Get maids involved in ratings for agencies

The introduction of ratings for maid agencies is a welcome move ("Ratings for maid agencies now available"; last Thursday).

Employment agencies are the first point of contact for foreign domestic workers and employers.

The services the agencies render in selection, placement, orientation, training and, more importantly, in managing the expectations of the employers and foreign domestic workers, are key in determining the success of the matching.

Hence, the rating would be a useful indicator to measure the quality of service and the performance of the agencies.

It then follows that the rating needs to be accurate, and reflect feedback that is as fair as possible.

So, for a start, employers must be informed of this rating process at the point of employing the foreign domestic workers.

Second, we agree that ratings should be administered three months after the foreign domestic worker is engaged, as it gives the employer time to gauge the after-service performance of the agency.

At the same time, employers would be able to take into account the manner in which the agency has serviced their domestic helper in considering the ratings.

One area which the rating should cover is whether the agency has put in effort to ensure that the new foreign domestic workers are made aware of the different channels where they can seek help when the need arises.

Hence, for completeness, we hope that the authorities will consider involving the foreign domestic workers in the ratings, as they are also using the service of the agencies.

Over time, this rating initiative would go a long way towards helping the agencies better understand the processes and service areas needing improvement so they can level up their services to reduce the number of instances of unsuccessful matching.

Seah Seng Choon

President

Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (Fast)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 12, 2016, with the headline 'Get maids involved in ratings for agencies'. Print Edition | Subscribe