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Question: Terms and conditions for FDWs

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brian_singapore
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Question: Terms and conditions for FDWs

Postby brian_singapore » Sun, 26 Jan 2014 1:57 pm

Hi

I have a question around terms and conditions re: FDWs. We found someone we like and we're planning on offering the following terms and conditions:

Working hours
Mon-Fri: 7am-7pm
Sat: 7am to noon (i.e. she's off at noon)
Sundays: Off

No curfew provided she is ready, rested and able to work in the morning.

I sent these to the maid agency who called me and told me Saturday afternoons off are unacceptable and we need to give them a curfew of 10pm.

She told me the issue is we were responsible for the maid and was concerned they might go out clubbing, work for someone else or get questioned if they are out late by the police who would then open an investigation into us. I'm sure she would have gone on a great deal longer with the list of all the evils the FDW might get up to if I hadn't cut the conversation off.

For us, Saturday afternoon's off is more about quality family time without an extra person around than anything else.

Is employer liability a real issue? My understanding from the Faq on rest days published by MOM (link below) if an FDW violates her work permit conditions, its on her, not the employer (Question 15). Is this not the case in practice?

Also if an FDW for some reasons chooses to stay the night somewhere else on Saturday night, does this violate the requirement they 'live in our home'? Certainly they would not be moving out. If this is a real concern, then I'd be happy to simply stipulate they sleep in our home 7 nights a week.

The agency owner is really pushy over it (to the point of offending me).

http://www.mom.gov.sg/Documents/foreign ... 20FDWs.pdf (Question 15)

All of that aside, the Maid in question is in her mid-40s, spent the last 18 years working for a single family, has a husband and kids and doesn't strike me as the type to get up to mischief. Even if staying out late and clubbing we're her thing on a Saturday night, it really wouldn't concern me a great deal.

Thanks,
Brian
.

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Postby PNGMK » Sun, 26 Jan 2014 3:12 pm

Impose the curfew but make it late (12?) - simply so she doesn't stagger in drunk at 3AM and wake you all.

You could say change the afternoon activity to "self education, exercise and religious activity time" - in other words giving her the time off but maintaining a semblence of control.

The other weird thing is we never had this contract formalized with our agency - we simply set it out with the FDW when she showed up on the first day. You could do that instead (i.e. have a formal contract with what the agency wants but then say; "You're released at 12pm Sat).

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Re: Question: Terms and conditions for FDWs

Postby JR8 » Sun, 26 Jan 2014 6:38 pm

brian_singapore wrote:Sat: 7am to noon (i.e. she's off at noon)
Sundays: Off


So she could be working Orchard Towers Saturday afternoon until early Monday morning?

I'm not suggesting she would, but I think one has to consider the risks, and why these kinds of standard local rules get set.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 26 Jan 2014 8:20 pm

Seems odd though that it would only happen in Singapore and not in the other Asian countries where the laws are have already been relaxed for some time now. You are not saying too much about the locals then, huh? Different class of maids from the same supplier countries come to Singapore, izzit?
:lol:

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Postby nutnut » Sun, 26 Jan 2014 8:51 pm

We didn't put such stuff in our contract, we just put 1 day off per week and then gave her everything pretty much as you described above (1.5 days and all evenings off if she wanted to do whatever)

I'd leave it out her contract and just tell her it's acceptable.

Agencies don't help the matter,t hey basically treat all maids with comtempt because they see them as lesser people. Which - don't get me started on this!

Another thing you can do, is see how she works out after a few weeks and then relax everything based on that. It then gives an incentive for good performance.
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Postby PNGMK » Sun, 26 Jan 2014 10:14 pm

all I will say is that 40 yo FDW can do a lot of damage in 12 hours of freedowm

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Postby brian_singapore » Sun, 26 Jan 2014 10:25 pm

Thanks for the responses all.

I probably wasn't as concise as I should have been: The agency stated if the nanny violated the terms of her work permit (say by working illegally on her day(s) off or some other more sinister criminal activity) the police would investigate me and hold me accountable. This is contrary to what I understand reading both the MOM terms for the performance bond as well as the FAQ I posted earlier.

My question is: Am I liable in anyway if our FDW engages in illegal activity beyond pulling a runner? i.e. working illegally, drug use, prostitution, shoplifting etc.? This is not the same as whether we'd tolerate this behaviour... In the unlikely event any of this happened, it would result in termination and co-operation on our part with the relevant authorities.

