Why can't a maid explain why she wants to transfer to a new family.

Dear CantUnderstand,

Often there is no single reason why an employment relationship breaks down.

A foreign maid does not ask for a transfer because her employer raised her voice. An employer does not dismiss her maid for coming home half an hour late. Quite often many little grievances not attended to build up imperceptibly over time, and then all it takes a tiny irritation to trigger off a split. We all know about the last straw that broke a camel's back.

However, there are also occasions where a single important factor is enough to cause a split, for example:

  1. When a maid is denied privacy and has to sleep in the living room or the kitchen;
  2. When a maid is subjected to physical or other forms of abuse;
  3. When she is made to work for her employer's mother, friend or neighbour three days a week with or without additional compensation; (Incidentally, this is illegal.)
  4. When there is so much work to do that she does not have at least 8 hours of rest at night.
  5. When she has to perform non-domestic duties such as helping out in her employer's shop or office. (This is illegal of course and the maid knows that if she is caught, her work permit will be cancelled and she has to go home. Sometimes, if the authorities wish to prosecute the employer, she is asked to stay and be a witness. Then she is in limbo, she may not be offered a job because employers do not want to be inconvenienced if the maid has to attend court or the police has to take a statement from her.)

Employers do not generally terminate their foreign maid's services for one breach or omission. However, like maids, employers may also have occasion to terminate the contract on a single ground, for example:

  1. She knows, even though she cannot prove it, that her maid is engaged in an illegal or morally questionable activity like:
    1. Moonlighting as a part-time maid;
    2. Engaging in an unwholesome activity;
    3. Shoplifting.
  2. Sneaking out of the house at night;
  3. Beating the child in her care;
  4. Staying out overnight.
One would certainly not want to hire a foreign maid who has been dismissed for cause such as those listed above. And certainly no one looking for a job would admit she was dismissed for beating her employer's child.

Sometimes the reason the maid gives may be genuine, but difficult to believe. For example on maid said that she wanted more privacy. She had to sleep in the kitchen for the four or five years that she had been with the family. Her employer was good to her, she said and she was well paid.

Is this credible? Perhaps.

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