(Replacement plan mentioned in the video refers to the redeploying of a new helper to take over the position of the previous helper.)
"Expat Employers - Do You Make These Mistakes in Employing a Maid?"
Maid Employment Evaluation Checklist
1. Ensure that the maid agency is duly licensed by the Singapore Ministry of Manpower to operate. Under the Singapore government regulations, only fully licensed and accredited Singapore maid agencies are allowed to operate. That is to say the agency has to be licensed by the Singapore Ministry of Manpower and accredited by the Consumers Association of Singapore (or the Association of Employment Agencies). The keyword here is "and" - it cannot be "either or". Update: The MOM has since 1 April 2011 made accreditation non-compulsory.
Be sure to check their licences and accreditation documents because an illegal agency can give you more problems than you expect like giving you an "illegal worker", and this means that you're breaking the law by employing an illegal worker.
FACT:If you are looking for a maid through friends, acquaintances or on your own, take a precautionary step by making sure that the maid is legitimate and suitable for your employment by getting a reputable maid agency to check the employment history of the maid before you employ her. Sometimes, her history will surprise you like what it did for some of our clients. (we can help you with an employment history check if you are our processing client.)
Clients told us this shocking fact: In addition, some of our clients who have found their maids through their friends or neighbours told us that their privacy has been compromised because their friend's maid has been "reporting" their daily lives to their friends or neighbours, even though some of their friends or neighbours were overseas. These processing clients subsequently came to us for help to recruit a new helper. They told us that they didn't like having a "spy" in their house, and that the maid did not respect their rights and privacy.
Some clients had it worse: Some of our processing clients were also unfortunate enough to have their friend's maid constantly comparing them with their friends and "how fantastic" their friends had treated them and how they have been "ill-treating" them now. Some of them even have their friends calling them up to "stand up" for their ex-maid! The feedback from these clients was that their friend's maid expects more from them because they are their ex-boss' friends, and the maid expects them to be "fuddy buddy" with them as well.
Do note that generally, there are no guarantee, warranty or protection of any sort from the agency for maid you found on your own because the agency wasn't able to establish whether the maid is suitable for your employment and no "quality control" was done, and as such, they are unable to take any risk on the girl.
2. Ensure that the maid agency is accredited by the Consumers Association of Singapore for Good Business Practices. See point 1 above.
3. Ask to see the testimonials from the agency's clients. Make sure that the maid agency has testimonials from real live satisfied customers. This will mean that they are doing a good job because their customers are willing to say good things about them in writing. Check that these are real testimonials (by asking for the originals) because people can easily invent them. Another way to check is to see whether the testimonials provide details. Invented testimonials normally say very general things like "they are a good agency, and they provide good maids and good service." A reputable agency with lots of real testimonials should be able to help you find the helper of your choice so that the girl can help you take care of your children and other household matters. Instead of trying to solve your maid problems, you can finally live life your way.
4. Ensure that a match-point system is in use to match the right helper to your family. The basic premise is that you and your helper both have different needs and different personalities. Hence, if there is NO match-point system to increase the chance of both of you getting along by the proper matching of needs and personalities, you are more likely to have a headache than have a good helper. After all, you do get along better with people who are more like you, don't you? And, this is what a match-point system is for - to get you and your helper to "click" as closely as possible.
5. Find out whether there is a guarantee with a reasonable time period, should your helper not work out with you. Despite the best match making services in the world, loving couples do get divorced due to changes in their lives. The same thing happens in working relationship in offices and at home. As such, there should be a reasonable guarantee period for 1 or more free replacements should the helper not work out for you. 6 months should be reasonable since the typical office probation period is 3 months. (Replacement here means redeploying a new helper to take over the position of the previous helper.)
6. Check whether there are any hidden fees. There are some agencies charging ridiculously low fees like $0 or $88. Generally, there are hidden fees not mentioned in their advertisements. Do ask what other fees there are. In addition, be aware that you get what you pay for because an agency desperate in undercutting prices is probably in some sort of financial trouble, and may not be around to help you when you need help. A healthy agency will charge a reasonable fee because to provide good customer service to you, they must be able to pay their staff well.
7. Ensure that a family satisfaction program is in place so as to ensure after sales service. What this means is that, should you or any of your family members is dissatisfied with the helper's performance in any way, just give the agency a call, and they will be more than happy to make you satisfied again. In addition, an agency with a family satisfaction program in place will do periodic follow-up phone calls with you to ensure that everything is working out well for you and your helper.