Singapore maids – if you have a maid at home, you may have this dilemma, especially in Singapore: you have a difficult time when you employ a maid, and you also have a difficult time when you don’t employ a maid.
Firstly, understand that a maid in Singapore is what is commonly called an “ah-mah” or a domestic helper or a nanny. Given the fast pace of life here in Singapore, the help of a nanny or domestic helper is almost a need, rather than a want.
For the many expatriates in Singapore, it is important to have a Singapore maid to help with the household chores at home. Many of these maids come from places like the Philippines and Indonesia. Other countries of origin include Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. At the point of writing, there are about 150,000 maids working in Singapore.
If you were like many employers of maids in Singapore, you probably don’t have a very good experience with them. But, due to necessity, you will just have to make do with them. Here’s why…
If you have a maid who doesn’t follow your instructions or is plain dumb, you will virtually “vomit blood” in teaching her to follow simple instructions. Most of these problems stamp from miscommunication between the employer and the maid, and in most cases, it is due to the maid’s inability to communicate in English.
Due to the maid’s inability to perform, some employers decided not to employ a maid. But then, they realized that the pace of life is too fast for them. Having to juggle work and take care of the children and their elderly parents at the same time is simply too much to handle.
It is indeed a painful problem waiting for a solution! While I don’t profess to have the perfect solution, here’s some information for your consideration.
Understand that there are fundamentally two categories of Singapore maids – new and transfer.
New maids are maids who have never worked in Singapore before. With the new regulations by the Singapore Ministry of Manpower, new maids have to have a minimum of 8 years of formal education and must be 23 years old and above. They must also pass a written test in English and a medical examination before they can work in Singapore.
Transfer maids are maids who are currently working in Singapore. They are transferring from one employer to another employer for various reasons (employers are leaving Singapore, they want a change of environment, etc. ). They are typically more experienced and some of them may have worked in Singapore for as long as 15 years!
Here’s one of the key difference between new Singapore maids and transfer Singapore maids.
Typical new Singapore maids are generally stationed at the Singapore maid agency’s overseas training center (be it in the Philippines or Indonesia or some other countries), and you generally cannot interview them. You can only go through their bio-data and “try your luck”. However, there are some agencies which may allow you to have a chat with them via the telephone or Internet webcam. While doing so, please bear in mind that their teacher may be beside them and teaching them how to reply to your questions.
As for the transfer Singapore maids, you can typically interview them face to face. Some Singapore maid agencies will even encourage you to talk to their ex-employers so that you can make an informed decision.
At the end of the day, getting the right Singapore maid for your family depends on your needs. New Singapore maids are typically harder to teach since they are inexperienced. However, they are likely to be less demanding in terms of their employment package, and they generally don’t have day offs. Nevertheless, a new legislation has been passed such that they must be given a minimum of 1 day off or they must be compensated for it.
Transfer Singapore maids are likely to be easier to teach since they have experience. However, just like any experienced professionals, they would tend to want to have all Sundays off and a higher monthly salary. Some of them may be harder to “tame” since they are experienced.
At the end of the day, getting the best Singapore maid for your family boils down to taking the effort to evaluate the maid and matching her to your needs.
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