Maid Takes Advantage Of Employer, Does Less Work But Charges For Full

Sameer C
·7-min read

Finding a maid that can truly extend a helping hand can sometimes feel like a distant dream. For most working families in Singapore, a maid that solves all your problems of managing the house can be like finding a needle in a haystack. We’ve all either heard or experienced so many stories about bad maid employment that nothing hardly surprises us anymore.

However, a recent Singaporean shared her maid ordeal online describing a dilemma that has the Internet divided. For a change, we have an employer questioning how much work is too much work for maids.

“At this point, we feel like she’s taking advantage”

maid employment
maid employment

Image courtesy: iStock

A user with the handle name Cornishqween wrote, “We have a large house, have hired a cleaner to help with kitchen, family room, hallway, downstairs loo and small sitting room.

She’s on her 4th clean with us so far and I’ve had some issues that I’m not sure we can work through.

Firstly she is supposed to do two hours, but the time she spends her has gotten less and less. The second clean was 15 mins less and this week she left half an hour early. I’m still being charged for two hours [of] work.

This causes problems because there are things she doesn’t do that we specifically requested her to do. She doesn’t wipe the dining table over and leaves it covered in crumbs etc. When she wipes sides down in the kitchen they are covered in smears so look dirtier than when she starts. She mops but then walks all over the wet floors which then looks terrible when it’s dry.

She also leaves stuff here every single week. Two weeks in a row she left her cleaning products here, and this week it’s a baseball cap. The toilet is never properly cleaned (I.e with bleach down it using a scrubber) she just wipes the actual top of the lid.

I have cameras and took a look to see what she’s been getting up to and I watched her clean the table – she barely showed the cloth before walking off.

I came home today to find the front room had attempted to be hoovered but with fluff and things still all over the floor. At this point, we feel like she’s taking advantage. That’s when she does turn up, so far she’s missed a clean and we had to rearrange two other appointments because she’d made plans with her child to take her on a day out and the other one she couldn’t get childcare for. This isn’t normal, is it?”

The Dilemma Of Maid Employment

The user has been apprehensive about the work ethic of the maid ever since she has been reporting for work. To add to the misery, there’s video evidence of the maid’s lethargy at work. This bundled up with the lie of working overtime isn’t going well with the employers.

More often than not, such instances usually end up in a hire and fire situation where the maid loses her job. However, the employer is at least considerate enough to share her concerns and seek an opinion on what needs to be done next.

What Do The Netizens Say?

The forum has seen a number of responses and has quite a divided opinion on the issue.

While several users have commented that the employer should voice her concerns with the maid and give her a second chance. There are those who believe this is enough reason to fire her.

However, what most users agree upon is that recording without permission is not cool.

One user wrote, “It’s not normal, she’s sh*t. Sack and find another.” Another user commented, “If it’s not working out then get rid of her. Does she know she is being recorded? Why do you have a camera pointed at your table?”

One user sided with the employer and wrote, “You aren’t expecting too much at all and she clearly isn’t delivering so as others have said you just need to tell her politely that you won’t be requiring her services again.”

Cameras Recording The Maid: Is This Ethical?

maid employment
maid employment

Image courtesy: Pexels

The employer clarified that the cameras are there to monitor the baby and are only active when they detect movement. She also said that the maid was aware of its presence in the house.

She wrote, “Ok so the cameras… I have a child with SEN and keep them in the house because it’s very large and I’m terrified when I leave the room my other child will get hurt. They aren’t on constantly they just pick up movement. I look at them if I need to go upstairs so I know what his mood is. They do record, but when she first came I deliberately pointed them out to her and asked her if she was ok with this, I only checked them last week and this week as I began not to trust what she was telling me.

Today she [has] done an hour and a half (which thankfully the cameras picked up) and has now text me stating she did extra (2.5 hours) and I need to pay her extra.”

The user further elaborated that she got back the keys to her home. However, she is yet to pay her for the remaining days and ask her to not come back. Moreover, she still has some items left over.

Is It Unfair To Take Sides?

maid employment
maid employment

Image Source: Pexels

While it may seem harsh to fire the maid, it’s only fair to do so when the services aren’t up to the mark. However, since we don’t know the other side of the story, it’s unfair to take sides.

We understand that everyone wants their money’s worth, especially when it comes to services. Do remember to extend the same respect and regard to your maid, as you would expect from them. This particularly holds true amidst the pandemic where jobs are hard to come by and are a necessity.

Maid Employment Laws In Singapore

Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has set up certain laws for maids that offer an outline of the kind of work they are allowed to do.

1. For instance, maids cannot work for another employer even part-time, while being employed by you. This cannot happen even if the maid has extra time on her hands and wants to supplement her income.

2. MOM also forbids maids from doing tasks beyond the household and care work. Not only for outsiders but they cannot work for her sponsoring employer either. Moreover, if the maid is found involved in part-time or non-domestic work, the employer will be held responsible for the same and will be blacklisted from hiring another domestic worker.

3. The Singaporean law clearly states that duties including gardening, car wash and repair, and tutoring are not domestic work. Therefore, your maid cannot carry out these tasks.

4. A maid cannot cook for her employer’s food business. She cannot work in a food stall or her employer’s shop either, which are considered commercial jobs. Not only will the authorities fine the employer but the maid will lose her deposit as well.

Maid Employment: Increased Insurance Cover & Contract

The Ministry of Manpower announced earlier this year that all incoming foreign domestic workers will need to have insurance coverage against COVID-19. The guidelines suggest that the insurance must cover at least $10,000 for medical expenses if the FDW develops symptoms or tests positive within 14 days of arrival in Singapore.

Moreover, the maid agencies and the employers will have to bear the cost of the FDW during the COVID-19 stay-home notices, so you cannot ask the maid to pay for the COVID tests.

The Ministry has also advised employers to sign an employment contract with their respective FDWs. The contract encourages employers to cover the following:

  • Salary

  • Placement loan

  • Number of rest days per month

  • Notice period

  • Compensation in case of termination

Another issue that often clouds maid performance is abuse. Beware of such incidents.

If you happen to know of a victim of maid abuse in Singapore, you must contact the Foreign Domestic Workers (FDW) helpline at 1800 339 5505. A Ministry of Manpower (MOM) officer will help you in taking the case forward.


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