就跟她说过的.) 我傍晚回到家,看cctv, 我的个天!!!我出门后,她就用一片抹布,擦厨,沙发,椅子,窗框,最后还拿它擦我的餐桌了,从头到尾没有洗过!!!就干半个小时的活,然后10点不到开始打电话,一共打了12通!有些还是褒电话粥! 一直到我晚上9点到家. 她很聪明,在每次打电话前,会跑到门口看看我们回来没有,打完电话也去门口“勘察“.不过她忘记,我们家有cctv. 也多亏cctv,让我认清她的面目! 我再翻查cctv历史,发现她还在我们客房拜神!结果,第二天早上,有给送回中介那里去了. 从头到尾,一个星期.

FDW 3, another who can barely understand English. Told her to clean master bedroom toilet but didn't.  Claimed Sir was inside playing mobile, can't do cleaning. Chores were assigned and through CCTV, employer found maid took one cloth to clean cupboards, sofa, chairs, windows and .... dinning table, didn't wash, not even once. Made 12 personal calls, some were long chit-chats.

漫长的等待,两个多月后,第四个女佣到了. 英文还行,再加上肢体语言,交流没有问题。干活也还可以. 不过也是诸多挑食,而且每餐后要吃甜品(太太的节奏啊)。我们自己都没有这习惯,所以只能提供饼干,哈哈。老公说,将就算了,人无完人,我们就睁只眼,闭只眼. 来到我家三个多星期了,她完全不会带孩子,没有一次帮孩子喂饭,冲凉,上厕所。我就给她机会跟孩子多熟悉接触,让她带孩子去楼下玩,结果,孩子玩孩子的,她坐在椅子上发愣. 上个周末,她跟我说要休息日,一个星期1-2天,我就拿合同给她看,没有休息日,我们补给她钱. 她就说她要拜神,神很久没有听到她祷告,所以她的脑子不清楚了. 一天要祷告5次......最后,她同意,4个月后(loan还完后)给她休息。
昨天,她又开始发愣,我问她,还是同一个理由,要拜神,要休息. 不休息她就不可以干活。才来了3个星期,还一个星期一次威胁起老娘了!!!昨晚果断得送回中介宿舍!

FDW 4 came 2 months later.  English ok, housework delivered ok.  Very fussy about food.  Every morning must have dessert. 3 weeks into job, still unable to take care of children, didn't feed children (not even once) and didn't bath kids.
Requested for off days.  Contract stated no off days but with compensation - given extra salary.  Claimed need to go praying, her god hasn't heard her prayers, one day must pray 5 times.  Negotiated, 4 months later, after loan repaid, maid can have off days.  Then she started kicking a fuss and wanted to pray, wanted off days, no off day refuse to work.  Another maid sent back to agency.

Agency rang and confirmed that FDW must pray 5 times a day, otherwise cannot work.

看来大家都好奇我的几个女佣是哪里人, 正解:印尼人!
来之前有没有面试, 正解:我的中介没有提供印尼女佣面试服务。选人全靠感觉,拚运气!
Maids were from Indonesia.  Cannot do web interview were recruitment based on intuition and luck.

Case C) Sending Direct hire/DIY transfer back because no agency wants to handle.
2 weeks after maid has work, employer discovered maid slept with man on her off day.  Suppose to be only using mobile during weekends but lied.  Instigated employer to do a search for her phone.  Employer found she hid mobile phone in the laundry basket.  There were pictures of men.  Found pregnancy test kit.

Can't keep such a FDW.  Shouldn't recycle and allow a transfer of problem to another employer.
Not advisable to let such maid remain in Spore or allow her to get DIY transfer while passing time in your house.  Employer worry she'd make a fuss if asked to leave.

Case D) Another unhappy employer, thinking that fresh maids are clean like paper, she can be in better control and to work with.  Found fresh Myanmese maid who left the child on the grass patch while she busy chit-chat.  Fridge didn't close and spoilt the food a few times.  Switched on air-con but windows didn't close. Gas leakage, focusing on mobile phone, left little boy in bed (not safely) caused boy to fall off bed, employer busy pacifying boy and then found maid already sleeping on sofa. Working attitude and performance deteriorated as time goes by.






Case E) Recycling a thief-maid

Comments by FDW's employer:
Ken Yeung:  I hired a number of maids in the past and I would like to tell you all to take note about the maid below:
Name: Maricris De Leon
Work Permit Number: 026908140
Country of origin: Philippines

After browsing to all the Biodata and going through many phone interview, me and my wife decided hire this maid on around May. Maricris arrived and we pick her up on 28 June.  We are staying in a 5-rm HDB flat with my parents, sister, my wife and one daughter. So total is 6 person.

And we hire her just to do housework first and slowly maybe she can take care of our daugher.
We still give her 3 meals and 8 hours of sleep and handle normal house work.  Few days later, My wife noticed that she forget things easily, so she raise her voice to her (Not scold). And she start to cry and want to return to agent. And there was once she was cleaning the kitchen titles. My wife took a chair for her and worry that she might fall. Then she cry again and saying want to return to agent again.
So we brought her to maid agent on 6 Jul, and maid agent start to console her. We also find that she is not suitable and finding another maid. She agree to work until another maid came.

Then next day, 7 Jul, she called me saying that she has stomach pain and probably is kidney stone. I know kidney stone is so painful that can't even walk and need to go A&E. And she said she need to call her friend and return to agent. I told her you don't need to see doctor? She said she want to go back to agent. I guess you all start to smell something wrong on this maid.

We brought her back and saw that she can walk properly without problem. We are angry and disappoinment that we spend money ($3000) and time to bring her here and guide her. But in the end, we bought in problematic maid. Also, we have to fork out additional money to hire another one.
When we brought her back to agent, at the same time we also interview a Myanmar maid. She seems ok and willing to take up the job. Next day, our agent called me that she is not willing to work with us. Reasons unknown.

All the maid are staying in the same dormitory. And we suspect that Maricris start to influence Myanmar girl not to work for us.  Now, we would like to tell everyone that NOT TO HIRE THIS MAID.  Attachment of her biodata.

kacha:  Most Filipinos are sluts. Don't care if man is married, fat, old, ugly, as long as they can get visa/passport/bank account to pay for their lazy families in Phillipines.
Singapore maids are not that bad compared to Hong Kong ones. We have just moved from there.

A lot of HK helpers spend their days in bars in Wanchai or around bars that are frequented by Expats trying to pick up gweilos to sleep with or con.

Most job applications from helpers usually start with "looking for Western family". They know expats give them more money and more time off. More time off, means more time to make trouble. Chinese employers make them work hard for their money and they don't have time to chase after potential boyfriends/husbands.
Look how many here are chasing Bangladeshi ??

A lot of Singapore maids advertise wanting to come to HK, they know is more easier up there. The rules are not as strict as here.  Some are even trying to override the Domestic helper visa and are trying to apply for permanent id card. A few have even taken it to the courts. Not good.


muffin:  Seran, Alias Nona, Work Permit No.: 0 07163139
Period of employment: 11 Feb 14 to 2 Aug 14
I write with regard to the poor conduct of my FDW. Pratiwi was a "transfer maid" who had previously worked in Singapore. We employed her primarily to take care of my 2 young sons.

Pratiwi settled quickly into the job and the first few weeks of employment were uneventful. While her initial work performance was satisfactory, it quickly deteriorated after the first month, as she was increasingly distracted from her job. The following observations demonstrate flaws in her character that makes her unsuitable as a FDW.

Despite numerous reminders to only use her handphone at night, Pratiwi would use it incessantly through the day. Many times, she would hide in the kitchen or yard to use her phone, neglecting her work. At night, she would use her phone till late, often past midnight. She had even posted pictures of our children taken in our house on her Facebook account.

On many occasions, Pratiwi had disregarded safety by leaving the iron and baby food warmer on, and also allowing barley water to boil and spill over. She had left these unattended mostly because she was using her phone in a corner of the house.

Pratiwi often wore low cut blouses and short pants in the house, although we have repeatedly instructed her not to do so. Both my parents and us were uncomfortable with her attire, and this was made worse when she got herself large tattoos on her right chest and left thigh on one of her off days. We felt that these were inappropriate for our young children.

Several times, we had given her unofficial time off to allow her to run her errands like sending money home or buying toiletries. However, she seldom returned on the agreed times and would remain un-contactable for several hours.

On weekends, my wife and I usually wake up late. Knowing this, Pratiwi would sleep late as well, sometimes waking up after 8am. Occasionally, she wakes up at her usual time but she would use her phone until we were awake to begin work.

Due to her unsatisfactory performance, we have reprimanded Pratiwi several times. Unfortunately, she was defensive and provided numerous excuses, and did not demonstrate any attempt to correct her behavior. In addition, Pratiwi was disrespectful to my elderly parents, who oversee the care of my children when we were at work. She often ignored them when asked to perform simple tasks, and was sometimes blatantly rude to them.

