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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Singapore, Mailbox

Help maids upgrade themselves

The Straits Times | Tuesday, May 13, 2014

I often hear horror stories about maids. At the market and on the bus or train, employers can often be heard complaining about maids who run away, mistreat their children, steal food and so on.

It was therefore a surprise to read last Sunday's article ("Courses maid to order"), which stated that more maids are using their days off to attend courses to boost their job prospects, improve their work or better look after themselves.

But the fees for these courses are quite high in relation to the maids' pay. Fortunately, some employers have been generous. My neighbour, for instance, pays his maid's part-time university course fees.

More can be done for these domestic workers. First, migrant worker groups should seek funding to help maids pursue such courses.

Second, the charity groups that send people and money overseas to help the poor should consider assisting these maids, who are directly helping us in our own country.

Third, the local organisations that offer such courses should charge these maids nominal fees.

Fourth, the National Trades

Union Congress should play a part in the training as these maids are really part of our labour force.

Finally, the public sector could provide upgrading courses similar to those tailored for our lower-skilled workers. Besides these efforts, employers should try not to tyre their maids out with unnecessary work, and encourage them to improve themselves.

Letter by Kammo Liu

This article was published on May 11 in The Straits Times.

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