Singapore Expats Forum

Replacing our FDW?

Discuss about life in Singapore. Ask about cost of living, housing, travel, etiquette & lifestyle. Share experience & advice with Singaporeans & expat staying in Singapore.

Sponsored by:
Image
AE Logistics - Movers & Storage

User avatar
Fortan
Chatter
Chatter
Posts: 466
Joined: Thu, 01 Aug 2013

Replacing our FDW?

Postby Fortan » Mon, 06 Jan 2014 10:31 am

We initially hired a FDW through an agency and we were very happy with her the first couple of months but her behavior since then have just been unacceptable. She was a transfer maid and have spent 9 years in Singapore. She is from the Philippines and at first she was everything we had looked for. Great with the kids, good at doing everything we asked etc etc. These days she seems to disappear into her room at every given opportunity. She has some fixed simple tasks that she just 'forgets'. Simple stuff like polishing my shoes every week. Emptying the waste out of the coffee machine and making sure there is always water in it. Replacing towels in the bathrooms frequently. None of this is done unless we ask her to - every time. We ask her to take our daughter to the playground and she end up taking her for a walk somewhere else (has happened several times). I am running out of ideas and I just want to replace her with someone who gives us less grief. We treat her so well. Have given her extra time off. We pay her on time. We hold up our end of the agreement and then some.

I was warned about taking a "complacent" long term transfer maid when I did so and I think this might be the outcome, so we are thinking about replacing her with someone who hasn't worked in Singapore before. Probably someone from Myanmar. We have the option to change once for free in our contract.

What is your view and experiences on similar cases, please share your wealth of knowledge.

Steve1960
Editor
Editor
Posts: 1106
Joined: Mon, 13 Aug 2012
Location: Singapore

Postby Steve1960 » Mon, 06 Jan 2014 11:05 am

This is a tough one and I have posted or contributed to posts several times in the last few months.

We are also about to return our maid to the agency, she is from Myanmar and was a transfer maid. We have worked very hard with her over 3+ months to help her become better at her job but she has not responded. Just like you we have kept our side of the contract and working for us is not difficult. I have told her she will be returned to the agency if her work does not improve and also that she could expect a salary increase if her work is exceptional. No response to either the carrot or the stick.

What I am about to say is purely the thoughts of several friends and acquaintances my wife has spoken to about the situation. Do not choose a maid from Myanmar as they lack something (intelligence, common sense, not sure what) and make poor maids.

Filipina maids have to be chosen carefully. There are of course very good ones but there are also a large number that love their mobile phone more than life itself and like to lets say 'enjoy' their days off :wink: My wife is Filipina, I have nothing against them they are lovely people.

Everyone we have asked says choose Indonesian for a better chance of success. I have not hard facts or data to support that, like I said it is just word of mouth having discussed our situation with many people.

For the amusement of the regulars here (there is another thread somewhere discussing it) we are currently in the process of a direct hire from the Philippines. A close friend of my wife. I have no idea how that will work out but we will try it rather than blindly go maid hunting at the agencies.

Again for your amusement and information. Just some of our current Myanmar maids exploits:

Burned the iron plate on a plastic bag and decided not to tell us. The next time she came to do the ironing guess what happened? Yep the plastic on the plate caught fire, she then tried to put the flames out by putting the iron on the board, there went the ironing board cover too! This was the second iron she had broken.

Broken vacuum cleaner, cups, picture frame, damaged kitchenware by using the steel wool scourer (mean't for the oven) despite being trained what each cleaning product was for many times. We don't have a saucepan with an undamaged non stick surface now.

Mastered the use of the electronic washing machine surprisingly easily. Even now after more than 3 months she continually forgets to put washing powder in the machine!

The above is but a small sample I could write a book.