We allowed Pratiwi to return to Indonesia for home leave when her grandfather allegedly passed away. We were wary that many FDWs use such tactics to discontinue employment, and turned down her request to borrow a large sum of money, and checked that our belongings were not missing before allowing her to leave. She did not return.

Pratiwi is ill-disciplined, poorly motivated, dishonest and ill-mannered. She is a poor choice for future employment and I hope this information can be made known to prospective employers.

purplewhite:  Ari Susanti, Indonesian
This maid worked for me 3 mths. In these 3 mths , she wanted return to maid agency thrice when she did not clean baby's things well and giving Large sized milk teats for newborn baby.

Lazy, has poor personal n food hygiene. No patience and love for children and pets. Scolded my two year old boy a monkey and crazy many times.
Talked back all the time. She is only daughter among siblings, hinted she is treated like princess at home.

Stole two pairs of my Levis jeans and countless coins. Behaved like the mistress of the house. Forced my mum buy clothing and Malay food for her. Always feel my home food, toiletries and clothes we gave her are not good enuf then throw away.

Interview a maid
Interviewing a maid is probably the most important step in selecting a good maid. Through the interview, you may be able to tell whether the maid can communicate with you using English, whether she has the right set of skills to work for you and whether she is motivated to work as a domestic helper. You can also find out some other information that will be crucial for you to make a decision.

Motivation Related Questions
* Why you want to work in Singapore?
* Why you want to transfer? (For transfer maid)
* Why you want to work as a domestic helper?
* Do you need to remit money back home monthly? How much? (If yes, it could mean she needs money and may therefore be more motivated and focused to work)
* Do you need to support your family financially?  Roughly how long do they depend on your salary?

Skills and Experience
* What can you cook? Can you tell us how to prepare XXX? (depends on what she replied)
* What could you do if you think my child need to be scolded and punished?
* How do you keep a child safe and not injured?
* Can you demonstrate how do you carry a bedridden person?
* How do you shower a child/elderly?  Step by step.
* Have you calm a crying child/fussy elderly?  How?

(a) For Experienced Maid
* What do you do in your previous employer's house? (To know her experience in details)
* What are the things that your employer did that pleased you or made you sad/angry?
* How many people are there in your previous employer's house and who are they? (to check whether she has the skill to take care of baby or elderly)
* What will you do if my child cries non-stop and I am not around?
* Have you made baby sleep at night?
* Did you stay in the night to do night feed or change diaper?
* What time do you wake up?  What time do you sleep?  (eg I need you to wake up at six in the morning to prepare breakfast for my kid? Is 6am too early for you?
* How do you make a child eat if she refuses?
* Have you done toileting training?  Toilet training are days of shit and urine that need FDW to clean up.
* Why did you leave your last job?  Not that they won't tell you if something was wrong with them
* Why did you do in your previous employment? How many kids did you take care of, what were your duties, how many people did you live with, how big was the house you had to clean, what time did you have to wake up when you worked for them, etc. Find out is she overloaded or not well tasked.

(b) For New Maid
* Do you need to do housework at home? (If she has never do any housework before, I do not think she is qualified to work as a domestic helper)
* Do you have children at home? (Whether she has taken care of children before)
* Do you like kid and are you willing to learn how to take care of kid? (This question is for single maid who probably may have zero experience in taking care of kid)
* What do you learn in SIP?  (see what she remembers - safety, her rights, how to run for help, etc)
* Do you have sibling? Where are they? (Sometimes, if their parents fall sick and she is the only child, she may need to return home to take care of parents)
* Do you have boy friend, when do you plan to get married?
* What's your husband working as?
* What are you most concerned/worried about back home?  (find out is it money or have no burden at home)
* What are the food you can eat?
* How long do you take to shower?  (some FDWs especially those with long hair can spend a lot of time grooming.  Some may not shower or wash hair daily.)?
* What will you do if child beat you?
* Do you beat, shout or scold the child if he is naughty or doesn't listen to you?
* Have you been to Singapore? What do you like about Singapore? Do you have any friends/family in Singapore? To gauge interest level, as well as kind of “support” she has in Singapore.
* How often do you need to call home?  This helps to establish boundaries.
If I give you off days, what would you do?  Understand maid's interest/personality, may not be true.

Her Job and Duty (Your House Conditions)
It is good to let maid know what she can be expected. If she shows some unpleasant mood when you mention certain duty or job, better avoid that maid.  Clauses such as off day and mobile phone usage are better to highlight.

Have your house rules laid to avoid any miscommunication or maid going overboard.

Questions to test how sincere/keen is maid (her working mentality):
* Does or Can employer keep your passport?"  Listen to what she says.  Her uneasiness is a sign that she shouldn't be employed.  A maid who ask for too much 'rights' is very hard to manage or work with.  Yes, she's a human but that is not an excuse to deliver shabby work or be a compulsive liar.

Maid is employed to help you.  She is not somebody deserving 100% (automatically) of your trust.  Trust is built over months of work, not the moment you decide to employ her. She is a live-in stranger whom you don't know! There should not be any issue for employer to keep maid's passport if FDW really wants to work for you.  Only those unsure or planning something will say she wants to keep her passport or claim that's part of human rights.  To me, these are excuses.  Seriously, would a maid need her passport while working for you?  If she has to take home leave, she'll certainly get her passport back.  If she need to renew her passport, I don't see a reason why employer should refuse and then cause her work permit to be revoked.  Nobody will be nice and help you when you faced a runaway or lousy maid.  MOM will continue to shake legs, although you've paid levy promptly.

* Do you have a mobile? How often do you use?  How much do you spend each month?  Can you show me your Facebook page? (see what sort of pictures she posted)
Mobile phone is a work distraction for FDWs.  Most FDWs cannot multi-task.  Her distraction may cause your child to be hurt, fire (cooking) or something destroyed (eg ironing your branded clothes).
Find out how lenient was her ex-employer.  Listen and see through hidden words - is FDW here for pleasure or work for an income.  Is she showing resistance of you keeping her mobile phone during the day?

Missing family is not a good reason to hold on to maid's personal phone 24/7.  There's nothing so urgent (everyday) or involves life and death that requires FDW's immediate attention.  Employer can be kind, accommodating and understanding but after interviewing many FDWs, as well as read so many unhappy posts by other employers, I have to conclude, 'missing family' is the most unacceptable standard reason.... it has been gravely misused.  Our soft spot has become our headaches.  To avoid maid missing family, must speak to family everyday or spend long hours on the phone ... suggest FDW to go home or skip her and find another prospective FDW to interview.  Don't waste time reasoning or limiting her phone usage.  If the maid you're hiring doesn't need to work hard (you can't find enough chores for her), allow to spend a lot of time on her phone or surfing internet as and when she likes, do skip this question.

Any agent who insists FDW should use her mobile phone freely (24/7) should be avoided.  We need a domestic worker, not receptionist or 'customer service hotline person'.  Maid can use her mobile in the night but not during the day - distraction.  If FDW appears unhappy or bargaining her usage and you want to avoid a potential bad worker, leave, find another agency.  You don't need to explain to agency that you felt uncomfortable to deal with them, no need to waste time and breathe.  I am sure you have plenty of choices.... click to search for an agency near you.   

Any agency advocating human rights ought to reflect on themselves... start treating FDWs like human beings, not commodities or agencies' money making tools.  Secondly, don't earn so much heartless money (maid loan) from FDWs.  Preach is easy... doing right is another thing.  If 'agency acts too nice to maids' or FDW gave you the impression she wants pleasure and no intention to lighten your load, why waste time interviewing?  Shop around agencies, conduct a few interviews, get some experience and learn about maid's standard/model answers.  Standard answers are actually bad answers, you can't find out or know the real FDW (her inner feelings).  

Also, ask FDW's view on CCTV in your house.  If she felt uneasy, being watched or lost of privacy, it showed she may be up to something no good.  A FDW who has clear conscience, will to deliver her work as per your requirements shouldn't be bothered by CCTVs.  What's there to be afraid, 'stressed' if maid is not trying to be funny in the absence of employer?  Unless CCTV is installed in the toilet, then I would feel that it is not right.  In my opinion, there's no such thing as maid's privacy because HDB flats are so small, I don't even have enough space for parent to come stay overnight, how to offer room to good life FDW?  I can offer maid a proper bed and a shared room with my girl is better than some HK employers. My ex-HK maid said she was made to sleep with cats in the kitchen, till she developed skin problem.

Limit the number of transfers for maids, The Straits Times, 27 Mar 2014
Why would a maid come to our shores to seek employment, after incurring a huge debt that will take months to repay, yet terminate her contract after a short period?

One would think she needs the work badly and will do all she can to keep her job. But for some maids, this logic does not apply.  A few months ago, I checked up on maid agencies on the Net and in shopping centres, while helping my in-laws to look for a helper.

I came across many transfer maids who refused jobs that involved caring for elderly folk, or if there were adults at home in the daytime. Some refused to work for anyone other than expatriates.

