Be Kind to Your Foreign Maid

whatever the contract says

Maids (local or foreign) are not covered by the Employment Act and hours of work are not defined. This is okay where the maid has the option of resigning to join another family if she feels she is overworked or poorly treated.

But a foreign maid does not have such an option. Some employers know that the maid may not transfer to another family without her current employer's consent. They thus do not feel any need to consider the grievances of their maids, the less sensitive ones.

But they should bear in mind that an unwilling worker is not a good worker. Some maids, if they are not particularly thoughtful, when they are unhappy or feel harassed, will not hesistate to abandon their employer and seek refuge with their embassy.

This is disruptive. The working mother with young children will have to take leave from work until the problem is ironed out.

So regardless of the terms of the contract, be kind to your maid. Be firm, be strict by all means. You do not have to put with up shoddy work, rudeness, laziness, etc. But do be kind.

If you have to reprimand her, you can be firm and yet kind. Shouting at a maid is usually counter-productive. Scolding her in front of your children creates more problems for you. The children will not respect her and may defy

her when she tries to do what you want her to: to see that they finish their meal or homework before spending an entire afternoon with eyes glued to the TV.