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, a newbie family wants to know what essentials to provide for their helper…
Q: Our new helper is starting soon (we are newbies!); what items should be provided by the employer besides bed sheets and towels? Toothpaste, soap, conditioner, shampoo, feminine sanitary products, seasonal clothes?
A: Technically you do not need to provide anything except furnishings for her room and “basic needs”. Examples of basic needs on the Ministry of Manpower website are “food, a bed with mattress, a blanket, towels and toiletries, a fan if the sleeping area has poor ventilation.” I recommend you get more than the bare minimum here; sheets and pillowcases, perhaps some nice curtains and a rug. A gift basket of more upscale toiletries when she starts is a nice gesture, as is repainting a worn helper room in a restful shade before she moves in. A little extra goes a long way towards making a new helper welcome.
As long as she works with you only in Singapore you are not required to provide clothing, unless you want her to wear a uniform. However, you should reimburse for swimwear if she will be swimming with your children or coming on a beach vacation with you. And if you take her with you somewhere cold you should buy her appropriate clothing.
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!