Some of these maids had been in Singapore for only a few months; others had changed employers a few times within 1½ years. A good employer-employee relationship does not happen overnight. As with any relationship, it takes time to establish rapport and build trust.
Above all, both parties have to make it work.
Perhaps it is time to consider putting a cap on the number of times a maid can switch employers within a certain period. Exceeding that limit will result in the maid losing her work permit and being sent home.

Grace Chua Siew Hwee (Madam)

Can I have a maid-to-orderMarch 2014, by Bertha Harian
She swept in through the agency door. She ordered the Indonesians among the pink tee-shirted maids to stand up. She proceeded to interrogate them. “You! How long here already?’’, “How many months with your last ma’am?’’ “How many employers you have before?’’

They stood up and answered dutifully. She was not satisfied. She didn’t even look at the agency staff. She swept out of the door, a hurricane with well-coiffed big hair,

“What in heaven’s name was that?’’ I asked the agency staff who was attending to me. “Employer lah,’’ she said. “We get so many like that" My goodness! Was that how you go about looking for a maid? If so, I was doing it all wrong.

My search for a maid agency in Katong Shopping Centre was illuminating, yet disheartening. I’ve never hired a maid before and decided that it was time to get one for my mother. I don’t know enough about the regulations, payments and what not about having a live-in help, so I wandered through the shopping centre peering at the advertisements plastered on the door.

Almost all of them had maids on the ready – transfer maids I was told, those who wanted to change employer. There were so many. And it seemed that maids from Myanmar are in vogue with agencies touting themselves as the “biggest’’, “No. 1’’, “leading’’ and all sorts of marketing words of maids from that relatively new maid source of country. There were also those who touted “no replacement fee’’ and “$1 fee’’ – which I didn’t even bother to look at. There must be a catch here, I thought.

I also avoided those agencies from which emitted very loud voices – staffers shouting down the phone at maids (I think) in broken English and pasar Malay, staffers yelling at maids whom employers had brought in supposedly for a dressing down. One employer was upset that her maid wanted a day off when it appeared that she had agreed to be paid instead. I don’t know what to feel. It was like eavesdropping on parents disciplining their children.

If there is one thing in common among maid agents: They all speak in a very loud voice to the maids, in stern kindergarten teacher style. I cringed. So is this what it means to be “firm’’ with maids?

I walked through an agency which looked like among the biggest in the building.  An elderly Chinese man attended to me asking me questions about my mother and her needs. I asked him if his agency was Case Trusted. He said no and changed the subject. I asked why not, and he ducked the question. I let it go.

He said I should take a first-time maid from Myanmar and assured me that they picked up on the language fast. I wasn’t so sure about that and asked about maids who were already here. He handed me a stack of maid bio-data. I flipped through five and discovered all had several employers within a short space of time. How come? He said he didn’t know as they had come from other agencies. But that’s why, he said, I should get a new maid.

As someone bred on a media diet of bad agencies which are not regulated, I was actually quite sure I didn’t want to be among his clients. But, hey, he was giving me an education on security bonds, levy payments and maids’ salaries.

After some hapless wandering, I finally entered an agency with a Case Trust logo and decided that I should just bite the bullet and hire one. It was also because a maid had opened the door of the agency and asked me to come in. There was a garrulous Myanmar maid who had nothing but bad to say about her ex-employer and her co-maid, an Indonesian. There was also a quiet Indian girl who hailed from near the border with Myanmar. English-speaking. She said she quit her employer because she did NOT want a day off but wanted to work and get paid. That’s a change, I thought. Most times, wasn’t the complaint the other way round? Then again, given that they had a loan to pay off to their agents, it might not be a surprise that they preferred to get that out of the way quickly.

Again, I was inducted into the mysteries of maid employment and told to get a certificate for attending the orientation course for first-time employers. I did it online, a two-hour programme which I wish I could fast forward. My maid agent said that no one had failed the test yet and I shouldn’t want to be the first. I had visions of failing. I passed.

I did learn a few things though, such as how the maid should keep her own bank book and work permit. But it never said what should be done about her passport. I know we should give a good place to sleep but I didn’t realise I should get her her own set of toiletries. Then there was some scary stuff about the employers’ legal obligations and the kinds of penalties if you are caught using the maid wrongly. Plenty of stuff on cleaning windows too which, at the end of the course, really amounted to this: Don’t let her clean windows if you can help it.

Now that we’ve fixed on the maid, there remains the big question of what to do with her, a question that is giving my mother sleepless nights. You see, my mother is perfectly ambulant but her aches and pains are getting to her. She also has a penchant of doing heavy-duty housework and she does marketing for three homes, including mine. The family’s fear was that she would strain herself or fall down without anyone knowing. She drives. She lives alone. But she is stressed out wondering if the maid will have enough work to do and wondering how to outfit my brother’s old room for her.

I don’t think the maid would have very much to do actually, given that my mother is a neat freak who has been keeping house all her life. One employer who was at the agency said that my mother was probably someone who would do all the work instead of the maid. And who probably worry more for the maid’s welfare than her own. That’s true, I thought. But it would good for her to have a helper.

These days, I’ve been reading all about maids who decided to up and go home and leave employers in the lurch. Yes, I was told that the maid’s return would be at the employer’s expense (both plane and train/bus fare) although there was something about the agency coughing up a replacement if that happens – I’m not sure.

So many horror stories of maids upping sticks that I’m now wondering if our new maid would launch the same surprise on us. The bio-datas of the maids I saw at the first agency weren’t promising. They seemed able to quit so easily, especially after their loan had been paid up and they stand to receive the whole pay packet. How many unlucky employers have there been who had to survive several maid changes – and get blacklisted – through no fault of their own, I thought. I hope these job-hopping maids are more the exceptions than the rule.

Predictably, employers will scream “unfair’’ and ask for protection. But really, anyone can quit their job at any time. It’s a free market – and maids are no different.. Non-maid employers also know the pain of training employees only to have them jump ship for a few dollars more. But there’s nothing they can do to stop them, except to make it painful to leave… You take on a maid, you take on the responsibilities as well as the risks.

Maybe the silver lining in this is that we’ll treat our maids better to get them to stay on. The fact remains that the maid is always in a subordinate position at her place of employment. Sir and Mom really have over-riding control over her life. That’s tough enough for the maid. She must at least be given the right to leave employment if she has decided she’s had enough, just as the rest of us do.

I guess getting a good (whatever that means) maid is really the luck of the draw. I’m hoping I get lucky with mine. If she quits on me and my mom, I am definitely not going to blow into agencies like the hurricane with big hair whom I encountered. If I did and if I were a maid, I wouldn’t work for me either.

Login with your Singpass to see your prospective FDW's employment history.  Some agencies are more pro-active and will print a copy and attach together with the transfer maid's bio-data.

Take note, FDW will have a work permit number that will remain no matter how many passports she had, come to Spore how many times or transferred.  The work permit number will change if she comes in using a different name.

If you encounter agency (irregardless of fresh maid or transfer maid) that pushes you to sign here and there, blank forms, no explanation from your agent or any figure written .... open your eyes, open your golden mouth, otherwise, prepare to open your wallet widely. 

If your agent has no patience and is rushing you to Pay and Sign, I suggest you avoid them because they just want your money the fastest way.  They are indirectly telling you, don't waste our time, just pass me your wallet 金主! 

Count yourself lucky if you get a good agency, an agent who listens to you correctly, did not try to make you lower your expectations or reprimand you (I encountered at Coronation Plaza), didn't show any frustration/act very busy when you ask questions and could nicely explain things to you. 

There are so many maid agencies in Spore.  As long as your requirements look reasonable, as per contract terms, didn't overload your FDW, I would expect agent to carry out his/her duty, do proper job matching and don't try to persuade Employers to give maid 24/7 mobile, a private room and treat maid like HUMAN BEINGS.  I get very annoyed when people or agent say these "Treat maid like human or Treat her like a family member".  By saying these, I felt agents assumed most employers expolited their maids and didn't treat them well, thus, need to remind me my 'obligations'.  They stressed on the rights of maid but NOT our RIGHTS to get a good helper ... because we paid so much!

Treating a maid too well will not guarantee you an appreciative/good maid in return... if you bother to read my blog.  Maids these days are too hard to please, like to compare benefits, cannot carry out chores correctly and behave like princesses .... waiting for employers to serve and pamper them.... bad attitude, thought we owe them a good life to work as FDW.  Maid has to deliver a proper job in order to get better benefits, as a form of reward or recognition of her good service.  FDWs have to know no pay no gain, they are not here to be leeches, got to earn our trust and get rewards.

Ask FDW 'stupid' questions, something that you assume is common knowledge or she ought to know as a transfer maid.  When interviewing a transfer maid, ask her for her job expectations and:
1. how often she uses her mobile (this is important if you cannot afford day time distraction like me), chit-chat or Facebook, etc.  How much she spent on her top up card, etc.

