Employers, maids need to compromise

Many domestic helpers do not get along well with their employers mainly because of cultural and social differences when they come to work in a foreign country.

Employers, too, have to accommodate a stranger in their homes to help take care of family members or do household chores.

There is a price, compromise and responsibility for both parties.

A family that hires a domestic helper does not experience bliss straight away. They need to train or retrain her for the tasks that need to be done.

There is little doubt that the Government is doing its utmost to reduce our reliance on foreign domestic workers, such as having more childcare and eldercare centres, and other facilities.

There is also the option to engage a part-time maid, though it may not bring about an improved situation or cost savings.

Meanwhile, it is a happy state of affairs to see live-in maids gathering for a banter with their compatriots while caring for their wards outside the house, or on weekends and public holidays.

More maids are also seen possessing mobile phones now.

This is good testimony that the current arrangement serves us well.

With improved communication and knowledge among these workers, those with grievances can turn to their embassies, the police or the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) for assistance.

The MOM is in a position to see the matter better and to carry out investigations impartially.

Perhaps it could also introduce a quota on the inflow of maids from the various source countries so that there is a better balance of nationalities working here.

Philip Sim Ah Tee