Regardless of her background, your maid is just like any other person that deserves to be respected. You are indeed the boss and you should treat your maid in a way that you like your boss to treat you.
Why management of your maid important?
Treating your maid fairly will bring you lot of benefit, both tangible and intangible. It is therefore worth the effort on trying to make her employment with you a happy one.
Firstly, you can save lots of time and money on changing maids. If you change maid too frequently, the Ministry of Manpower will also make it hard for you to apply work permit for new maid.
Secondly, if your maid is looking after your baby, it is going to take some time for your baby to get used to the practice of your new maid. Sometimes, your baby may not be able sleep well or experience anxiety when you have a new maid at home.
If your maid is looking after your parents, your parents may prefer to stick to old maid as they have gotten used to the way the old maid helps them.
Thirdly, you are going to spend another round of time and effort on training your new maid to use your household tools and appliances and communicating your household rule and expectations.
Lastly, a happy maid is an efficient maid. A happy maid may go the extra mile to help you and look after your baby just like her own baby and your parents just like her parents.
How should I manage my maid?
1. Set Reasonable Expectations and Communicate them to maid
Before you employ a maid, you should think very carefully about your expectation of a maid.
When you interview the maid through phone, webcam or face-to-face, you may want to mention some of these expectations and see how the maid responds to them.
Write your expectations down and pass it to your maid once she arrives. You may want to write them on a paper and paste it on wall where your maid can easily see just in case she may forget some of them.
To go the extra step, you may consider translating your expectation into your maid's mother tongue just in case there is a language barrier.
When you write your expectations clearly, it is also going to benefit your maid as she knows what she is expected and make herself fit into the job easier and faster.
2. Proper Training
Your maid agency may have provided some sort of training to the maid, but you still need to train your maid in the first few weeks after her arrival. This is because tools used by the maid agencies may be different from those at your house. Such training can help your maid to get used to the working environment faster.
3. Reasonable Terms and Conditions
You should give your maid 7 to 8 hours to sleep, enough food to eat to keep her fit and healthy. This can also make sure she has enough energy to do all the tasks assigned by you.
4. A Schedule or Timetable
It is good to have a schedule for your maid, you may pass the schedule to her when she arrives.
In your schedule, you may want to specify how frequent you want your maid to sweep the floor, clean the kitchen and toilet, clean window and how much time she should spend on playing your child. Be as specific as possible so that your maid can follow easily.
5. Your House Rules
You may also want to communicate your house rules to your maid. For example, you may not want your maid to enter your bedroom without your permission. You may want to limit the number of calls she can make using your home fixed line. You may like her to switch her hand phone to silent mode at night.
Again, write them down and pass it to your maid.
6. Your Personal Preference and Common Sense
Same task, different people may do it differently using different method with different input, taking different amount of time. For example, you use three buckets of water to sweep the floor, but your maid may just want to use two. Do not get offended when your maid carries out the task differently from yours. Try to communicate your preference to your maid if you are not comfortable with her method of carrying out the task.
Furthermore, a matter may be common sense to you, but it may not be a common sense to another person. Do not use common sense as an excuse to judge your maid. Do not forget your maid's background is perhaps totally different from you.
7. Consistent Feedback
Try to give your maid feedback so that she knows whether she has done a good job or not. If there is anything you like her to improve, try to feedback to her and do not sound that you are scolding her. If she has done anything excellent, do praise her for the good work.
8. Incentives for Good Work
You may want to reward your maid for the good work done, in the form of a small amount of cash or an extra day off or anything your maid may like. Everyone, including us, will respond positively to the incentives.
9. Do not overdependence on your maid
Do you still remember the picture showing a maid carrying a soldier's bag? This picture had gone viral online and media, online or offline, all over the world had reported it.
Do you remember another picture showing a maid helping her female employer to tie shoe laces?
Definitely you do not want your child to grow up to be weak soldier. Although maid is a domestic helper, there are many things you or your family members should do on your own.
10. Use of Hand Phone
Use of hand phone has caused many conflicts between maid and employer and some employers even resort to confiscate maid's hand phone to prevent maid from using it. It is right that a maid should not use hand phone during work, especially when she is looking after your baby. However employer should not restrict maid from using hand phone when she has completed all tasks and your baby is asleep. Confiscating her phone should only be the last resort if your maid is caught using phone often while looking after your baby or parents.
11. Do not ever abuse your maid
If you do not like your maid for various reasons, do not ever abuse maid verbally or physically, you can simply change her or even badmouth her online. But if you abuse her verbally or physically, you may get into the trouble with law.
A healthy employer-employee relationship is beneficial to both you and the maid. It should start with first a proper communication with reasonable expectation, house rule and personal preference, follow by consistent feedback and rewards for good work. If you manage your maid well and she is willing to follow, she may in the end become an integral part of your family.
Common Questions about Managing Maid
Question 1: Is it okay to keep Maid's Passport on her behalf to prevent her from running away?
Answer: Unless you have the permission of the maid, it is against the law for an employer to keep maid's passport.
Question 2: Is it still okay to ask maid to clean window?
Answer: As announced by the Ministry of Manpower, maids will not be allowed to clean the window exteriors of high-rise HDB flats or apartments unless supervised.This means that you have to be physically present to supervise the maid while she cleaned your window.
You can also ask maids to clean windows in a situation where window grilles have been installed and are locked at all times during the whole cleaning process.
This rule is not applicable for windows that are at the ground level or along common corridors.