These three questions are top of mind for families looking to hire a helper. 121 Personnel has the answers.
1. Is it a good idea to find a domestic helper and handle the paperwork on my own?
If you can find a helper who is highly recommended by a trusted friend, it may be a good idea to employ that helper. However, there have been cases where the friend over-sold the helper’s skills just to be rid of her. There is also the possibility that the helper may fit in with your friend’s family but not with yours. Still, it is a good idea to give the recommended helper a chance to work with your family and see how it goes. If it works out, great! If it doesn’t, at least both of you gave it a shot. If you’d like to save on agency fees, then filing the application on your own is fine.
However, there is a lot that needs to be done before the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) approves the application, such as getting written consent from the helper’s current employer and ensuring that she has undergone a medical examination. Detailed instructions, employer guidelines and the necessary application forms can be downloaded from the MOM website at www.mom.gov.sg.
2. Where do maid agencies find their helpers? And how will I know if they’re good?
Many maid agencies have their own international partners who supply to various countries as well as to agencies in Singapore. Some agencies source their helpers locally. These helpers are generally trained in the overseas centres.
Whether the helper is “good” is dependent upon her experience, and whether her character matches your needs and requirements. Even so, you will still need to train your helper once she’s working with you, so she will know exactly how you want things done. For example, many helpers are social media-savvy and have smartphones. And while you cannot prohibit your helper from using these, you can talk to her about her usage so her work is not affected.
3. How do I identify if a helper is right for my family?
This is a tough question to answer. Hiring a helper is often similar to a marriage: If it doesn’t work out, then it doesn’t work out. But there are things you can do to help increase the “click” factor between you and your helper. Firstly, interview the helper in person: Ask about her character, her hobbies and what she does on her days off. Ask her also what a typical work day is like with her current employer. Her answers should give you a good idea of whether she’s the right fit for your family.
Additionally, let her know what her job scope will be if she is hired, and what will be expected of her in your home, so that she can decide if this is what she’s really looking for. Ask her about her expectations for the new job – salary, curfew time and how she wants issues to be resolved – and share your house rules with her. It’s important to keep the channels of communication open always, so you won’t have any misunderstandings.
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