Contract/House Rules for domestic helper

With most families being dual-income-with-kids, outsourcing home cleaning and home economics to domestic helpers is almost a way of life for Singaporeans. Come in and discuss issues pertaining to maids and home management.

Contract/House Rules for domestic helper

Postby buds » Sat Jul 13, 2013 2:44 am

We are currently in a situation whereby we need to seriously consider hiring a domestic helper, as my hubs will be away for some time very soon. We have never had one before and would like to find out with regards as to how a contract/house rules was drafted for your domestic helper. ie. the important clauses to pen down, standard requirements of duties, mobile phone usage, off days, etc.

Looking forward to all your sharings and thanking everyone in advance.

Would love to know if there is a template that you can share. If you are willing to share but not comfortable to reveal in this thread, please do PM me. We are really hoping to be better informed in order for us to handle the administrative process that will follow, upon deciding on one soon.
Last edited by buds on Sat Jul 13, 2013 5:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Contract for domestic helper

Postby TravelMummy » Sat Jul 13, 2013 2:57 am

buds wrote:We are currently in a situation where we need to seriously consider hiring a domestic helper, as hubs will be away for some time very soon. We have never had one before and would like to find out with regards as to how a contract was drafted for your domestic helper. ie. the important clauses to pen down, standard requirements of duties, mobile phone usage, off days, etc.

Looking forward to all your sharings and thanking everyone in advance.

Would love to know if there is a template that you can share. If you are willing to share but not comfortable to reveal in this thread, please do PM me. We are really hoping to be better informed in order for us to handle the administrative process that will follow, upon deciding on one soon.


Hi Buds, there is a standard employment contract on Case's website which you can use. Most employment agencies generally follow thi as well. Good luck with your maid hire!

http://www.case.org.sg/downloads/casetr ... ntract.doc

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Re: Contract for domestic helper

Postby buds » Sat Jul 13, 2013 3:01 am

Hi TravelMummy, thank you for your reply and link. :please:

We have friends/acquaintances who have shared that they draw up a separate contract for their domestic helper apart from the generic one. We are clueless.

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Re: Contract for domestic helper

Postby buds » Sat Jul 13, 2013 3:14 am

By the way, the helper will most likely be an Indonesian one.

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Re: Contract for domestic helper

Postby TravelMummy » Sat Jul 13, 2013 3:55 am

buds wrote:Hi TravelMummy, thank you for your reply and link. :please:

We have friends/acquaintances who have shared that they draw up a separate contract for their domestic helper apart from the generic one. We are clueless.


In my personal humble opinion, Indonesian helpers generally don't fully understand law of contract, and the standard contract would cover all the clauses that are generally legally enforceable within employment law eg off-days, salary, work hours etc. The rest eg hp usage etc is hardly enforceable through contract, legally I mean, nor would most people try to enforce it through the courts. So in my mind, that renders additional contracts unnecessary. However, nothing precludes you from drawing a separate set of rules of behaviour regarding the FDW, communicated verbally mostly, and written down more as a reminder than contractual obligation. These would vary depending on the experience levels of the FDW you hire. Some of the experienced FDW can work almost auto-pilot and would hardly need these reminders, other new ones may need you at their backs all the time. But in general, it would be useful to set down rules such as waking and sleeping hours, hp usage, hours on off days (many can be unpunctual and come back late - lay down clearly your rules and the consequences of violation), food allowed to them, if you so choose to segregate, or not. For Indons, it would be nice to provide a separate set of cutlery for them, and be clear on rules of prayer and fasting. If your hire a less experienced maid, it's probably worthwhile to remind them of consequences of boyfriends, pregnancies and other such misbehavior. Apart from these basic ones at the start, the rest you probably discover as you trundle along and can refine them. Most importantly, just remember that FDW needs motivation to work well like the rest of us and needs to be treated as respectfully and fairly as you would treat any staff member. They don't need to be overwhelmed by a huge set of scary rules on day 1, and with sufficient patience and mutual respect, its amazing how helpful an FDW can be if you earn their respect and gratitude, and the opposite if you don't. I have hired smart ones who don't need much instructions, some can even sing Montessori songs and bake brownies on their own (yes, Indons). My current one can teach Silat and self defence and cook 凉茶 without instruction. Others do crazy things that endanger kids - you catch them and quickly send them back, no need contract enforcement. Good luck!

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Re: Contract/House Rules for domestic helper

Postby buds » Sat Jul 13, 2013 5:44 am

Hi TravelMummy, ahh is that how it's termed ie. house rules? :oops: My apologies. See what I mean by clueless? Really clueless. I have edited the thread title to include the term, house rules. Thank you. Aniwaes, I appreciate everything you penned down. :please: They make sense and sounds like you have sufficient experience with both new and experienced helpers before.

