01 July 2014

Relationship with your maid

I just read The sacrifice my Filipino maid makes.

It speaks of a compassionate and understanding employer. Of which I am sure there are many.

The relationship between an employer and maid is different from an employer and a normal employee, because:
  • your maid lives with you
  • you see your maid everyday, the whole day and night
  • you pay for her food and accommodation.

I completely agree with Timothy Tiah that foreign domestic maids (Filipino, Indonesian etc.) sacrifice a lot leaving their families behind to earn a living abroad. And for the service they provide, they must be treated right.

Malaysia has had its share of maid abuse cases as well as maids abusing their employers or robbing them. I guess it's just human nature. People make mistakes, people commit crime, people break down under work or emotional stress.

My Indonesian maid is into her 10th year with me.

You could say I am lucky to have a good maid who has stuck with me for so long.

But you could also say that my maid is lucky to have a good employer like me, otherwise why would she stay, right? I think many people do not give credit to good employers, only sensationalising the bad ones and constantly sympathizing with the maids.

It is not a one way street - it is always 2 ways.

Of late, I am starting to feel that I am being too accommodating to my maid. These are some of the things that my maid enjoys:
  • annual increments that range from 11%-20%. This is certainly higher than what many working people out there get
  • she gets her salary net, as she does not need to pay anything for her board and lodging. Any employee out there gets this deal?
  • works in a comfortable, safe and clean environment
  • we have taught her English, hygiene, how to save up her money and invest back home
  • able to take naps, whenever
  • having worked for me for so long, I no longer dictate her work schedule. I trust she knows her work well enough. But of course, being human, who doesn't slack off? Do I say anything? Hardly. If I do, I have to put up with her sour face. Do employees out there pout when their bosses yell at them for rotten work? And I don't even yell. Nope, don't even raise my voice. Heck, I remember my boss raising his/ her voice at me when I was still working!
  • putting up with my maid's moods. Which are getting worse over the years. I thought employees were the ones who had to "read the weather" and tread warily around their erratic bosses. Not maids, I guess.
  • I drive her to her orthodontics treatment. She pays for it herself (of course!)
  • Paid-for return air tickets for her holidays back home.
  • Chinese New Year ang pau, birthday cake and ang pau. The first time she got a birthday cake from us she cried. Now, she takes it for granted. Only human, as the novelty wears off.
  • and, I am no lady of leisure who does nothing. I am hands on with house work and garden work, so nobody say the maid does everything!

I realise I am making a gripe list....needed it today.