"Expat Employers - Do You Make These Mistakes
in Employing a Maid?"
Maid Employment Evaluation Checklist
1. Ensure that the maid agency is duly licensed by
the Singapore Ministry of Manpower to operate. Under the Singapore government regulations,
only fully licensed and accredited Singapore maid agencies are allowed
to operate. That is to say the agency has to be licensed by the
Singapore Ministry of Manpower and accredited by the Consumers
Association of Singapore (or the Association of Employment Agencies).
The keyword here is "and" - it cannot be "either or". Update:
The MOM has since 1 April 2011 made accreditation non-compulsory.
Be sure to check their
licences and accreditation documents because
an illegal agency can give you more problems than you expect like
giving you an "illegal worker", and this means that you're breaking the
law by employing an illegal worker.
FACT:If you are looking for a maid through friends,
acquaintances or on your own, take a precautionary step by
making sure that the maid is legitimate and suitable for your
employment by getting a reputable maid agency to check the employment
history of the maid before you employ her. Sometimes, her history
will surprise you like what it did for some of our clients. (we can
help you with an employment history check if you are our processing
told us this shocking fact: In addition, some of our
clients who have found their maids through their friends or neighbours told
us that their privacy has been compromised because
their friend's maid has been "reporting" their daily lives to their
friends or neighbours, even though some of their friends or neighbours
were overseas. These processing clients subsequently came to us for
help to recruit a new helper. They told us that they
didn't like having a "spy" in their house, and that the maid did not
respect their rights and privacy.
clients had it worse: Some of our processing
clients were also unfortunate enough to have their friend's maid constantly
comparing them with their friends and "how fantastic" their friends
had treated them and how they have been "ill-treating" them now. Some
of them even have their friends calling them up to "stand up" for their
ex-maid! The feedback from these clients was that their
friend's maid expects more from them because they are their ex-boss'
friends, and the maid expects them to be "fuddy buddy" with them as
Do note that generally,
there are no guarantee, warranty or protection of any sort from the
agency for maid you found on your own because the agency wasn't able to
establish whether the maid is suitable for your employment and no
proper screening was done, and as such, they are unable to take any
risk on the girl.
that the maid agency is accredited by the Consumers Association of
Singapore for Good Business Practices. See point 1 above.
3. Ask to see the testimonials from the agency's
clients. Make sure that the maid agency has testimonials from real live satisfied customers.
This will mean that they are doing a good job because their customers
are willing to say good things about them in writing. Check that these
are real testimonials (by asking for the originals) because people can
easily invent them. Another way to check is to see whether the
testimonials provide details. Invented testimonials normally say very
general things like "they are a good agency, and they provide good
maids and good service." A reputable agency
with lots of real testimonials should be able to help you find the
helper of your choice so that the girl can help you take care of your
children and other household matters. Instead of trying to solve your
maid problems, you can finally live life your
4. Ensure that a match-point system
is in use to match the right helper to your family. The basic premise is that you and your helper both have
different needs and different personalities. Hence, if there is NO
match-point system to increase the chance of both of you getting along
by the proper matching of needs and personalities, you are more likely
to have a difficult time than have a good helper. After all, you do get
along better with people who are more like you, don't you? And, this is
what a match-point system is for - to get you and your helper to
"click" as closely as possible.
5. Find out whether there is a guarantee with a reasonable
time period, should your helper not work out with you. Despite the best match making
services in the world, loving couples do get divorced due to changes in
their lives. The same thing happens in working relationship in offices
and at home. As such, there should be a reasonable guarantee period for
1 or more free replacements should the helper not work out for you. 6
months should be reasonable since the typical office probation period
is 3 months. (Replacement here means redeploying a new helper to take
over the position of the previous helper.)
6. Check whether there
are any hidden fees. There are
some agencies charging ridiculously low fees like $0 or $88. Generally,
there are hidden fees not mentioned in their advertisements. Do ask
what other fees there are. In addition, be aware that you get what you
pay for because an agency desperate in undercutting prices is probably
in some sort of financial trouble, and may not be around to help you
when you need help. A healthy agency will charge a reasonable fee
because to provide good customer service to you, they must be able to
pay their staff well.
7. Ensure that a family
satisfaction program is in place so as to ensure after sales
service. What this means is that,
should you or any of your family members is dissatisfied with the
helper's performance in any way, just give the agency a call, and they
will be more than happy to make you satisfied again. In addition, an
agency with a family satisfaction program in place will do periodic
follow-up phone calls with you to ensure that everything is working out
well for you and your helper.
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