2. What's the working environment in her ex-employer's house (HDB, landed property, do what duties, wake up/sleep at what time, how she looks after baby or children, etc)

3. What kind of things her ex-employer bought her

4. What she dislikes about her ex-employer, what she likes about her ex-employer

5. Where she goes on off days, what food she buys, how much she spends, etc

6. Hygiene - Hair, nails, cleaning/sanitising, time she spent to shower, wash hair, etc

7. Her outstanding loan, how much she need to top up and be transferred to a new employer (hope to get maid wakes up, each transfer she has to pay agency so she better think properly and adjust her working mentality)
8. what sort of food she can cook by herself, how she prepares from step 1 till the food is ready to eat
9. Why kenna transferred (maid unlikely to tell you the truth but no harm asking in the presence of the agent)

By getting the maid to speak, you can gauge her level of understanding.  Don't ask Yes or No questions.  Try to ask creative questions, something she hasn't been 'programmed' to answer.

Note: Filipino maids are very particular about off days, keep long hair and hold her mobile.  So if you are particular on these, do be assertive.  Some filipinos agree for no off days (without any hesitation, they are programmed to say Yes and later pester you for off days, mobile, etc .... otherwise, pretend they weren't the ones to agree to your harsh terms).  You must remind FDW, she cannot agree now and then ask for it later, it will be a 2-year contract, not 2 days or 2 months.  For your protection, get the maid to write down her promises and committment.  Don't be a silly employer like me to trust maid's words, only to get her making endless requests... irritating.  Even after writing down in the presence of agent, maid can still pretend to forget or thought she can keep trying her luck.  Most maids don't honour their words ... liars, yet claimed they were forced to agree to our requirements!  

If a maid lied to get a job, she is a cheater, no excuse should be used to make her look like a victim.  The fault is obviously maid's, employer shouldn't get the blame, it is very unfair to penalise the person that paid so much for her and her agency.  An employer who clearly stated her requirements during interviews has no fault because she is honest!  FDW accepted a job should behave like a grown up, a true human being, an employee by respecting the terms and deliver a proper job.  No employer in Spore deserves to employ a baby-FDW and act as her 'mother' or 'guardian'.  Who says it is our duty to babysit and give FDW an enjoyable work cum wonderful holiday in Spore?

Agency reviews:
1) A1 Employment Agency
Posted online May 2013 - I got a maid in Dec. Very self-centred person. She was sent back by her ex-China employers straight to airport after working for one year. Both agency and the maid claimed that the ex-employer locked her up when they went for holidays but with food provided. The maid found this agency before she was sent back to Indonesia and found her way out. The agency arranged her to go Batam and came to Singapore for as a visitor for employers to view. First off day, the helper came back 15mins late without apologies, yet told me she went back to agency and one of the agents asked the other maid to bring her to beach party at Sentosa!!. On the second off day. My helper brought $20 out as still on loan. Guess what, she said she give a treat to friends and give coins to beggars. Her friend asked her to borrow $10 but she say she dont have. In the end her friend gave her $10...etc. Trying to confuse me with merry go round stories after I told her that what she has told me, the amount did not telly. Why she still have $5 extra. It just happened that we went out before her on that Sunday. I called up agency. She only listen to the maid and told me what the maid has told her. then she ask me to call up manager the next day. I told her the story and ask her to speak to my maid to find out. She replied me with "HAH? Now? I have customer! I told her then can she called back later. She answered ok but I didnt her reply till now its has been 3 month!! Now its 4 mths plus, and I found out that my maid stole my wifi code number to use on her phone. Sigh. The last agency I went, will still called up to check how we were doing after 1 month. Just that the maid does not turned up well. But no matter how I called them or emailed to them, they will response within 24 hrs with patience, and solve the problems the maid gave me.

Posted online Jan 2013 - Hi all, just wanted to share a recent experience. I hired a maid from A1 Employment Agency in December 2012. Within 3 days, the maid claimed that she has stomach ulcer and that she wanted to return home. I was taken back as i had paid the agency about $4400 to get her ($1399 agency fees, $2600 placement fee, etc). When i told that she would need to return these monies to the agency before she can ...return, she claimed that her grandfather was rich enough to pay and that she had already the day before, informed me to send the monies.

I was more shocked and contacted the agency. The agency rep spoke to her over the phone and informed me that the maid indeed wanted to return home and that they would check with her family if she can settle the payments. The next day, the agent from the maid's country called and spoke to her for a long while. Obviously i could not understand the language and thought naively that the agent was advising her to stay put since it has only been 3 days. But i was wrong. The maid told me that her agent advised her to return to the Singapore agency.

Given this scenario, i had no choice but to return her to the agency and we called the agency to inform that we would be returning her and to wait for us as we had to travel from Jurong to Orchard at 7pm and the agency would close at 8.00pm. We reached the carpark at 7.58pm and went up to the A1 Employment agency at 8.01pm.  To our shock, the agency was closed. When we got the rep's mobile number from the maid and called her, her reply was that she was off work and that she would not return to pick the maid up and demanded that we send her to her house. I tried to explain to her that i wanted to do a proper handover but she did not budge. Even calling the police did not help and after hours of waiting, we had to send the maid to the rep's house and film the handover with my mobile phone (evidence of handover since no documents were signed).

Then obviously, the whole family suffered without a maid from the time we handed her over. Both hubby and I couldn't work for 3 weeks until my in-laws came to help.   To cut the story short, i lost about $2000 to the agency and a few more thousands by not being able to work (Both hubby and i are self-employed). I cannot get another maid for 30 days or until this maid gets transferred out as per the Agency's contract. On top of making me pay for the SIP fees, insurance, maid's boarding fees ($210), her levy ($170), the Agency also wanted me to pay a full month's salary of $420 when she only worked 3 days for me. After i stated that if she wanted full month's salary, she must return and work for me, the Agency reduced this to 3 days.

Now, i am getting a partial refund of the placement fees and insurance premium but my request for a partial refund of the agency fees has been unreasonably denied. I engaged the agency to get me a maid. Now i dont have a maid because she wanted to return. The maid is now under new employers with the benefit of 4 compulsory off days and higher pay. The Agency made another $1399 from the new employers and i understand also made the maid pay 2 months of salary as penalty by charging the new employers a higher placement fees.

To all of you out there relying on foreign maids, the message is that the maid industry is self-regulated and very unfair. Most of them are simply exploiting both employers and maids. MOM only regulates the employer-maid issues. The Agencies adopt an unfair contract which is one-sided and penalizing to employers. Much needs to be done to make this fair for us, employers.

2) SLF Green Maid Agency
Posted online May 2011 - Bad experience with SLF. The experienced and good maid which they so highly recommended actually come with no work experience and did not receive any training as the agency had claimed. The biodata was FAKE! When feedback the problem to agency, the staff will keeping avoid calls / Emails. Or simply accused employer as Pick and problematic . There is no service provided to employer as long as you already paid.

Posted online Jun 2011 - Yup I agree totally. Two years ago, I got a filipino maid, supposed to have experienced in Kuwait and looking after children. After the phone interview, we took this maid, thinking that being a filipino, she can read, comprehend instructions from us and household labels. She spoke simple English, though not fluent. When she arrived, she was a disaster. She cannot understand us. She cannot speak ENGLISH. We had to repeat all instructions to our nerve daily. We were getting mad and impatient. She was conversing English with all that mixed up tone and pitch and it sounds like she is swallowing or singing. I was devastated and felt cheated by SLF. I asked the agent, the boss, Mr Yeo, I think... He put the blame on Wida, the sales consultant who got this maid for us. He says that this maid should not be coming to singapore and is not selected by him because she did not pass the test in Philippines. We did not go to him again and chose another agency instead. He gave us some money back, after deducting $500 as penalty.

Posted online Mar 2012We are very disappointed with SLF Green, cause we've paid everything and eagerly waiting for our new maid to arrived ( they've confirmed it to me, so that i let my current maid go back to indonesia as her contract is finished) but suddenly they told us she lost her passport and then they push for transfer maid, Myanmarese which according to them she is hardworking and only problem is her english is not good. But soon after using her 10 days later.. we realized that actually she is not honest and cause many trouble! we return the maid to the agency and again have to wait for another 3 weeks to get new maid which passport is ready to come to Singapore! The agency couldn't confirm the date and everything.! meanwhile we have paid fully agent fee, maid's loan in advance and lot of ++ fee at the end cause you change the maid... which the fault is not cause by us!

Posted online Jun 2012 - Yes, totally agreed, never get maid from SLF Green. When I signed the contract, I wonder why there is a penalty of $500 if I do not want the 2nd maid, the agent told me "just in case" but the chances are v low cos they can pick the maid carefully. Their maid quality are sucks, customer services even worst after you rejected the maid. The worst agency that i have encounter.

