Maids not a privilege for many

Many of us who employ domestic helpers do so out of necessity and not because we think it a privilege.

So, Mr Tay Qi Hang's letter (Maids should be given privileges as stated by MOM; Forum Online, July 18) is surprising.

Eldercare and childcare costs can be prohibitively expensive, and even if you wanted to pay, these agencies may not have the resources to help you.

Has Mr Tay seen families where an elderly child has to look after an even older parent? Has he seen single parents struggling without family support?

Many are torn between earning an income or staying home to provide care. The lack of options can be extremely stressful.

It is an insult to many a helpless household to say that hiring domestic help is a privilege.

I agree completely that maids should be protected under the Employment Act and enjoy equal rights as any other worker.

But I would like to know how a family might cope with a loss of necessary help.

Social safety nets have to be in place first.

Otherwise, it is not an exaggeration to claim that our ability to cope depends a lot on our maids.

For this, we are most grateful to them and we are indebted by their service to our families.

Benjamin Chiang