Choosing someone to depend unto is not a very easy thing even with the simplest issue of choosing a house helper or maid. There are a lot of sites on the internet that would allow you to ask for a cleaning service anytime and anywhere. The question is whether these services offer a legal part-time maid which is licensed in accordance to the law or agencies that exploit the unlicensed worker that puts employers’ home also in danger by doing so. As of December 2012, there is an estimate of 209,600 foreign domestic workers with MOM (Ministry of Manpower) work permits in Singapore. However, this estimated number does not include illegal immigrants or workers that are simply without a license. So how can you be sure that you’re employing a legal part-time maid?
First Thing to Know
There is no single definitive strategy to actually know if an employee is a legal part-time maid or otherwise. The most basic necessity to ask the house helper upon her arrival then would be her MOM license or legal documents saying that she obtained a work permit from MOM. A work permit is applied by the employer; for this case the agency, to ensure that the rights and responsibilities of both the employer and the employee are ironed out. This work permit will usually last for two years. The domestic employer can then ask the agency if the foreign domestic worker that they are employing is legally licensed.
Consequences of Employing Illegal Workers
The legally licensed and the illegal maids are both capable of doing the desired job. However, there are certain complications in employing the illegal maids. On one hand, there are moral and ethical considerations in employing illegal domestic cleaning personnel. What if an agency does not pay them honestly or in right amounts? How about those who rigorously followed the law and submitted all the rightful requirements to get a MOM license, aren’t they disadvantaged in favor of the illegal workers?
On the other hand, there are serious circumstances that may undermine your safety even in the comforts of your home if you unknowingly employed an illegal maid. You may not have the power to sue her because she could be anywhere after stealing from you. The employer may be hiring from an agency that harbors a fugitive and unsure of the criminal records behind a colorful website or a diligent house helper.
It is vigilance that could answer these circumstances. Assurance in terms of employing a legal part-time maid is never an easy job. The employer needs to personally interview and ask the domestic employee about legal identifications and even copies of the work permit. The employer then could validate these documents through the MOM and discern if the maid is presenting authentic documents. Most importantly, asking the services of an agency requires you to question their accreditation level, the feedback that other people gave them, and the agency’s reputation. Most agencies with established names and a professional reputation are more dependable than others. The employer might also consider recommendations from families and relatives that previously hired a licensed and legal part-time maid.
We can’t be sure what would happen even inside our homes, but we could start by checking everything first before we welcome them inside our doors.