Employers need to learn how to treat maids as employees

There have been many cases of maid ill treatment, and maids becoming highly distressed and depressed, leading to several of them killing their employers.

Expectation of a maid's performance and the lack of communication with the maid appear to be among the common causes of employer-maid conflicts.

Employers, as " managers", who hold the authority to hire and fire, and to whom maids are beholden, play a very important role in order for an employer-maid working relationship to be successful.

While maids are usually trained by a maid agency mainly on household chores and looking after the elderly, children and infants, employers are not trained in effective management of maids.

The employer of a maid has to be trained on how to manage a maid, provide for the maid's welfare and a proper and safe work and living environment, as well as how to avoid overloading a maid beyond her job scope. Employers also need to be trained on how to respect, motivate and reward a maid for her good work.

All this is no different from managing staff in an office.

The Ministry of Manpower should make it compulsory for all existing and new employers of maids to attend a full-day training session on the successful management of maids. This should include dos and don'ts, and highlight the penalties for various types of abuse.

This could help reduce conflicts with maids and improve the employer-maid working relationship.

Aaron Ang Chin Guan