Foreign Domestic Workers make an important input to the economy. Society considered them essential. They have played an important role in the lives of many families. Domestic workers leave their loved ones and homelands to take care of other people. Because these women put their lives on hold, both their employer’s family and their own can move on.
Singapore is common place for middle-class families to hire a domestic worker from maid agency to help run the household chores. However, being in a new place where everything is different; language, food, culture and people; adjustment may be difficult to manage. Singapore is a busy and fast-paced country. Everybody moves and work fast. Time is precious and valuable to them. Yet, maids, growing up in their home country were not brought up the way they were.
It’s undeniable that maids experience obstacles at work. Singaporeans speak fast and abrupt, maids may have problems conversing with them. They are straightforward individuals. If something has been done wrong, they rather confront the issue than ignores it. Most maids are not comfortable with honest confrontations. They might feel scared and embarrassed which more often than not they opt to justify rather than admitting the mistakes done. Often, they will also choose to run away from the problem by asking for a transfer or to quit.
Food is a sensitive subject to bring up. The fridge may be well-stocked, but not accessible to the maid. Employers should provide “sufficient food”. But it is debatable how much is “sufficient “. How can they perform well if they are hungry? Employers have to be more sensitive to the needs of the maid first and give them time to adjust, instead of saying, “This is Singapore, get used to it “. Maids need to be physically fed for them to run the household chores and function well. Employers are responsible of their maid’s well – being.
Some employers willfully withhold the payment of their workers’ salaries which is against under Employment Act . Few experienced long hours of work and has given no off days. Invasion of privacy, restriction on communication with family in home country are one of the maids struggles. There were cases of physical abuse; most commonly by someone throwing objects, verbal abuse like ” you are stupid”, “you’re not a good helper” or “you got no brain”. Maids deserve to have adequate rest or sleep. Making them sleep in the corridor or living room is an improper accommodation. Over time, such treatment has an apparent effect to the maids total well – being.