Beeroclock
Reporter
Reporter
Posts: 718
Joined: Thu, 31 Oct 2013

Postby Beeroclock » Mon, 06 Jan 2014 12:11 pm

We have a very similar situation. Maybe our honeymoon period was only 2 months, but a very noticeable drop off in attention to detail and selective memory on routine requirements after that. We often have a private whinge and usually conclude to put up with it , as the hassle of changeover and risk we end up with the same or worse again. As long as she does not cross a line ie stealing, serious safety risk etc, we are inclined to bear most of the standard slippage and only pull her up on our major issues. The notice period also would worry me if I decided to changeover, 1 month?, maybe brush your teeth at work during that period :wink:

Beeroclock
Reporter
Reporter
Posts: 718
Joined: Thu, 31 Oct 2013

Postby Beeroclock » Mon, 06 Jan 2014 12:17 pm

Steve1960 wrote:This is a tough one and I have posted or contributed to posts several times in the last few months.

We are also about to return our maid to the agency, she is from Myanmar and was a transfer maid. We have worked very hard with her over 3+ months to help her become better at her job but she has not responded. Just like you we have kept our side of the contract and working for us is not difficult. I have told her she will be returned to the agency if her work does not improve and also that she could expect a salary increase if her work is exceptional. No response to either the carrot or the stick.

What I am about to say is purely the thoughts of several friends and acquaintances my wife has spoken to about the situation. Do not choose a maid from Myanmar as they lack something (intelligence, common sense, not sure what) and make poor maids.

Filipina maids have to be chosen carefully. There are of course very good ones but there are also a large number that love their mobile phone more than life itself and like to lets say 'enjoy' their days off :wink: My wife is Filipina, I have nothing against them they are lovely people.

Everyone we have asked says choose Indonesian for a better chance of success. I have not hard facts or data to support that, like I said it is just word of mouth having discussed our situation with many people.

For the amusement of the regulars here (there is another thread somewhere discussing it) we are currently in the process of a direct hire from the Philippines. A close friend of my wife. I have no idea how that will work out but we will try it rather than blindly go maid hunting at the agencies.

Again for your amusement and information. Just some of our current Myanmar maids exploits:

Burned the iron plate on a plastic bag and decided not to tell us. The next time she came to do the ironing guess what happened? Yep the plastic on the plate caught fire, she then tried to put the flames out by putting the iron on the board, there went the ironing board cover too! This was the second iron she had broken.

Broken vacuum cleaner, cups, picture frame, damaged kitchenware by using the steel wool scourer (mean't for the oven) despite being trained what each cleaning product was for many times. We don't have a saucepan with an undamaged non stick surface now.

Mastered the use of the electronic washing machine surprisingly easily. Even now after more than 3 months she continually forgets to put washing powder in the machine!

The above is but a small sample I could write a book.

I reckon any repeated incidents involving flames, flooding or lapses while child minding would cross my threshold. Accidents can happen so everyone deserves 1 or 2 warnings but if the general attitude is poor and you have these kind of things happening at home, personally I would not want the stress/risk.

Steve1960
Editor
Editor
Posts: 1106
Joined: Mon, 13 Aug 2012
Location: Singapore

Postby Steve1960 » Mon, 06 Jan 2014 12:32 pm

I have posted before that I do not believe maids should be taking care of children, at least not in a significant way, as they are not trained to do so. If I wanted my daughter cared for I would hire a qualified nanny.

Having said that it would have been nice to have taken my wife for dinner on our wedding anniversary yesterday evening whilst our daughter was sleeping. However, we just don't trust the maid at all and have never left our daughter with her alone, not even for one minute.

We did lunch instead and I downloaded Despicable Me 2 to the iPad to keep our daughter amused while we tried to have a peaceful romantic lunch!

Beeroclock
Reporter
Reporter
Posts: 718
Joined: Thu, 31 Oct 2013

Postby Beeroclock » Mon, 06 Jan 2014 12:42 pm

Steve1960 wrote:I have posted before that I do not believe maids should be taking care of children, at least not in a significant way, as they are not trained to do so. If I wanted my daughter cared for I would hire a qualified nanny.

