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FDW in alternative caregiving arrangement allowed to perform some domestic chores

  • Lianhe Zaobao (3 Aug 2020): "Suggestion on amending regulations concerning maids"

FDW in alternative caregiving arrangement allowed to perform some domestic chores - Lianhe Zaobao, 14 Aug 2020

  1. We refer to the letter by Ms Fan Gaoying “修改女佣条例的建议” (3 Jun) in Lianhe Zaobao.
  2. Employers who prefer to have their foreign domestic workers (FDWs) look after their children or aged parents at a relative’s home can do so. They will need to ensure that their FDWs agree to the caregiving arrangement. Employers must notify the Ministry of Manpower of any alternative caregiving arrangements.
  3. The employer must ensure that the FDWs do not perform the full load of domestic chores in both households. We strongly encourage employers and their FDWs to work out a mutually agreed job scope at the second household, to avoid any misunderstanding or dispute.

    Jeanette Har (Ms)
    Director, Well Being Department
    Ministry of Manpower

Suggestion on amending regulations concerning maids - Lianhe Zaobao, 3 Aug 2020

Translated article:

In a family where both parents have to leave home to work and no one to take care of the children, they will typically hire a foreign domestic helper (FDW). But parents are also a little worried about leaving only their FDW and young children at home.

The FDW has to leave her hometown and may get homesick or become emotional because of other matters. Children are young, ignorant, rowdy and playful and may also get into disputes with the FDW at times. If the FDW does not know how to control her temper, she could vent her anger on the child. Hence we sometimes read about incidents of FDWs abusing their charges.

Some working parents send their children and FDWs to the grandparents’ homes so that their parents and children can spend time together and ensure that the children are taken care of. However, this can be problematic. According to the FDW regulations, FDWs can only work in one household. When children are sent to the grandparents' homes, does it mean that the FDW can only watch the children play while the grandparents have to take care of the FDW's meals, clean up the children's play area? The grandparents are already old. Wouldn’t this add to their burden? Is this fair to them then?

Therefore, no matter in which household, FDW should be allowed to cook as long as the FDW and her charge need to have their meals. If the employer returns home in the afternoon, then the FDW is only responsible for the next meal of the employer’s family, and not the grandparents’.

The FDW should also clean up areas in the house used by the children, at the grandparents' house. We cannot follow regulations blindly. Of course, we also cannot let the FDW to work in two households without rest. This aspect should be handled flexibly.

What we want is a pro-family environment, not a society that blindly obeys the rules. I wonder how the Ministry of Manpower could amend the rules relating to FDWs to make them more flexible.

Fan Gaoying