I refer to the Ministry of Manpower's response regarding the duties of maids (Tasks maids can or cannot do are quite clear; April 6).
While there may be rules in place, the question that needs to be asked is this: Do employers abide by them?
We see these rules, which MOM says are quite clear, being broken all the time:
•Foreign domestic workers (FDW) helping at food stalls.
•Employers getting their FDWs to clean up their parents' or children's homes.
•Owners of food stalls using their maids to cut vegetables or prepare other ingredients at home to take to the stall.
How do we control this misuse? Some helpers wake up in the wee hours of the morning and work until late at night.
Is there a limit to the number of hours a day that maids are supposed to work? Is this made known to both maids and employers?
Is it in the hiring contract that employers should give their FDWs half an hour to one hour of rest during the afternoon or can employers make them work long hours without rest?
I am also shocked by how small the designated maid's rooms in condominiums are. Other than the door, most of those I have seen have no other sources of ventilation.
I think there should be rules about the size of a maid's room.
Also, FDWs should be properly briefed in their language about the dos and don'ts, and given a copy of the contract as well as the phone number and address of a maid welfare organisation and MOM, so that they can contact them for help.
I hope more will be done for maids, so that they can enjoy a better life. They deserve much more than what they are getting presently.
Shamim Moledina (Ms)