Re: Coming home late and drunk - this is a valid concern but we're appending a code of conduct to her contract that would preclude this. I don't want her coming home drunk at midnight any more than at 3am :wink:

The hours was probably my doing. In the interest of completeness I included the proposed work schedule as well as the salary on offer. If I hadn't done this, I'm sure it wouldn't have come up.

My wife thinks the agencies real problem is they don't want the precedent being set for other employees.

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Postby PNGMK » Mon, 27 Jan 2014 9:50 am

"By holding you accountable" means your bond (or bond insurance) might be at risk of forfeiture. You're not at risk of criminal charges. The more bonds lost = higher bond insurance.

You may be over thinking the hours bit. Go with what the agency recommends and do an informal modification with the FDW once she is on your premises.

I think your wife's suspicions are well founded... Singaporeans and other FDW employers are often known for bullying other FDW employers into keeping pay and privileges low "lest your spoil them!".

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Postby brian_singapore » Mon, 27 Jan 2014 10:06 am

PNGMK wrote:You may be over thinking the hours bit. Go with what the agency recommends and do an informal modification with the FDW once she is on your premises.


You might be right. I went back to the agency and asked them to simply say 'hours and curfew' to be set by the employer.

In all honesty, if the agency had just called and said, 'we don't put hours in the contract, these are set by the employer" I would have agreed and it would have been a short conversation. It was the screaming phone call with the dire 'the police will come after you consequences' that wound me up. That and the agency told me she was going to tell the caregivers MOM mandated minimum work hours and a maximum curfew they had to observe.

We've employed live-in caregivers in Canada and hours need to be included as part of the contract, so including them when I sent in the compensation was more reflex then anything else. That and I'm a huge believer in clear written expectations for employees.

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Postby Hannieroo » Wed, 05 Feb 2014 2:21 pm

Just don't put it writing, my lady has those sort of hours but the contract is far stricter because the agent didn't like it. How I organize my home is my business providing it's not detrimental.

Maids sneak in boyfriends, people have sex in the day and work illegally on a Tuesday afternoon. If you have a maid that behaves that way nothing will stop it but I do think not being bored, lonely or under pair is the answer rather than control.

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Postby katbh » Wed, 05 Feb 2014 5:57 pm

I think your original contract is fine. She is an adult. Let her have a life.

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Postby movingtospore » Fri, 07 Feb 2014 2:32 pm

Well, the thing is, you are liable to some degree if your maid decides to be very naughty in her time off and gets caught. You won't be criminally charged but you will be in for a whole pile of hassle. The lady you have in question doesn't sound like the type given her age and tenure with her other employer...but just be aware.

We too had a live-in nanny back in Canada and then moved here...and got a bit of a shock at our own naivete. I am not saying you should enforce rules per the agency but do be aware that the maids you get here are not the nannies (who are often university educated) who find their way to Canada and Europe. And some of younger ones get themselves (and their employers) into a lot of trouble. Our first maid started having all kinds of "boyfriends' who just happened to give her money. Then lending money to others, buying and distributing phones etc etc. She was very entrepreneurial actually, unfortunately it was all illegal. :? We got told this was all our fault for not supervising her closely enough .
:mad: According to common sense this is absurd; according to Singapore this is true.

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Postby PNGMK » Fri, 07 Feb 2014 3:25 pm

movingtospore wrote:Well, the thing is, you are liable to some degree if your maid decides to be very naughty in her time off and gets caught. You won't be criminally charged but you will be in for a whole pile of hassle. The lady you have in question doesn't sound like the type given her age and tenure with her other employer...but just be aware.

We too had a live-in nanny back in Canada and then moved here...and got a bit of a shock at our own naivete. I am not saying you should enforce rules per the agency but do be aware that the maids you get here are not the nannies (who are often university educated) who find their way to Canada and Europe. And some of younger ones get themselves (and their employers) into a lot of trouble. Our first maid started having all kinds of "boyfriends' who just happened to give her money. Then lending money to others, buying and distributing phones etc etc. She was very entrepreneurial actually, unfortunately it was all illegal. :? We got told this was all our fault for not supervising her closely enough .
:mad: According to common sense this is absurd; according to Singapore this is true.


Hassle is right.


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