Having said that it would have been nice to have taken my wife for dinner on our wedding anniversary yesterday evening whilst our daughter was sleeping. However, we just don't trust the maid at all and have never left our daughter with her alone, not even for one minute.

We did lunch instead and I downloaded Despicable Me 2 to the iPad to keep our daughter amused while we tried to have a peaceful romantic lunch!

I do understand this. Ideally I would be the same, but we do trust our maid with our child so we do request occasional baby sitting, ie once every 1-2 weeks. It's a calculated risk but we feel necessary to stop us going crazy. Using taxis with baby/toddler is in the same category and even higher risk for us but we do sparingly too.

I am amazed how some expats outsource patenting to their maid, so often see kids running amok in our condo playground with maids half watching/half on phone. Seems so dangerous with an unfenced pool 10metres away.

Steve1960
Editor
Editor
Posts: 1106
Joined: Mon, 13 Aug 2012
Location: Singapore

Postby Steve1960 » Mon, 06 Jan 2014 12:56 pm

I understand completely the only time we have been out together in the last 3 years without our daughter was once in the UK last November when my mother took care of her.

I see the same thing with the maids and experienced it at the last school our daughter attended. A certain Filipina maid was constantly late collecting the Chinese boy and he would get really distressed sometimes. We saw the maid many times sitting playing on her mobile phone when she should have been at the school.

I ahve considered allowing our daughter to take care of the maid but not the other way around :lol:

PNGMK
Director
Director
Posts: 4849
Joined: Thu, 21 Mar 2013

Postby PNGMK » Mon, 06 Jan 2014 2:44 pm

We have a 'good' maid. Come August we will need to transfer her as my daughter will be able to go to school (the only reason we have an FDW). If either of you want a good maid contact me around August.

And no, I don't have any ideas.... except we found our good maid by poaching her from a neighbor after observing her for 2 years. I'd say she has a few years left in her (she's 23/24) til she wants to either return to the PI or will become 'naughty', (as the locals put it).

Steve1960
Editor
Editor
Posts: 1106
Joined: Mon, 13 Aug 2012
Location: Singapore

Postby Steve1960 » Sun, 19 Jan 2014 10:42 pm

Now I could really use a little advice from you guys.

I am travelling on business and my wife just emailed me with the maid's latest confession.

She is 17 years old and was 16 when she came to work for us last September :shock:

The passport information is not hers at all. It is someone else name and date of birth. This goes a long way to explaining why she wasn't a great maid!!

I have told my wife to stop her working immediately, take her apartment keys and work permit and to not let her out of sight in case she does a runner.

I have also emailed the employment agency and will call them tomorrow when they open.

Should I leave this to the agency or should I also contact MOM immediately? Clearly now I am in possession of this information I need to act correctly the girl is a minor in the eyes of the law.

What a sh*t storm!

User avatar
zzm9980
Governor
Governor
Posts: 6837
Joined: Wed, 06 Jul 2011
Location: Once more unto the breach

Postby zzm9980 » Mon, 20 Jan 2014 8:40 am

Steve1960 wrote:Now I could really use a little advice from you guys.

I am travelling on business and my wife just emailed me with the maid's latest confession.

She is 17 years old and was 16 when she came to work for us last September :shock:

The passport information is not hers at all. It is someone else name and date of birth. This goes a long way to explaining why she wasn't a great maid!!

I have told my wife to stop her working immediately, take her apartment keys and work permit and to not let her out of sight in case she does a runner.

I have also emailed the employment agency and will call them tomorrow when they open.

Should I leave this to the agency or should I also contact MOM immediately? Clearly now I am in possession of this information I need to act correctly the girl is a minor in the eyes of the law.

What a sh*t storm!


Indonesian?

