Disagreements between employee and employer are common in any industry and with no two employers being the same in terms of expectations or requirements, foreign domestic workers are not spared from disputes. When disagreements do arise, there are several ways to remedy the situation and we are here to explore them.
An agency’s responsibilities is not completely zero upon deployment of the foreign domestic worker and it is encouraged but not an official ruling that agencies provide occasional courtesy checks on the helper and employers as part of their services protocol, especially in the early stages of deployment. This would be beneficial in achieving a more positive retention rate. The employment agency could also provide their phone number to the helper as an initial point of contact should disputes arise. One of our partner Agencies athena-maids
has included this practice as part of their service agreement.
To reduce disputes between helpers and employers, it is advisable that there is a healthy working relationship established between the employer and helper. If a helper is a first timer, employers are encouraged to exercise patience and understanding when if her performance for certain jobs are not up to standard yet, and assist to nurture and improve her skill level. In terms of personality, every person regardless of employer or helper will be different so during the initial interview process, spend more time to interact and understand the helper before you commit to hiring them.
If you have already communicated with the helper regarding the dispute and are unable to resolve, you may contact the agency for advice regarding resolution counselling or re-hiring of another replacement helper. Certain Embassies also require that agencies who are deploying helpers from the respective countries include a clause that allows the embassy to be an intermediary and refer unresolved disputes to appropriate labour authorities in their service terms of standardised contracts.
Helpers are also able to approach relief centres and associations such as HOME, CDE or FAST should there be unfair treatment from employers that are beyond basic communication. For employers who have disputes with agencies, they are able to escalate the dispute to the small claims tribunal, if the dispute cannot be resolved through mediation.