Maids should be assigned only jobs they are employed for

We agree with Mr N. Nagesh that more needs to be done to protect the well-being of domestic helpers ("Stem misuse of maids"; Nov 26).

We are just as concerned as Mr Nagesh that domestic helpers are still being subjected to abuse, even after several measures have been put in place to protect them.

Perhaps there is a need to review the employers' orientation programme, especially for employers hiring a foreign domestic worker (FDW) for the first time or who have changed workers frequently. For example, the expectations of such employers could be better managed.

The Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (Fast)provides a helpline and offers avenues for recourse or remedies.

We offer free legal counselling and mediation services to help parties resolve disagreement amicably. Where breaches are evident, Fast is prepared to alert the authorities so that remedial action can be taken.

Fast has also recently introduced a three-day orientation programme to show newly arrived foreign domestic helpers what working in Singapore is all about, including work expectations.

We hope to promote this initiative to improve domestic workers' awareness about their work obligations and what they should and should not be involved in at their workplace.

We call on all stakeholders, be they government departments, employment agencies, embassy personnel or employers, to ensure that newly employed domestic helpers are accorded proper treatment and care.

They should be assigned only to jobs they are employed for and should not be subjected to abuse in any way.

This will help a great deal to lighten the emotional stress that FDWs already face in trying to cope with their new working environment. Hopefully, this will enable them to do their job with greater confidence.

Seah Seng Choon
Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training