We thank Mr Francis Cheng for his letter (Have separate tiers for household, caregiver maids; May 8).
Many employers hire foreign domestic workers to assist families with day-to-day duties such as household chores and caregiving.
Differentiating domestic workers 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 domestic worker for household and caregiving needs.
A more practical approach is for employers to ensure that domestic workers tasked with additional caregiving duties are adequately trained, can manage the assigned duties and are not overworked.
They should ensure that their domestic workers have the necessary skills to perform specific caregiving tasks.
Today, employers can already pay more to hire domestic workers who are specifically trained to provide caregiving duties, or send them for caregiver training with grants provided by the Government.
We agree that employers who require their domestic workers to undertake caregiving duties should say so clearly upfront and give them an opportunity to voice their concerns, if any.
In fact, most employment agencies already require employers to state the expected job scope to facilitate matching.
At the same time, domestic workers 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. Foreign domestic workers 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 for further clarification. They may also call the MOM FDW Helpline on 1800 339 5505.
Lee Pak Sing
Divisional Director, Workplace Policy And Strategy Division
Ministry of Manpower