Posted online Jul 2012 - I am having an ex-Sing Myanmarese fr SLF. She is temperamental (literally show her displeasure), has bad-attitude and super lazy/shoddy. I have complained to SLF to which they counselled her twice but to no avail. So I had no choice but to ask for replacement. But twice, SLF disappointed us and cannot deliver replacement with plenty of excuses. It's been 3 weeks and staff will not call or update and we have to continuously call. So far it has been disappointing news after news. Now I'm waiting for a return call fr SLF's boss, Mr Yeo to find out what is happening. Wish we found out about this website earlier. Perhaps the reason why they are changing 'SLF Green Maid Agency' to 'EP One Manpower Pte Ltd' because of the increasing bad publicity and complaints.

Posted online Jan 2013 - OMG!!! Wish I had found this site earlier!
I have already signed up with them a few months ago! They gave me the world' laziest and dumbest maid! She was a transfer and I took her becos they gave me the excuse that the maid was mildly abused in the previous house and hence didn't wish to continue there after 5 months! She spoke fairly well after interviewing her for an hour! bloody waste of my time! I was a moron to have believed them! After 2 months I sent the dumbo packing! Everyday I have to repeat myself the same instructions! Even written instructions didnt help! Every other day I m screaming cos she has ruined something or done something wrong! The list is so long I can't even be bothered to type it out! Btw! Simply becos she is a "transfer" maid, I could interview her in person so my agency fees is over $1200 instead of the $600+!! (Just the agency fees alone! There’s alot of other fees which i paid too!) When I called subsequently to ask why so much more ex, they told me cos can interview "in person"!!!

Then I requested for a new maid. They said with "passport ready" can expedite! Said most prob in 6 week! Guess wad? At the end of 6 weeks, she supposedly didn't pass her medical in Phil and can't come till further check. They suspected that she is preg! After 2 weeks they called again to tell me that she has passed her medical cos there is a "foreign object" in her but its fine and she can come in one half weeks! When I queried abt the "foreign object", they told me dunno wad it is but she apparently cleared her medical after all. Now I m left wondering if she wants to make use of her insurance to claim for wad ever surgery here in sg after she comes to me!!!

Plus this second maid doesn't come "free" either despite the one year free change of maids on the contract! I have to fork out another ridiculous $600+ for wad ever fees!
Now I m so stranded! Argh! Tough luck for me going to this place. Please don't ever ever go to this agency if u want a maid at all!
Btw, I m not sure wad kind of stories or excuses they made up but apparently someone else seems to have been again too! It appears from their website that my dumbo maid has been "taken" again!   

Posted online May 2013 - Dear ALL Prospective Maid Hirers,

These guys are the biggest frauds. They will tell you false things about maid and push you maids who are unfit to work. When you are totally harassed and pissed off and ask for refund they will tell you that refund will be processed after some time and then keep giving fresh dates without processing the refund.

The staff is very rude and doesnt have any apathy for customers

Posted online Feb 2012 - I paid a deposit of $150 to 'reserve' a maid. But eventually decided not to take the maid the next day. I called to ask for refund. It has been more than a month and despite chasing, I still haven't gotten my refund. They kept giving excuses- accounts staff on leave, accounts staff is new etc. Every time i call them, they will keep extending the date of refund. And they never return my calls or emails! I don't know if I will ever get my refund! Avoid dealing with this agency!

Posted online Mar 2012 - Having the same problem with this agency. Lots of delay and lies and end up giving you maids that is lousy and cant speak english. When you want to return the maid, they said below 1 mth, you must pay for the maid's 1 mth salary. Its the worst maid agency in Singapore.

Posted online Apr 2012 - I'm got lots of complaint with this company as well I would like to specific it was Gek Poh branch it's a One man show, lots of delays worse its was run by a fillipino.  Thousands of excuse for delay.  My maid is already with me for 2 months and I have yet to receive the passport and permit from them, I received letter from the MOM saying that it is ready for collection, when I call the agency she ask me to inore the letter and say their runner has collected just that he is not free to bring to the agency!

Posted online Apr 2012 - Perfect Team Maid Agency is by far the worst agency ever!! All your comments and complaints above seem to be exactly like my experience. I dealt with the bukit timah brances, both - one on 1st floor with michelle & one on 2nd floor with doris. The people are horrid, rude, act like they're doing a favor on you by even looking at you. They keep complimenting a particular maid, telling you she's best suited for you etc etc ... later when things dont work out - they refuse to refund you the money and dont respond to your emails or phone calls. If you do manage to track them down - they keep you delayed for months for loan money!! I have finally gotten my loan amt back after 2 months and I swear, I never want to see the faces of these unprofessional, disgusting women!! Gosh!! What a nightmare dealing with them!!!

Posted online Jul 2012 -  No wonder Doris was pushing me to sign contracts today, without even explaining what they were for! Ridiculous... She kept saying, "Just sign first, just sign first".. So glad I told her off, saying I'm absolutely not gonna put my signature anywhere unless I know what it's for. And in the end, since she kept pushing, I insist on dwelling on it for a few days. Wah, she so in a hurry ask me pay for the agency fees of almost $900, she think what... 90cent is it?

Posted online Nov 2012 - My story is the same as yours at this maid agency with up to six branches - Perfect Te*m Maid Agency Pte Ltd (handled by Katong Branch staff called Ka*turi) ... maid profile states fair English, arrives late after repeated chasing, cannot speak or understand any English at all, maid returned to agency after messing up the place, and I'm told I lose one month of her salary from the loan and all the agency service fees.

I asked for balance of the salary loan to be refunded but ignored by the staff over 10 different occasions ... MOM says they don't handle any dispute or dishonesty; AEAS which "accreditates" the agency says pay S$50 before I handle your dispute. 3 months passes and still no refund of this $3000+ sum. Can you believe this is allowed to happen in Singapore?

This agency has got six branches island-wide - imagine the harm they brought to many people if this pattern gets repeated ... and they lose nothing because they resell the maid to another employer, making money from them again and also from the maid for the transfer. Some call this rip off and day light robbery, yet they get aware with it from the authorities. Be aware everyone! Heed the people's advice above to save yourself from unspeakable headaches!

Posted online Apr 2013 - i am also a victim of this agency. . offer lousy maids, then when pursuing for a refund that never came back... still waiting... i really cannot believe AEAS can still accreditate such agency even after so many complaints? come on, really... wake up!!!  i am going to Small Claims Tribunals and make a big case out of this... else this will always happen to anybody.

4) Jack Focus Maid Agency
I would like to inform you all about the poor service provided by Jack Focus Maid Agency - Katong Branch.  Within the span of 3 months, I've received poor and probably "dishonest" service at multiple instances.

a. We took a maid, which was already at the agency. The agency informed that "the previous employer went overseas and hence returned the maid". Later through the maid we came to know that this is not true.

b. The maid's attitude was not good, so we asked for a replacement. We selected a maid & were given 1 month timeline. After 1 month, when we enquired, the maid was already released to someone else. Miscommunication was given as the reason.

c. They asked to select another maid, who has a ready passport. Then the maid can come in 2-3 weeks. We did the same. Only after 2 weeks, they confirmed the arrival date. On arrival date, they said maid has arrived and we can come for collection. One day before collection date, they said the maid is still in Indonesia and they would let us know the arrival date next week.

The maid agency is run very unprofessionally. Once they take your money, you either forgo your money or keep suffering. We thought "Jack Neo's" name would provide good service.. Alas, not true!!!

Posted online Jan 2011 - I have asked for a maid since last year 14 th of dec 2010. The new maid from philippine did arrive but fail the test in singapore. They never do a proper check on the maids standard of education. Then we have to wait for another few weeks, in the mean time, we got a transfer maid while waiting for another new maid from Philippine. The transfer maids is a headache, simply cannot trust. WE have to send her back after 4 days. Now until this date, 24/1. Our new maid still stuck at philippine. I really wonder whether are they serious about maid business.

Posted online Feb 2012 - I have more than 12 years of maid-employing experience and I avoid going to the same agency. Guess what? I think Jack Focus is the worst among the 6 or 7 I have used! They failed and cancel my returning maid's WP and ended up my returning maid needed to carry the WP with her when she was repatriated! The new replacement maid from Jack Focus was not satisfactory, when I contacted them in early Sep, they asked me to give her a chance to try.

I called in Nov, asked for maid replacement, they said no bio data. I called in Dec, they said the same, due to Xmas. I called in Jan, they said will email me bio-data, which nothing came through at all! Bunch of lies and irresponsible! I told myself to give Jack Focus one last contact and called them last week... the in charge said, "A? Why didn't you send your maid back?"

Posted online May 2012 - Totally agree to all. Its the first time I hire a maid and the experience with Jack Focus is really really bad. Our first maid came and went after two weeks saying she misses home and the second one only 2 days also misses home. Would you still want to employ maids from them? We have not ill-treated them, they just have to do normal housework and help look after kids when needed, able to rest and sleep by 10.30pm very night. I dont get to sleep at 10.30pm if my kids are still up. Every change of maid $ is involve so far we have fork out $4.3K and have received bad services from them. I requested for the third replacement quickly without cost as we are not the one who reject and return the maid it has been the maid that does not want to work. They say it’s impossible and the bio data of other possible maid require that I top to $ again. So I decided to go to other agency.

