12 Common Domestic Helper Problems: How to Prevent & Handle Them?
While your trusted foreign maid agency in Singapore helped you and your hired domestic helper get settled, it is usually up to you on how you want to handle the working relationship with her at home. Whether it is your first time having a helper or not, you should still anticipate some problems that can occur during her stay with your family. Here are 12 common problems you can expect to have with your domestic helper and how you can prevent and manage them with much ease:
1. They Cannot Get Along With Your Family
Domestic helpers often undergo culture shock when they transfer from family to family. She will have trouble assimilating into the culture of your family, thus there could be a chance she could not get along with them. What you can attempt to do is to sit down with her and ask her perspective on the situation. From there, you can suggest how she can adjust her attitude. At the same time, talk with the family member to create a compromise that will help them meet halfway! Ultimately, having a domestic helper at home is like having another family member.
2. They Are Being Dishonest
Many factors come into play when we say a domestic helper is being dishonest, including cultural differences. It is crucial to remember that you hired a foreign domestic helper in Singapore since this quality alone means that they have different home cultures. Her dishonesty may be rooted from a cultural matter, so be patient in repeating where certain objects in the house should be placed. Encourage her to ask questions, and even give her some printed guide that has instructions on how to organise your house in your preferred method.
3. They Are Always On Their Phone
Right from the beginning of your domestic helper’s work, it is wise that you lay down home rules. Make it clear to her the things you do not want, including the frequent use of her phone. Tell her that she can only use her phone if there is an emergency, during her break time, and her off days or hours. Also, explain to her the dangers that can happen when she is doing her tasks while on her phone. Once she understands these rules, monitor her actions to know that she is following them.
4. They Have Bad Habits That Bother You And Your Family
Usually, foreign domestic helpers have completed training before agencies assign them to a household. In this training, they are taught table manners and other manners that employers like you will appreciate since it shows respect. What these training do not fix is a maid’s habits that can be bothering. For instance, if she has poor hygiene that causes a bad smell. Speak to her directly, but be polite when you request them to shower twice a day or especially after they did some outdoor tasks. Avoid sounding accusatory because it could hurt their feelings and stress them out.
5. They Do Not Understand Boundaries
When you assign your domestic helper to take care of your grandparents, they should treat them with due respect. If there are ever instances that you find her speaking to the elders rudely, then you should remind her to change her behaviour and be more patient with the elderly. Calmly explain to her the concept of boundaries in Singapore culture like how elders are always treated with respect and seriousness.
6. They Spend Too Much Time On One Housechore
Going to the grocery store should only take a reasonable amount of time. Thus, when your maid takes half a day, then there must be a problem with her efficiency! Usually, the problem with this could be the language barrier. It could be because the person cannot understand what she needs to buy, so it takes her a long time to get everything checked off of your list. If you have a Chinese-speaking maid in Singapore, then it will not be a problem. If you do not, recommend language courses that she can take on her days off to improve her Chinese language skills! Who knows you may even have a better working relationship with your helper after that!
7. They Are Emotionally Drained
Your domestic helper may also faces difficulties during her stay with you. It might be a marital problem or a financial one. During this time, try to be understanding and put yourself in her shoes. Offering her a listening ear can help because bad news from her home can interfere with her work and her health. Show your genuine concern and ask her if she needs the help of any kind if not, let her take some time off to heal or grieve. You must keep track of her emotions as well since it can greatly affect the quality of her work.
8. They Are Not Taking The Initiative
Being a foreign domestic helper, some agencies may have trained her to be independent and take initiative on the tasks. Sometimes it could be a matter of misalignment from employer to helper. So let her know that she always has the go-signal when a simple task needs to be done. It could also empower her since she knows that you trust them to do the tasks efficiently. Do not forget to praise her, too!
9. They Refuses To Take A Day Off
If your maid is refusing to take her scheduled day off, then she must have a reason. It might be her way to impress you or she needs the extra money. If so, express your concerns because if she does not take her day off, then she may get restless over-worked and perform poorly. Also, you can reorganise her tasks so that you can teach her about managing her time better and avoid getting swamped with tasks. Introduce her to outdoor activities that she can enjoy on her days off, too. Inviting her to your weekend activities could also help her to relax!
10. They Made A Mistake And Did Not Tell You About It
Accidents happen all the time, even when you know that your domestic helper has been very careful. Therefore, if they break something or if the family member has gotten sick under her watch, then she should inform you about it immediately. Reassure her that when these accidents happen, you will not send her back or complain to the maid agency because this will scare her off and could potentially led to her keeping things from you or lie to you in the future. Instead, carefully explain the importance of being informed about what has happened to you so they will speak up when things go wrong.
11. They Are Afraid Of Opening Up
More often than not, foreign domestic helpers who come to Singapore to work have the most interesting stories to tell! You might be the kind of person who likes to connect with people who have interesting stories, but your maid is refusing to open up. It might be because she is afraid to lose your authority and you may accuse her of disrespecting. You can tell her that you still acknowledge her respect, and she is not crossing any boundaries when you ask her to share some of her stories with you.
12. They Might Get Pregnant
It is not a far-fetched reality that your maid might get pregnant during her employment. First thing you can do is to contact the maid agency to get an understanding on the steps to resolve this matter. Next is to initiate a conversation with her and let her know what you feel when this happens during her stay with your family. However, to prevent this from happening, employers should therefore educate your domestic helper that pregnancy and childbirth are prohibited under a domestic helper’s work pass. Under the Singapore law, employers are technically required to report pregnancies to the Ministry of Manpower, leading to cancellation of the work permit and the helper’s deportation which will possibly complicate their lives and bring problems upon their families. They should be well aware of their reasons and duties for working in Singapore and should avoid such happenings.
Hiring Your Future Maid
Now that many families, including you, rely on foreign domestic helpers in Singapore, it is crucial to smooth out tensions that can happen during their stay with you. Trust that these tips will help you overcome the hurdles in your relationship with your future maid!
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