More maids leaving household within year
About 53 percent of maids according to the ministry of Manpower website did not stay through a year in a single household lately. K. Jayaprema, the president of the Association of Employment Agencies Singapore (AEAS), confirmed most maids often leave during the most difficult period within the first three months. She believes the development will continue.
AEAS started a scheme where maid agencies with at least 42 percent maid retention rate were given one or two-star awards in 2013. The rate rose to 51 percent late last year but dropped to 47 percent this year.
Madam Jayaprema concluded most of the conflicts are usually caused by stringent employers and made it known the agencies have no solution to employers and maids not getting along.
She advised maids should be encouraged by compliments, saying they are mostly depressed when their flaws are frequently pointed out especially when they are missing their homes. She also implores maids also to understand their employers could be angered by trivia issues because they may lead stressful lives.
Madam Jayaprema also advised employers to give new maids about three months to adjust to their new environment.
One agent who requested to be anonymous said some of the employers even want maids to teach their wards English pointing out they are not tutors. She also berated the demands of some maids wanting their room rather than share with others in the household calling it an unrealistic demand.
A 51-year-old employer lamented her maid was lazy and not committed to taking care of her elderly parents and resigned within three months. The maid according to her would rather sleep than prepare food for her hungry mother, apart from mealtimes.
Madam Jayaprema concluded to sustain a harmonious household over the years “is all about building relationships.”
The AEAS will by next year recognize 40 maids and employers with long service awards.
Below are some of the success stories of good maid-employer relationships.
Now 62, Madam Selvamary who was a warrant officer with the Singapore Armed Forces ran the household in a regimented manner, but with Madam Ambika, 53 grew to love each other. Madam Selvamary, though unlucky to have missed the deadline had wanted to nominate Madam Ambika for the Domestic Worker of the year last month.
Madam K. Jayaprema who is the president of AEAS, the organizers of the annual competition said, “Exemplary workers like Madam Ambika should be recognized.”
AEAS claimed 480 employers more than the about 200 in the previous two years are nominating their maids for the award.
Madam Ambika according to her employer Madam Selvamary would bathe her late father who had dementia. She even carried him down the stairs while a lift was not yet installed in the block, change his diapers and not mind his morning outbursts.
She said, “She was never just a maid but family and had the authority to discipline my children.”
Madam Ambika was proud when the children who are now in their 30s got married.
She said, “it was like my children were getting married because Madam Selvamary insisted I attend as a family member.”
Madam Ambika said she will always remember the acre her employer shown her as she returns to India next month.