Besides being unnecessarily cruel, treating your maid in Singapore badly defeats the purpose of hiring one to save you time and money.
Despite harsher actions by the authorities, stories of maids being mistreated are distressingly common in Singapore, with 90 such cases filed in the State Court over the last 5 years.
Not only does this behaviour set a horrible example for the children; it can also cost you dearly.
1. A stressed-out maid gets less work done
If your helper is constantly scolded and feels unequal to the task, the eventual result is to “freeze up” out of fear of underperforming, or just give up.
When that happens, you’ll find you have to intervene in a wider range of chores. You’ll have to micromanage the laundry, cooking, sweeping, etc.
This micromanagement leads to more scolding, which leads to more stress, which leads to you having to micromanage even more. It’s an unhealthy cycle.
And all the while, you will be wasting hours barking out directions.
This runs contrary to your original intent, which is to hire a maid to save you time. Now you’re losing time, raising your own stress levels and paying money to do it.
Scolding, yelling, and other aggressive methods are counterproductive. You would panic just as bad if your boss behaved that way at work.
If you really think your helper can’t manage, you should politely request a change from the agency and leave it at that. There’s no need to behave like a drill sergeant.
2. Being debarred can mean a serious loss of income
If the Ministry of Manpower debars you under the Employment of Foreign Labour Act for mistreating your helper, you will not be able to hire a maid from anywhere. (If you try, you’ll be breaking the law and you can be further charged!)
The penalty period varies based on the severity of your offence, and it can last decades.
If you then have to take care of all your chores or your children, this could spell the end of your current income source.
It’s important to remember that, while you are the employer, you may be the one who is truly dependent on your helper.
3. Constant turnover wastes time and money
Constantly changing your helper could incur fees from the agencies (depending on the terms of the contract).
Furthermore, it costs time and money to constantly make new registrations, and look around for a replacement.
Also, every time you get a new helper, it takes a few weeks to train her and get her settled in.
4. Helpers who like working for you tend to come back
When their contracts expire, helpers may choose to work for someone else. But if they like working for you, odds are they will come back.
Now if you happen to have found a good one, look at the financial upsides of that.
You will not have to spend time and money looking for a replacement, and there is no risk of turnover (i.e. The replacement may not be suitable, causing you to again look for a replacement).
You will also not have to re-train the maid because she already knows what the family needs, as well as your schedule. She can jump straight to work helping you the moment the contract is renewed.
5. There are heavy fines and penalties for mistreatment
Penalties typically range from a few months to over two years, in addition to steep fines. This is not the worst of it. You will find it difficult to find new employment once you have jail time on your record, and your current employer will more than likely terminate your contract if you need to go to jail.
And of course, the court fees alone can come to several thousand dollars a day!
By Ryan Ong, SingSaver, 1 September 2016
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