Live-out proposal a wake-up call for maid employers

Every country has a right to protect its citizens from mistreatment.

However, the proposal by the Indonesian government for maids to live separately from their employers will pose challenges ("Indonesia plans to stop sending new live-in maids abroad"; May 18).

For instance, if maids live outside their employers' homes, such as in a dormitory, they are likely to be exhausted from travelling every day.

Given that they will already be tired from the daily household chores, do we want to add further physical strain on them?

On top of that, costs are sure to go up.

With Myanmar discouraging its citizens from working as maids here, and the new proposal from Indonesia, surely this is a wake-up call for employers here to ensure that their helpers are not overworked and that their welfare is given priority.

A feedback mechanism can be put in place to check whether maids are happy or unhappy with their employers.

While some employers do not consider the physical and emotional needs of their maids, there are also families that treat their helpers very well - taking them out for meals and giving them a day off on Sundays.

There should be an option for domestic workers who are satisfied with their employers to live in their employers' homes ("Living with employer cuts costs" by Miss Dumiyati Sidup; yesterday).

In addition, perhaps female retirees here who are considering a second career could be trained as domestic helpers to support families, since the Government is trying to encourage women to get back into the workforce.

Raymond Anthony Fernando

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 26, 2016, with the headline 'Live-out proposal a wake-up call for maid employers'. Print Edition | Subscribe