It is time for the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to introduce a tiered system for the hiring of domestic helpers (Maid jailed 4 months for hurting woman with Parkinson's; May 4).
We must differentiate between a domestic helper whose duties are solely household chores and one whose primary duty is that of a caregiver.
A family which wishes to hire a maid as a caregiver should state so clearly in its application - whether it is for the care of the elderly, children or those with disabilities (physical or mental) - and only maids who have undergone training and are certified by MOM may be allowed to take on such roles.
Because caregiving jobs are more demanding, employers must be prepared to pay more.
In the report, it was stated that the maid was aged 24, while her charge was a 72-year-old woman. The former is young, perhaps more impatient, and likely without experience in such caregiving, while the latter is weak, unable to speak and struggles to walk.
Such a wide age gap and the heavy responsibility required of the maid are bound to create problems. Perhaps MOM should also make it a requirement that such caregivers be at least 30 years old.
An alternative for those who need help in caring for their male loved ones is to hire male domestic workers trained in caregiving (Maid agency hiring male caregivers; Jan 28, 2013).