The basic rules do sound like they are a lot already. All good starters by the way to hopefully start off on clear ground of what's most important. Ok, noted. So there's :

1. Waking/sleeping hours
2. Mobile phone usage
3. Off-days and the hours permitted
4. Food consumption
5. Boyfriends, pregnancies and the consequences

These should be clarified on the first day?
Are they expected to work right away on their first day btw?

Anyone included anything about handling of young children/babies in their list of rules?

Keep your posts coming. Appreciate more sharings from experienced employers.

:thankyou:

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Re: Contract/House Rules for domestic helper

Postby TravelMummy » Sat Jul 13, 2013 8:57 am

buds wrote:Hi TravelMummy, ahh is that how it's termed ie. house rules? :oops: My apologies. See what I mean by clueless? Really clueless. I have edited the thread title to include the term, house rules. Thank you. Aniwaes, I appreciate everything you penned down. :please: They make sense and sounds like you have sufficient experience with both new and experienced helpers before.

The basic rules do sound like they are a lot already. All good starters by the way to hopefully start off on clear ground of what's most important. Ok, noted. So there's :

1. Waking/sleeping hours
2. Mobile phone usage
3. Off-days and the hours permitted
4. Food consumption
5. Boyfriends, pregnancies and the consequences

These should be clarified on the first day?
Are they expected to work right away on their first day btw?

Anyone included anything about handling of young children/babies in their list of rules?

Keep your posts coming. Appreciate more sharings from experienced employers.

:thankyou:


There are no hard and fast rules. On first day, it is usually "orientation" - showing maid where she is to sleep, where things are kept in the house etc. You should allow her time to unpack the things. you can prepare a task list, especially if she is inexperienced - like a time schedule of what she is to do when. With some maids, especially experienced ones, you can just prepare a rough task list eg morning prepare breakfast for kids, get laundry done, cook lunch by 11.30am etc. They can then plan their own day. With others, you must plan right down to the very minute or things won't get done. It also depends on what kind of a manager you are - micro-managing or more macro in your approach. If you hire a competent experienced maid, you don't need to micro-manage so much.

As for kids, I think it is very important for you to decide whether this hire is to be your helper or the children's maid, and to begin as you mean to go on. If you don't want the children to be maid dependent in the long term, then you need to establish rules that the children are to pick after themselves and not learn to command maids in an imperious manner. Even as toddlers, they can behave like mini bosses if given the opportunity. While it is important to establish general safety rules - you prob need to decide whether the maid is to be given a set of house keys of her own etc- and specific rules on how to treat kids (like food safety, what to do when ill), you probably will need to take some time to observe her and decide how competent she is before you can decide how much to trust her with.

Interviewing the maid is very important. Personally I don't believe in blindly hiring based on bio data or recommendation and trust in luck. Speak to her, find out what she can or cannot do, go into details on how she carries out her tasks eg if she says she can cook, ask her what she cooks, make her walk through the steps how it is done and assess for yourself if she is genuine article or now. Test her on hygiene practices - hire one you feel good about. All the best! :smile:

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Re: Contract/House Rules for domestic helper

Postby Funz » Sat Jul 13, 2013 11:40 am

These are very good points Travelmummy gave.

Another thing I did for my maid was to put in place incentives for her to work towards. Complete 2 yrs contract with satisfactory performance, she gets a bonus and a raise if her contract is renewed.

As my maid was hired more for chores, I told her though I will need her to pitch in with the kids now and then, chores are the main area that I need her to focus on. In terms of handling the kids, no physical punishments. If they misbehave, she has to come to me. We of course have to teach the kids to respect her as well. She cannot interfere with how we teach or discipline our kids, as in no shielding or coddling. Other stuff when handling kids pertains to hygiene. My maid keeps her hair long but she needs to tie it up when cooking and handling the kids. If she is unwell she has to tell me and she will need to stay away from the kids.

I am very lucky to have a decent and experienced maid. No training needed just a bit of adjustment for her to know our pattern and for us to know her pattern. I did not have to micro-manage her.

You will need to adjust your style of managing them according to how they are. Oh, another thing I made very clear to the maid from day 1, if she gives me grief, I will send her back to Indo. No such thing as transfer.

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Re: Contract/House Rules for domestic helper

Postby Nebbermind » Sun Jul 14, 2013 8:31 am

Rules are useless without enforcement and punishment...so gotta close the loop.

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Re: Contract/House Rules for domestic helper

Postby TheAnswer » Sun Jul 14, 2013 8:54 am

Nebbermind wrote:Rules are useless without enforcement and punishment...so gotta close the loop.


What kind of punishment do you suggest? Is punishment allowed? Not abuse?

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