Guess what they refund me: only $2.2k out of the $4.3K. They have deducted $400 for terminating the contract which is not due to us and $450 the monthly wages for a maid that only wants to work for 2 days. All these are bloody unreasonable. Who can we go to to get help with these? They always mentioned but the contract say so. Yah...but contract say if we terminate but now its the maid they provide does not want to work. They are the ones who terminate the contract not us. And we are the one to bare all costs.

Posted online Oct 2012 - Jack focus staffs are really ill mannered. I have very bad experience with this Agency.
The staff who was in charge of my maid co-ordination did not do her follow up properly and caused my maid's work permit to be revoked by MOM just 2 months after she has been with us. We were quite satisfied with maid and have never thought of terminating her. However, it was a total shock for us to receive a letter from MOM telling that the permit has been revoked. Upon investigation, I found out that the agency did not submit an important form which the staff had asked me to fill in and they will mail for me. I have checked with government board and the reply was they did not receive any application.

The package costed us around 1k and this is what I had. I had to run between CPF and MOM ask they have very tight deadline for me to re-instate the permit.
When I called up the agency to esquire about this matter and how should I re-instate the permit, the original staff who handed this case was on leave and her colleague who had answered the call was very nervous and SHOUTED at me over the phone. I was not loud (on normal tone only) when I asked what had happened at their end. She was so LOUD and bad mannered that I had to stopped her half way.   I will not hire any maid through this agency anymore.

Posted online Dec 2012 - TOTALLY AGREE TO ALL OF THE ABOVE! I had just experienced yesterday though I'm not asking for a new maid. I only requested for them to do a service for a renewal of work permit for my domestic worker. The staff, Lily from katong branch service is so bad. She has no patience at all !!! She gave us a 'black' face and a impatient attitude towards us from the time we stepped in as if we had killed her whole family.

We had planned to come to jack focus to look for a new maid as we thought since jack neo is the spokesperson for them, service will not be that bad but to our shock, the service is the worst we've ever received from a maid agency.

Posted online Jan 2013 - Bukit timah jack focus caused me much frustration too. They do not know what are agency for? They just want $, no service and no follow up and keep coming up with excuses to defend their mistake . They really sucks !

Posted online Mar 2013 - Totally agree. I got a transfer maid from them in may 2012 and she wants to go back in feb 2013. The staff LILY is THE WORST customer service staff i have ever encountered. She RUDE, LOUD and totally ZERO CUSTOMER SERVICE. Very ill mannered woman. She treats the customers like how she shouts at her maid.
I asked her how much i have to pay for the remaining of the pay of my maid, she just slammed on my phone. Avoid jack focus katong branch at ALL cost unless you want to be shouted at. No wonder they have 3 demerit points from MOM.

Posted online Mar 2013 - Agree! I had the same experience at Katong branch too. Not sure the management got problem, or the staff got problem. Perhaps in their management's eyes, Katong staff is a good staff for them...No customer service at all, but only knows how to get $$$ from customer!

5) Perfect Maid Agency

Posted online Apr 2012 - Please think a zillion million times before engaging the services of Perfect Team Maid Agency.

- Owner: Mr. Jeffrey Teo ... does not have the audacity to return calls and leaves it all to his staff.

- this agency is not first of all not accredited whatsoever with the

Phillipines Embassy of Singapore.

- shady service rendered

- thousand and one excuses which is of no relevance

Posted online Sep 2012They will recommend maids with good working experience, etc. Than they inform you that they have documentation problems, medical problems, etc. After 2 weeks of delay they give you a maid who is unable to speak or understand English or Chinese. Do not go to Perfect Team Maid agency...I pity those maids who have to pay thousands of dollars to the agency and later sent home...

6) 3M's Manpower And Services

Posted online Oct 2012 - Do not deal with this horrible maid agency!

They are very unprofessional! We sent back our maid because she was stealing from us? Instead of being considerate and helpful as we paid then $488 in agency fee they asked us not to disclose that we let go of the maid because she was stealing to her future employers.  Then they decide to send her back to her home country and made us pay for her airfare.

Now we are entitled to an unlimited replacement that they have not provided for a month? They asked us to com edown to their agency anytime to interview replacements and when we were there, there was only one maid available for interview.  We tried asking for a refund because clearly this agency is up to no good. The owner, Amy Manalang, started shouting at us! She was very unprofessional! Save yourself the trouble and do not get the service of this agency!

7) JPB Maid Agency

Posted online Sep 2012 My sister has employed a maid from JPB maid pte ltd (hougang branch), as she is going overseas the maid actually stay in singapore to look after my mum, niece n bro-in-law.

After the agency has received the total sum of deposit n payment for the maid, their attitude change immediately. We r totally disappointed with the "couldn't care less" attitude and was astonished by his shouting voice from the branch manager.

He even ridicule at my mum's english when she was trying to interview the maids, wat a jerk he is. The transferred maid over there sucks. I respect them as a human but i hate dishonesty. In the biodata the first maid they employed stated "single" but when she is in the house she told my mom that she is actually married and have a son!!!

Whoa... I dun see any reason for them to lie their martial status... i only care to see their capabilities in working as a domestic helper...

The first maid was send back to agency after 9 days of the stay cos my mom caught her washing dishes above a defrosted fish they r goin to cook for DINNER!~!!! The second maid they selected from that agency was even worse. She is very poor in personal hygiene n have a severe problem of B.O. The house was a mess when she came, those things that had been tidied was being mess up by her, she even misplaced my niece's homework n her teacher punished her for not bringing the work. When my mom was trying to teach her well in the household chores she wouldnt listen n do them in her way, in the end she got everything wrong. And the time they reprimanded her, she always had her own lame excuses, wouldnt admit her mistakes n wouldnt improve. She expects them to cook for her meals cos she dunno her to cook even in her biodata stating tat she can cook.

She broke a chair n a lamp n when my bro-in-law was so furious, she bragged that she would let him to deduct her salary for the breakage of things, but by the time she was at the agency she framed my bro-in-law that he threatened her to sign the agreement for the breakage payment!!!  Because of that maid, their house was in havoc, my mom's lost lots of weight and in a bad shape. This maid agency is a fraud, scamming company.

Posted online Nov 2008 - This agency is a scamming agency. They pushed a maid which have mental problem to us and claimed that she doesnt know anything. And when we complained to them, they do not want to bother about it initially. But after much complains, then they changed another one to us unwillingly. The maid of theirs also is unable to work for long. And the agent just want us to keep changing maid so that they can gain more profit!

Posted online Jul 2009 - I'm really angry with the service provided by the agency now. Totally poor service and inefficient.  I got my maid from the Hougang Green outlet. After 7 months, i called the agency back to complaint about my current maid. The staff on the phone cut me off and asked:" So what do you want now?" So left with no choice, i said i wanted to change my maid.

To cut the long story short, i selected an Indo maid, made payment for the insurance and after waiting for 2 weeks, the agency called me and told me the maid was sick and so went back to her kampong. She can't come to Singapore.  Then again left with no choice, i got to select another maid again. But now while i'm selecting another maid, i requested a refund of my insurance payment and they told me the refund will need to take 3 weeks... their policy.

So my advice is don't use this agency. No service at all. The only service they provide is biodata for you to chose that all and they take your money real quickly and take forever to refund you.

Posted online Dec 2010i got a maid from Hougang Green, the first maid i send back to agent on 30-09-2010, untill 14-12-2010 they just inform me to collect the cheque for insurance refund, 2nd maid i send back to agent on 23-10-10 until today i still not receive the insurance refund, i call n ask they answer "not so fast must wait for at least one month"...

the 1st maid the ask me you want to buy a air ticket for her to go back to her hometown, due to i urgent need the replace maid so i buy for her a air ticket n agent charge me for s$188.oo, after one month later i saw this maid appear at their bio data, i call n ask n they derecognition.  i got a feeling this agencies is dishonest.

Posted online Feb 2011I'm totally agree as i'm also encouter a damn bad service from this maid agency (branch Elias) and they will not bother to entertain once they recv'd the payment fm us. And when we encounter problem with the maid, they will not help us to resolve n they will request us to resolve it by ourselves and also demand us to pay of all those unnecessary expenses incurred which suppose to be under their responsibility. I had made a complaint to AEAS but seem they are on their side and not helping us as consumer at all.

Posted online Mar 2012its been one week n i m not getting my maid WP...the ppl at katong branch are always busy...and even said that there are shortage of manpower so we have to wait...wat rubbish...!!!

Posted online Jun 2012 I've encountered the same problem at Bukit Timah Branch where the maid after 1 month with us and after going through care giver training to look after elderly person decided not to work. She couldn't take it coz missing the family at least thats what her reason to us. Mind you we paid for her training. After returning the maid to the agent, there is no update on my request for a replacement. Called them and would be informed that they will check and get back to me, but they never did. Twice asked me to call at certain days but only to find out that the girl that served us was on her off day.