This is extremely extremely common. I know more than a few Indonesians that used to be FDWs who told me their passport is fake and they're 2-4 years younger as they had to be 20 to come over to work. Half of them didn't even have the right name in their passport.

Since she admitted it to you, I'm not sure what your legal liability is. I'd call MOM myself asap.

edit: I'd suggest not treating her like a criminal yourself right now. Since you're likely to do the right thing, her short to mid-term life is essentially ruined right now. Just think: She's going to go back to a place shitty enough that she paid hundreds or thousands to buy a forged passport so she could come work as a FDW for a few hundred bucks a month in Singapore. She's also 17, and probably wouldn't know how to pull a "runner" even if she wanted to. She also probably opened up to your wife because you guys were nice to her and treated her like a human. At least be nice to her her last few days here.

User avatar
Strong Eagle
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 10408
Joined: Sat, 10 Jul 2004
Location: Off The Red Dot
Contact:

Postby Strong Eagle » Tue, 21 Jan 2014 2:13 am

zzm9980 wrote:edit: I'd suggest not treating her like a criminal yourself right now. Since you're likely to do the right thing, her short to mid-term life is essentially ruined right now. Just think: She's going to go back to a place shitty enough that she paid hundreds or thousands to buy a forged passport so she could come work as a FDW for a few hundred bucks a month in Singapore. She's also 17, and probably wouldn't know how to pull a "runner" even if she wanted to. She also probably opened up to your wife because you guys were nice to her and treated her like a human. At least be nice to her her last few days here.


+1

BedokAmerican
Chatter
Chatter
Posts: 436
Joined: Tue, 15 Jan 2013

Postby BedokAmerican » Wed, 22 Jan 2014 1:06 pm

Reading stuff like this makes me glad I don't have a maid.

Steve1960
Editor
Editor
Posts: 1106
Joined: Mon, 13 Aug 2012
Location: Singapore

Postby Steve1960 » Tue, 28 Jan 2014 11:10 am

Sorry about the delayed update, been travelling back to Singapore with Mum in tow.

I never made the calls to the Police and Mom, before I had the chance my wife had spoken to the agency and asked for the maid to be delivered to them. I wonder why! Still not much I could do given the time zone differences while I was away working.

The maid changed her story and said she is 24 years old and just made up a story because she was home sick................according to the agency.

They sent me the standard release document where I agree to her being employed by someone else in Singapore. I told them to stick it where the sun doesn't shine and that there is no way she should be employed in Singapore and must be sent home immediately.

They asked me to pay for the repatriation costs. I told them that given all the problems and a good chance that the girl was only 17 despite what she says I felt it was fair to split the cost 50/50. We agreed on that.

I met the girl outside the agency office when I went to sign the termination documents. She claimed the agency took the 100 dollars my wife gave her and used it towards the air fare home. She also said the agency told her to ask for more money from me.

I went back into the agency office and 'ripped them a new one'. There was no denial just pensive staring at the floor. Now I have a trip to the airport this afternoon. I told the agency I will meet the girl just before immigration and she had better have the money I have given her and all her personal possessions before she goes flight side.

That's the best I can do, if the agency Myanmar side takes money off her it really isn't my problem now.

User avatar
zzm9980
Governor
Governor
Posts: 6837
Joined: Wed, 06 Jul 2011
Location: Once more unto the breach

Postby zzm9980 » Tue, 28 Jan 2014 11:39 am

Well, I'd say it sounds like you tried your best to do the right thing. All we can do now is hope she's OK once she gets back there.

User avatar
sundaymorningstaple
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 34260
Joined: Thu, 11 Nov 2004
Location: Still Fishing!
Contact:

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 28 Jan 2014 12:13 pm

You have done all you could be reasonably expected to do without getting her into "deep" trouble like I suggested. However, she had to go as if she is already homesick, she would definitely give you problems later as the depression set further in. I glad she let you know what the agency did and you ripped them a new one as they need it more times than not.


  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to “Staying, Living in Singapore”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest