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Can we refuse a transfer request?

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Fortan
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Can we refuse a transfer request?

Postby Fortan » Thu, 13 Feb 2014 4:40 pm

We are in a situation where our helper has asked for a transfer to another employer. The agency we hired her through have only presented us with one transfer maid which we did not like and time is ticking on the 30 days notice period. A few questions in that connection.

- What happens if the agency is unable/unwilling to find us a suitable replacement?
- Can we refuse the request to transfer if the agency doesn't get us a maid within the 30 days?

As a note, I can say that I have not officially accepted her request to transfer. I have said to her that I will accept it if we can get a replacement in in time.

Can someone help out here? Annoying situation to be in.... :P

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 13 Feb 2014 5:28 pm

Well, looking at it from a different perspective, how much damage can she do if you refuse her request? Puts it in a slightly different light, doesn't it.

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Postby Beeroclock » Fri, 14 Feb 2014 12:07 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:Well, looking at it from a different perspective, how much damage can she do if you refuse her request? Puts it in a slightly different light, doesn't it.
+1. I wouldn't feel comfortable at all in that situation.

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Postby EmpressPlace » Mon, 17 Feb 2014 4:46 pm

Have a look at the agency's contract with you. There may be some restrictions if you intend to avail yourselves of the "free" replacements and are not prepared to write off the agency fee you paid.

There is no general obligation to consent to a helper's request under the terms of employment. But helpers now seem to treat shopping for another employer of their liking as a right and entitlement.

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Postby Sergei82 » Mon, 17 Feb 2014 4:51 pm

EmpressPlace wrote:But helpers now seem to treat shopping for another employer of their liking as a right and entitlement.

Is that something that should never be allowed? Did you watch "12 years a slave recently"?

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Postby EmpressPlace » Mon, 17 Feb 2014 5:15 pm

If the helper has shown good work ethic and fulfilled her duties and needs a transfer for good reasons, yes.

If the helper is using the employer as a temporary hiding hole until the ideal gig comes along and has not generally been good with her duties, no.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 17 Feb 2014 5:16 pm

So do EP holders from some areas. Although, that has slowed down somewhat thanks to the tightening up of MOM.

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Postby EmpressPlace » Mon, 17 Feb 2014 5:29 pm

Not slowing down where domestic helpers are concerned. Many helpers from the transfer focused agencies are shopping for a higher salary/ lesser workload/ no curfew way before contract is due to expire.

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Postby Fortan » Tue, 18 Feb 2014 8:36 am

Our helper was fantastic the first two months then steadily declined, getting lazy, had to be told constantly to perform basic duties.... a pain really. Was thinking about letting her go before she asked to transfer. She has given the reason that she needs to go back to the Philippines for family reasons. Two days later she asks us what date she can transfer so she can inform the new family when to start? Happy to get rid actually and we have now found a replacement through the agency although it took some serious pushing and showing. Wife due to give birth to our second child in April, so we really need someone to help out, as I am hardly ever at home. Thank god we've found someone now.

The shopping around for new employers by long stay helpers here is very significant. We are NOT hiring a helper with many years in Singapore behind her ever again. Just cause of much trouble.

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Postby x9200 » Tue, 18 Feb 2014 8:56 am

IMHO it's unavoidable. These people have simply different priorities and loyalty to a reasonable employer is not before getting a better paying job. Also nobody should expect the average FDW is a skilled worker. Their standards differ from what is expected and they will often fail to understand what is the whole fuss about.
This is at least my experience with part-time maids, SGCs or SPRs so exposed already for years to a modern infrastructure/households. What I noticed is that the higher pay only makes them more reliable in terms of showing up in time or informing up in front if they are going to be late or can not come at all. The work quality is always basically the same, low to very low.

There are good maids but their are really gems.

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Postby nutnut » Tue, 18 Feb 2014 9:22 am

Depends how you feel about human rights as to whether you "allow" your employee to leave your house or not.

Personally, how would you feel if your employer didn't let you leave to a new job?

Give the new employer a reference by all means, if the new employer doesn't request one, then more fool them.
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Postby EmpressPlace » Tue, 18 Feb 2014 9:58 am

Why bother to hang around to help out with a high maintenance newborn when you could jump ship and land up with an easier job elsewhere and hopefully get a higher pay along the way? So the natural thing to do is to take the baby job when it is the best deal on the table and buy time. The next employer will hear the story that the previous employer is not honoring curfew hours, M'am is perfectionistic, not enough food, there is no chemistry etc. So employers - beware of these helpers who do not complete their contracts for these cliché reasons and drop the idea that you will be the better fit. You would just be the better fit for NOW.

Yes, it's natural to look for a new employment if there is genuinely no fit. However, what we are seeing more today is simply job-hopping. I have interviewed numerous helpers recently and this is what I observed.

The excessive shopping around is due to a very liberal transfer culture and probably largely due to a recent reduction of helpers coming in from Philippines and Indonesia. It's a transfer helper's market. It was not the case several years ago. So once the Philippines government is forced by internal pressure to let up on the restriction of foreign domestic helpers leaving the country, employers may find some reprieve. In the meantime, employers should help each other by not being too easy on transfers. It's a vicious cycle. Tell the helper that you would send her home if she does not fulfill her duties as per the contract. Under the employment contract, this is what an employer is required to do and agreeing to a transfer is not an entitlement of the helper.

I think it's a very bad time to be reliant on foreign domestic helper to help out with a new baby. Even relatively less experienced helpers (sometimes even those without prior overseas work experience) are asking for transfers on a whim. So don't think it's restricted to long stay transfer helpers!

If you have the budget, hire a confinement nanny to help out with the new baby in the early months and line up good local part time nannies/babysitters, just in case.

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Postby Sergei82 » Tue, 18 Feb 2014 10:19 am

Are you sure you are not that person who doesn't let the maid out of the house for more than a few hours only on Sunday and doesn't notice that she eats only one bowl of rice every other day?

I've seen such. And those people are the loudest about maids getting worse nowadays. Interestingly, those people were NOT Singaporeans (although Singaporean Chinese folks are also notorious in torturing their maids)

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Postby earthfriendly » Tue, 18 Feb 2014 10:42 am

Hello Empress, this is an expat forum. I am not sure how well-received a "confinement maid" will be. It is a "unique" culture in terms of cooking style and after-pregnancy care that not everyone can easily agree with.

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Postby Fortan » Tue, 18 Feb 2014 10:55 am

Sergei82 wrote:Are you sure you are not that person who doesn't let the maid out of the house for more than a few hours only on Sunday and doesn't notice that she eats only one bowl of rice every other day?

I've seen such. And those people are the loudest about maids getting worse nowadays. Interestingly, those people were NOT Singaporeans (although Singaporean Chinese folks are also notorious in torturing their maids)


Yeah, I am absolutely sure I am not that kind of employer. We even give our helper time off at night on weekdays to go and meet her friends and she has had every single Sunday off since we hired her. She is instructed to eat whatever she feels like. If it is in the cupboard or fridge or freezer, eat it and at any given time. We treat our maid as part of the family and she even dines with us if we bring her out with us.


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