Forum: Let employer, maid enter 'willing seller - willing buyer' arrangement

I agree with the rationale behind Mr Paul Chan Poh Hoi's proposal to let maids work part-time (Make it legal for maids to work part-time, Sept 24).

But legalising it might entice abusive employers to unilaterally force their maids, against their will, into arrangements detrimental to the latter's interests.

The existing rules should be left unchanged to preclude a free hand to the employers.

Nevertheless, employers and their maids should be allowed to reach an amicable prearrangement on a "willing seller - willing buyer" basis.

To preclude dispute, the two parties should enter into a simple written agreement, signed by both parties and copied to the maid's agent, who in turn, will serve as witness to the agreement.

The Manpower Ministry should seriously consider such a compromise, at least on a trial basis, and perhaps establish a standard agreement for the employer, the maid and the maid agent (as a witnessing party) to adopt.

Terms and conditions in the agreement should include the address and owner's particulars of the second residence, nature of work, fee payable per hour, termination of the agreement by either party at short notice (say one week), and other details as deemed fit.

This will be a winning proposition for all parties - it helps the employer in cost saving, it allows maids to earn side income legally and helps the Government lower the number of foreign domestic workers that have to be imported in.

Teoh Woi Khon