Households have options for domestic help

Mr Eric Chen Yixiong suggested that domestic workers be employed by agencies instead of households ("Revamp how maids are employed"; last Wednesday).

Households can already hire domestic help through several companies that provide domestic helpers for part of the day. The companies are responsible for the management of these workers.

Other households need help on a full-time basis, such as to care for the young and the elderly. For these households, employing foreign domestic workers (FDWs) directly is the most practical option, and they should be responsible for them.

It will not be practical for someone else to manage the FDWs, given that they live and work with the households full time.

Employing an FDW is a serious commitment. Households should consider not just the financial cost, but also the time needed to train and supervise the FDWs, and the responsibility for their welfare.

Employment agencies also have an important role to play to find the best fit between FDWs and households.

Lee Pak Sing

Divisional Director

Workplace Policy and Strategy Division

Ministry of Manpower

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 20, 2016, with the headline Households have options for domestic help. Subscribe