If I terminate with the agency, it would be my fault and will have to pay some sum of money for early termination.  My mistake was to pay the loan on the maid in full. This is what we were treated once we at full. We are at their mercy. The more I see their ad featuring the media corp artist the more I felt like writing to these artists that they are helping this unreliable and irresponsible agency to make money but wash hands when problem surface.

18 Apr - How to get a good transfer maid?  No guaranteed way!
I am a honest person who believe we must be transparent, don't lie to get a job and treat my house/my girl as toy.  What my FDW need to do in my house, she has to know during face-to-face interviews.  My only mistake is I didn't ask FDW to write down her committment and what she understood, the job scope that I have illustrated and her expectations.  I learnt that this is a serious mistake, after having so many transfer maids.  You cannot trust a FDW!  Have black and white proof to safeguard your interests.  FDW will say 'OK' to everything that you said during interviews, how OK is OK, you'll know when she joined your household. 

My advice to employers looking for transfer maids, ask them to write in English, don't write for her and ask her to sign because she is very likely to say didn't see, don't understand or don't know what she has signed!  Also, she might get you mixed up with other prospective employer's requirements.  Even with a native agent to translate, my FDWs can still claim don't know .... this is extremely frustrating.  To me, they are liars!
There may be a lot of good employers but in order to protect themselves, they are labelled as BAD.  Bad doesn't mean the maid is abused or ill-treated by employer, it means maid didn't get the 'sweets' that she wanted eg a better life - short working hours, high salary, plenty official time-off during working hours at the expense of employers.  As long as you didn't give in or match maid's expectations, you're very likely to be tagged BAD or lousy employer.

Maid will ask you for a transfer or make you get frustrated/angry and kick her back to agent.  If she refused to change to fit your employment, it is likely she doesn't need a job, can afford to pay agency 1 to 2 months fee to transfer out.  It is hard to believe FDW doesn't know she need to pay agent fee.  Is there any agent who does a service for free?  If FDW need not pay transfer fee, does it mean agency encourages more of their FDWs to transfer so that FDWs can be recycled again and again, make more employers suffer and pay non-refundable high agency fee ranging from S$500 to 1600 per transfer maid?  If FDW really need not pay transfer fee, I suggest you run away from that agency.  FDW has nothing to lose, aren't you afraid she will partner with agency to make you kick her out after working short-term so that agency can fish for new clients (employers)?

It is unbelievable FDW doesn't know one month salary, eg S$500 is 16681 peso/3930023 rupiah/356153 kyat/21842 rupee.  If money is important, I am sure she knows how to count and try not to waste it.  By getting maid knows and understands how much her agent is charging her, I feel money will make a person open her eyes and stop being too princess.  If money wasted or going to be wasted can't make a maid change her working mentality, her stubbornness, eg my JA, sad to say, you're landing in the same mess as me!  Obviously, money is not that important or she can afford to waste her money and your time cum money. 

It is not that we are not trying to give FDWs a benefit of doubt, deny their chances to work but my experiences showed such FDWs are not worth giving chance.  In their heart, they could be laughing at you, nobody wanted them, they have not been given any interview yet you're willing to hire them.  Don't be as stupid as me.  Felt uneasy, go to another agency.  Don't be lazy to move your ass out and deny agent a chance to persuade you.  It is a chore to walk from one place to another and repeating your requirements.... what to do, I realised maid agencies hardly reply emails so you need to walk-in.

If an experience maid or somebody who has been transferred at least twice within a year, simply cannot hold on to a contract for one year, I would rather give her a miss.  Don't be too soft hearted to believe she wasn't given enough food, ah-ma doesn't like her, she worked long hours, made to work in 2 houses or the kids don't like her.

It is not true that maids are paid more in Hong Kong because what Sg employers paid for inexperience are higher than HK or Taiwan experience domestic helpers (DH).  Taking the new starting pay of filipino, S$500 with weekly off days and MOM levy of $170/265, Sg employers paid inexperienced filipino FDWs at least S$670 each month, excluding live-in expenses and initial agency fees such as insurance, SIP.  Our MOM ate part of their salary by insisting employers must pay monthly levy and cannot let the FDWs have it. 

Some employers suggested accummulating the monthly levy and give to FDW as bonus for successful completion of a 2-year contract but MOM refused.  What can we do, nothing!  How do we, the employers showed that we really paid a lot for FDWs, no way, MOM may tweak its policy if more voices are received!   Employers and FDWs in Spore, suggest you email MOM to feedback: mom_fmmd@mom.gov.sg or write in to Ministry of Manpower, 18 Havelock Road, Singapore 059764 with your real name and ID.  If you or your friend has really been treated like slave, do feedback to MOM, they would love to render help and make employers go thru a dreadful ordeal!!  If you want to cook up stories, fake you have been abused, work like a robot, be prepared to be punished or fined as well as have your picture uploaded, you will be famous!  If you want to fake or act, be a professional actress, do your role play and don't let the law catch you being naughty.

How will FDW be motivated and felt rewarded at the end of a 2-year contract .... well, all depends on individual employer.  Most will give 10% salary increment if FDW renews contract.  Some affordable (rich) employers, gave one month salary as bonus.  Those who chose to job hop will lose out on home leave entitlement.  Employers are not required by law to give FDW 15 days paid home leave and a return ticket to visit home, for FDW who failed to work exactly 2 years in the same household and renewing contract.

When you see bio-data of FDW who worked short-term in Hong Kong and decided to run back to Spore for better protection and benefits, you know she failed to survive in a land of dream.  By coming back to Spore, she has new loan to pay agents, she will be classified as ex-Sin and ex-HK experience maid, demanding higher salary!  She might not be a desirable domestic maid, she could remain as a stubborn person, unwilling to change to match the expectations of Sg, HK or Taiwan employers and hard to please, super fussy.  Such FDW need to be employed by a demanding employer, let her be awakened and realise what is 身在福中不知福! 

Based on past experience, do not hire FDWs classified as ex-Sin and ex-HK experience maid.  They are mostly uncooperative and stubborn, thinking too highly of themselves, will ask for lots of 'sweets'.  Imagine what kind of reaction a pampered child will show if you refuse to buy sweet or a toy.... it is similiar to an adult-insensible and beyond reasoning FDW.

There are good and bad people.  Nobody is perfect because we are human beings.  But to be a better human being (employee/FDW/DH), you can if you want to!  Don't give excuse to err is human rights!  You can change to fit the requirements of your employer if you need a job.  If your employer is not that bad, why can't you change your bad behaviour and working mentality?  Why insist on irritating your employers for more 'sweets'?? 

It makes both parties have a better life if both are clear on what you wanted.  It is hard to believe if you're a good worker but your employer treated you extremely nasty.  An employee should ask 'what have I done wrong', 'what have I contributed' and not 'What can my employer offer me to make me happy, motivated and work as FDW' or 'how to get my employer to agree to some expat/special benefits'.  Have open communication, talk to your FDW/employer.  If FDW remains incorrigible like my ex-Indo maid M, she has to go back to agency and waste 2 months salary in order to be recycled.  We, both are losers, agency earned our money!! They are the real winners!

Till date, I am still waiting for my refund (maid outstanding loan).  Agency at Katong Shopping Centre, specialiases in Indo maid (agency is near main entrance) said I just need to wait 3 weeks but already 4 weeks and cheque is still not ready.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~26 Mar - M failed to work well is partly due to agency's fault.  The agent just want to sell/recycle its FDWs, regardless whether fit employer's requirements or maid's ability.  Mentioned a few times to agent that he failed to source replacement maid based on my basic requirement, ie must be married, age 30 to 36 years old and above 1.52 cm tall.  He tend to provide biodatas of those single and shorties, around 1.45 cm.  Till the day I sent M back to agency, he didn't stop pointing his fingers to transfer maids sitting in his agency, who didn't meet my basic requirements.  Despite my correction, till now, he still changed my surname.... a point to show how insincere and unprofessional he is.

An agent who just wants to earn high agency fee and doesn't care about proper job matching ... all thanks to MOM's pro-agent policies (click).  I have not seen any maid agency being punished and returned all the rightful money to the employer.  MOM just want to shake legs and encourage agencies as well as FDWs to bully us, the employers, their ATM machines.  This agency is located in Katong Shopping Centre, near to level 1 entrance, specialises in Indonesian maid, no other nationalities.  Still waiting for a reasonable refund, if amount is too low, I'll provide its name to warn other employers.

26 Feb - I'm still trying very hard to find a replacement.  Having no personal mobile phone on working days is a NO-NO for transfer maids, I really need to find fresh maid hoping her demands will be lower and stay unpolluted in school.  Had been communicating with agencies who just email me bio data without looking at my requirement, eg age and height.  Some even got my family spelt wrong on purpose.  Realised the transfer maid quality is extremely bad these days, they have unrealistic demands.  Encountered a few instances whereby the agencies asked will a separate room be given.  I don't live in a big house with many guest rooms, of course I said no, she'll share the room with my girl, each having own single bed, side by side.

