My maid wants to borrow 5 months of her salary because her father is sick.

Dear NotABanker,

Mrs Smith would probably say that is is not such a good idea to advance any money to one's maid. She ought to know because her problem began after she lent her maid money. What transpired between Mrs Smith and her Asian maid Vivi Anna

It would be a good idea when interviewing a maid, to tell her that you do not like to give your maid her salary in advance. Ask her if this is acceptable to her. You will know her attitude if she accepts this without hesitation. But if she asks if you will change your stand if she needs money in an emergency, you will know what to conclude.

A maid who says, "I have never asked for an advance from my previous employers" may or may not still have a sudden need for money; but the maid who asks "What if my parents fall seriously ill and need to pay for medicine and hospital charges?" is almost certain to have a sudden need for an advance in the future.

If only maids will not ask for an advance! For if she does and her employer says no, she may resent her for it. If the employer says yes, she loses what little control she has. If your maid owes you a couple of thousand dollars and your relationship turns sour, do you want to put up with her until she has fully repaid you? This is assuming that she will still be working for you.

If she has been with you for a number years and has always been reliable and you have established a relationship beyond employer-employee and you really want to help her, it would be a different story. You might even be willing to give her the money.

Sometimes a maid, after working for you for a year or two, will ask for a loan when she is going home for a vacation. This puts you in a tight spot. Some maids fail to return regardless of their original intention. They may get pregnant and decide not to return. If a maid is not honest, she may actually be planning not to return.

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