We have the best Agony Uncle at Sassy Mama – Andreas is the author of one of our most-recommended books: Hiring & Managing Domestic Help. It’s an absolute must-have for Singapore mamas and you can buy it here!
This week, one mama wants to know what she can do about a helper being mistreated….
I think a helper in my building is being mistreated – or at the very least, working an inhuman number of hours. What, if anything, can I do?
This is a tricky situation. Helper abuse, from physical to verbal, is unfortunately quite common in Singapore. However most abused helpers suffer in silence so as not to be terminated or further abused.
Calling the Ministry of Manpower or even the Police is one option, but they may not be able to do much without clear evidence. Confronting the employers may, unfortunately, only lead to a more abused helper. While it would be the “right thing to do”, I would not contact the authorities without more information about the situation.
There are two things you can and should do. First of all, discreetly urge the helper to contact one of the support organisations for domestic helpers. A good one is the Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics. You should also look around for another employer for the helper, and try to find her a nice family to work for.
For the only guide you’ll ever need on working with a helper, check out Andreas’ fab book ‘Hiring and Managing Domestic Help’ and buy it here.
Do you have a question for Andreas? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Ask Andreas” and we’ll make sure it gets answered on the site!