1 Feb - Few days ago, spoke to one agent about my phobia in getting Indonesian maids .... they are out of my wanted list, not going to hire any of them!  Agent said Indonesians are 'programmed' to do only one task, sound familiar?  OMG!  Either childcare, cook or housework, cannot make them be an all rounder.  That makes me saying a firm NO to hiring another Indonesian to drive me to my grave!

If Indonesian maids can't multi-task, why come to Spore? 

Who needs a maid full day  (at least 9 hours) to do housework?  I don't need!  Do you?
Who needs a maid full day to do childcare?  50% of M's time is for my girl!  The other 50% do what?  Let her watch TV or chat on her mobile?  Paid her so much to enjoy a good life .... better than mine? 

I really don't understand why agents like to push Indonesians.  Nobody wants?  Can earn more as agency fee?  More chances for them to be kickd out and recycled?

Last time people employed Indonesians because they are cheaper, willing to accept no handphone and most do not get monthly off days.  Now, it is not the case. 

Fresh Indonesian maids, including those on transfer (still within maid loan period) made employers fork out the most as agency money, English poor, capable of handling only one task, do things in slow motion and mostly stand at: 1.45cm to 1.50cm.  To employ shorties, you better not ask them do bamboo laundry.  If they fall out of your window, you will be in deep shit!  MOM, HDB and activists will not pity you.  Maids have to attend SIP course which is suppose to highlight about safety and working in Spore.  But how many really remember theory and put into proper use?  MOM penalises employer for bad things related to maid, this is a fact!

If modern maids have good working attitude and trainable, how nice would it be?

If MOM can read my blog and try to think of employers who are going thru the same agony as me, spare a thought for us, be kind to us when making policies, how smooth would my life be?


You shouldn't employ a fresh Indonesian maid (those who have not completed 1 year in Spore) if :
- you are a full time working woman like me,
- non-Malay/Bahasa speaking employer,
- have no time keep monitoring and reminding maid,
- not a tape recorder which can rewind and repeat instructions 不厌其烦,
- unable to mince words and explain in plain ABC (in order to send the right instructions),
- don't feel fine to have a 'forgetful' maid,
- no endless patience to give maid,
- too human, not a no feeling robot who doesn't scold, get angry or sad by what your maid did,
- lack loving and motherly kindness 爱心无法泛滥,
- maid has no childcare experience and you have a child/children for her to take charge,
- particular with food hygiene and cleanliness.  After I've employed Indonesian, shared my woes, people told me that is typical of Indonesians - low sense of hygiene, 'forgetful' and a 'slow worker'.  Are they 'programmed' to be such a worker in their agencies/training centres?

If you're an employer looking for maid, speak to her in English and don't just take 'Yes' and 'No' as answer.  Get the maid to say more.  If you're interviewing the maid  in simple English yet she kept looking at translator, depends on a translator or looked clueless, I suggest you say 'sayonara'.... if English is your only lauguage to communicate, think .... can you live with and train such a person?  Do you have tonnes of patience, time and loving-care?  I don't have!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~28 Jan 2013 -  many people heard of my situation with M, my Indonesian FDW.  Many advised that I should kick her out.  This week, I went shopping for FDW .... leisurely.

I didn't expect to be lectured by one agency.  This agency is located at Coronation Plaza, level 3 near escalator.  Can't remember its name, just remembered there was a mid-age man who seat in an inner partition, the outer office was handled by a mid-age local lady, a filipino woman and filipino man. 

I've printed my requirments on a piece of paper.  I feel that it is my duty to be honest, don't be a liar and create any misunderstanding.  It will make my life even more miserable to face an unprepared FDW, doesn't know what are her roles and how to work in such a house. 

That local lady used a stern tone and said I should not come up with any requirements, I should try to work with the FDW, learn to accept what she is and build a relationship (I'm just rephasing - these are not the exact words from her nasty mouth).  I was shocked to be lectured.  Next time, if any agency lectures me and wants me to be a liar, this will be my reply "by purposely creating a job mismatch, don't tell FDWs our requirements so that employers can send FDWs back, let you recycle and earn from more us, don't you feel sinful earning such money?" 

I don't mind agencies turning me down or FDW who showed (face expression and body language) my requirements are too harsh and doesn't accept employment.  I thank FDW who is honest and rejects my offer after reading my requirements, rather than M or my No.2.  Both accepted but were not truly keen to work for me.  Just trying their luck, I can't afford to have such irresponsible FDWs.

There was one Myanmar FDW whom I was really keen to hire, she looked so sweet and gladly accepted the challenge but she was too young and still single.  My first time to hire somebody young and single, that is M, leads me to miseries.  I was able to communicate with this FDW, she really made my eye ball dropped.... on appearance, she was the best FDW I've seen during my 'leisure maid shopping', so sad that I had to say no.  Hope I didn't miss a good catch.

Finished walking around Bt Timah maid hub, intend to do 'maid shopping' at Orchard maid hub.  My understanding, the operators or staff there are mostly filipinos, will they give me a hard time ..... worry, I am an employer, the person feeding the agency and FDW, why can't I set my requirements to have 2 years of less stress life with FDW?  Why the FDW market is made to employers' disadvantage and agencies/FDWs felt they are on the right track, did nothing wrong?  Are we just ATM machines?  We're also human, how come they don't need to respect and value us?  Having a good agency, acting on the best interest of FDWs really made me frighten.  Such rotten apples are very likely to teach their FDWs how to protect themselves, how to runaway when unhappy, how to manage their employers, how to bargain, etc.  They will not tell FDWs about Spore culture, what their employers really want, our lifestyle and how to work well as a domestic worker (not princess), re-emphasize how to hang bamboo laundry (work safely), etc.

16 Dec 2012 - I am only keen to employ transfer maid because I can see her in person, not thru bio-data or webcam.

To get a transfer maid, I went to two maid hubs.

First destination was Bt Timah Shopping centre.  I combed every agencies, distributed my 'flyer', stating my requirement.  Seek agencies to keep a lookout but none got back to me, till today not even one agency reverted.

Agency fee wasn't cheap but if I stick to filipino, the agency fee is about $500 to $700.  My preferred nationality was Philippines, Myanmar and India.

I was shocked the salary for fresh filipino has risen to $500 per month, a requirement set by Philippines embassy.  Philippines government asking lots of money from employers and their own citizens.  If Philippines so kind to provide salary of S$500/month to their citizens, why not keep their citizens and don't allow them to work in Spore? 

I should have sticked to filipino or other nationaltiies.  Indonesians should be an absolute NO because they can't eat pork.

I just wanted transfer maids but there was none who is willing to accept no using of personal mobile phone on working days.  Mobile phones are their lives, can't part with them.

I can't take the risk.

Allowing fdw to use mobile phone is like digging my own grave.  Once their phone ring or beeps, they will be distracted and lose her focus on my girl.  People who have the luxury of parents' help or childcare centres don't understand the risk I'm undertaking.  They felt I'm inhumane.  My girl is also human, I need to protect her as a mummy.  Who can understand my fears?  If something happens to my girl, Spore government will not help me.  Last year, a 12-year old disabled girl was thrown out of the window by her domestic maid, who helped to find justice and ease the sorrows of that family?  Some people felt that FDW was pathetic, she was under too much stress so her actions should be forgiven.  If that happen to your beloved child, I hope you can be extremely generous and forgiving.  If you're not a saint, don't advocate, 虚伪,假仁假义!

If I allow fdw to use after 'work', maybe 10pm, she may be too engrossed to chit-chat or go online and ended up doesn't get enough rest for the next day work.  I have seen these happening to other FDWs.  They promise they won't hog on their mobiles too long but most failed to keep their promises.  After repeated reminders, if her work performance is affected, some employers painfully chose to send fdw out.

2nd destination - Katong Shopping Centre

I managed to interview a few interested FDWs.  Finally shortlisted 2 FDWs who expressed great interest to work for me.  Arranged both to visit my house, take a look at my girl before I confirm one of them.

Myanmar - she couldn't read what I gave her in English.  Can't understand so how to communicate?  I'm a full-time working woman, I either sms, write or type my instructions.  If I can't communicate in simple English, how to employ her?  Told her I could only employ one fdw, it would be either her or the other, an Indonesian.  She didn't try to bond with my girl, she was seated in a corner so hubby asked me to sound her. Realised she thought Indo to take care of girl while she does housework.  She is out!

Indo - agency fee super expensive ....  $1288.... daylight robbery.  She's not my preferred nationality, can't eat pork and so expensive.  Briefed her, said ok, she's willing to work for me.  Hubby said she looked very pleasant to him.  No choice, don't want to comb another hub, kissed good bye to my cash and employed an Indo.  After employment, realised this agency didn't really read my requirements.  This Indo is unsuitable.

My other posts will be my agony to have an Indo fdw.