As working women, our lives are highly dependent on helpers/maid. Most of the helpers(FDW) hired are not fully trained. Helpers/FDW from Indonesia and Philippines get some training in their own country (based on my conversations from my own helper) but helpers from other countries don’t even get the basic training. From example- Fresh helpers coming in from North India are not trained. Most of the times, they don’t even know what they are supposed to do because agents who have lured them, don’t give them much idea about the work.
I have had my share of troubles with the helpers/maids. But still, we managed to complete the contract with our helpers(FDW).
Here are few tips when you are looking to hire a helper:-
1) Avoid agents/middlemen if possible:
Unless you are in desperate need, take your time to look for helpers on your own. The best source of finding for a helper contact would be Facebook groups. Post your requirements in various groups and someone will definitely respond to the message. Either they would know the helper or at least their helper would know someone who would be keen to work. It is much better to use your network. That would save around $1500 -$2000 that agents usually charge.
The only advantage of going through the agent is because agents offer you replacements with some replacement fee but that cost is also not low. Also, it also lowers your intent to adjust with the helper because, at the back of your mind, you still have the option to change her.
2) Direct apply for the maid’s visa:
The direct hire procedure is very simple. One doesn’t need a middleman to do the process. One can go to MOM website, log in from your sing Pass, fill the details of the helper and follow the instructions. After submitting the form, it takes 2-5 working days for approval. Download the form I,e IPA letter and send it to your maid(waiting in her hometown). While maid is coming to Singapore, she must have three things with her – IPA letter, Insurance paper, and her passport. For Insurance, one can call up, NTUC agent and request for Insurance.(Get the call-in numbers online). The process is ultra simple and takes a couple of hours to get the insurance.
3) Maid’s SIP:
As soon as the helper/FDW comes in, within two working days she has to go for SIP (Settling In Program). Again, search for SIP training and register online. Ideally, this should be done before helper lands in Singapore because getting last minute slot could be difficult. There are two centers where this training is conducted. Whichever center is closer to your house, please take the helper to that location. Please make sure that your helper has minimum 8 years of qualifications else she won’t allow the helper to appear in the training program. There are some fees attached to it which employer has to pay. Also, SIP training is only for first-time helpers. Helpers those who have already worked here for few months/years are exempted from this training.
If you the first time employer, you have to go for Employers’ Orientation Programme (EOP). This is a 3hour online program that will help understand your role and responsibilities as an employer of a foreign domestic worker (FDW).And this is a mandatory training.
4) Hire experienced FDW:
I would suggest one should look for experienced maid compared to new maids. As in both the cases, there is advantages/disadvantages but the cost of training the new maid is high. Also, first few months are very tough for the new helpers as they are homesick, strange to live in someone else’s house, no friends etc. On top of that employer’s are trying hard to train her so that she is up to the speed. Because of this situation, there are higher chances that helpers leave within six months. All the time, effort and money are wasted. Alternatively, with an experienced helper, challenges are different. She is already aware of the environment, has some friends around, knows the kind of work she is supposed to do etc. So, it is a lot easier to train her. As long as you have clear set of house rules and she understands her work, chances are the helper will adjust in the family faster.
5) Background Check:
In case you have decided to go with an experienced helper, you must ask for last employer’s contact. Some helpers have a genuine reason to quit but most of them fool around for no reason. They work for few months and then start looking for change for a higher salary or because of her own bad behavior. Most of the employers don’t do this as of now. And because of that, hiring is just an estimated guess. If you do talk to the last employer, most of the times, if the helper hasn’t completed the contract, they will talk ill about her but use your wisdom to make a decision. The challenges in the new house may not be same for the maid. This should be a trend moving forward in order to filter the bad helpers.
6) Interviewing the helpers:
This is very crucial part of maid hiring process. While interviewing, employers generally gave them an overview of the tasks that needs to be done. For example – you will have to take care of cooking, cleaning, taking care of kids etc. generally, most of the interviews last for less than 30mins. And that seems to be a problem. When you have almost finalized the helper, give the details of the work that she has to do, let her know the basic house rules, where she will sleep, what would be her sleeping hours, how big is the house etc? She should have some idea of what she is getting into so that there are no shocks/surprises when she comes to your house. In case you are looking for tips on questions to ask- check this out
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