How can employers take care of the well-being of their maids in Singapore

The educational level of the maids in Singapore is higher now than before and they are more aware and more informed of their rights while working in a foreign country. The needs and the expectations of the Singapore maids are changing, but some employers seem to be entrenched in the past.

A maid going about her daily household chores

The employers here should change their mindset as the maids in Singapore also want an enriching time for themselves while working here. A balance has to be worked out between employers' expectations and the needs of their maids in Singapore.

Some maids undergoing training and briefing

Apart from looking after their own interests, employers should also consider how they can take care of the well-being of their Singapore maid and make working in Singapore more enjoyable and pleasant for their Singapore maids.

Firstly, as an employer, you are responsible for the health and well-being of your Singapore maid such as providing for rest days, proper accommodation, adequate medical care and safe work conditions.

1) Rest days - To ensure that your Singapore maid gets enough mental and physical rest time, you should allow her to have a regular rest day.

If your Singapore maid agrees to work on her rest day, you should compensate her with one of the following:

a) At least 1 day’s salary.

b) A replacement rest day taken within the same month.

2) Facing initial difficulties – Some new maids in Singapore come from a rural area and may encounter some of these difficulties:

a) Understanding and communicating in your language.

b) Using modern household appliances.

c) Adjusting to living in high-rise buildings.

d) Having different practices in taking care of children.

She will need time to familiarise herself with your way of life. You can help by taking time to orientate and train her, especially in the early stages of her employment.

Learning and helping to prepare good food for the family

3) Accommodation - You need to ensure that the accommodation of your maid in Singapore meets the following requirements:

a) Adequate shelter: The accommodation must adequately protect her from environmental elements such as sun, rain or strong winds.

b) Basic amenities: you must minimally provide with a mattress, pillow, blanket and bathroom amenities.

c) Sufficient ventilation: her accommodation must be sufficiently ventilated. (e.g. electrical fan) should be provided if natural ventilation is inadequate.

d) Safety: She should not sleep near any dangerous equipment or structure that could potentially cause harm or hurt to her.

e) Modesty: Must not sleep in the same room with a male adult or teenager

f) Space and privacy: Ensure that her accommodation has adequate space and privacy.

4) Adequate food - Must provide 3 meals a day. Be sensitive to your Singapore maid’s needs when it comes to food. Do not force her to eat food that she is not supposed to or is not comfortable with. For example, she may not be able to eat certain food due to her religious beliefs, or she may not be accustomed to your family’s dietary requirements (e.g. vegetarian food or porridge).

5) Medical care - You are responsible for her medical needs. You need to bear the full cost of any medical care, including hospitalisation, and provide the maids in Singapore with medical and personal accident insurance.

6) Open communication – She may experience homesickness and loneliness. You can help her cope with those feelings by teaching her how she could contact her family and how she could send letters home.

7) Family integration - Try your best to integrate her into your family. You can do that by being patient and tolerant and making an effort to understand the Singapore maid’s background.

8) Safe work conditions - You must ensure that the maid in Singapore works safely.