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Employers should ensure FDWs are trained for the tasks required

  • ST (18 May 2017): Employers should ensure FDWs are trained for the tasks required
  • ST (8 May 2017): Have separate tiers for household, caregiver maids

Employers should ensure FDWs are trained for the tasks required

– ST, 18 May 2017

  1. We refer to the letter (“Have separate tiers for household, caregiver maids”, 8 May).
  2. Many employers hire foreign domestic employers (FDWs) to assist families with day-to-day duties such as household chores and caregiving. Differentiating FDWs using a tiered system based on their duties will, in the worst case, mean that an employer may have to separate the duties of the FDWs for household and caregiving needs.
  3. A more practical approach is for employers to ensure that FDWs tasked with additional caregiving duties are adequately trained, can manage the assigned duties and are not overworked. They should ensure that their FDWs have the necessary skills to perform specific caregiving tasks. Today, employers can already pay more to hire FDWs who are specifically trained to provide caregiving duties or send them for caregiver training with grants provided by the government.
  4. We agree with the writer that employers who require their FDWs to undertake caregiving duties should say so clearly upfront and give their FDW an opportunity to voice their concerns, if any. In fact, most employment agencies already require employers to state the expected FDW job scope to facilitate matching.
  5. At the same time, FDWs who are given caregiving duties should appreciate that they are in a position of trust, and are expected to treat their charges with care and respect. They are reminded of their rights and obligations during the mandatory Settling-In-Programme. FDWs who are unsure of the tasks they have been asked to perform have been told to approach their employment agencies, or the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), for further clarification. They may also call the MOM FDW Helpline at 1800 339 5505.

Have separate tiers for household, caregiver maids

– ST, 8 May 2017

  1. It is time for the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to introduce a tiered system for the hiring of domestic helpers (Maid jailed 4 months for hurting woman with Parkinson's; May 4).
  2. We must differentiate between a domestic helper whose duties are solely household chores and one whose primary duty is that of a caregiver.
  3. A family which wishes to hire a maid as a caregiver should state so clearly in its application - whether it is for the care of the elderly, children or those with disabilities (physical or mental) - and only maids who have undergone training and are certified by MOM may be allowed to take on such roles.
  4. Because caregiving jobs are more demanding, employers must be prepared to pay more.
  5. In the report, it was stated that the maid was aged 24, while her charge was a 72-year-old woman. The former is young, perhaps more impatient, and likely without experience in such caregiving, while the latter is weak, unable to speak and struggles to walk.
  6. Such a wide age gap and the heavy responsibility required of the maid are bound to create problems. Perhaps MOM should also make it a requirement that such caregivers be at least 30 years old.
  7. An alternative for those who need help in caring for their male loved ones is to hire male domestic workers trained in caregiving (Maid agency hiring male caregivers; Jan 28, 2013).