The 10 Maid Problems in Singapore You Must Be Aware Of

Jia Hui

Jia Hui is a content marketer who loves helping others and hopes to make this world a kinder place in any way she can.

Jia Hui

Jia Hui is a content marketer who loves helping others and hopes to make this world a kinder place in any way she can.

Published on

Domestic workers in Singapore have become an important part of society as they leave their home country and place their lives on hold for the sake of their employer’s family. While a maid agency might have helped you get a domestic worker, you are usually the one in charge of how you would handle your working relationship with her at your home. Whether it is migrant domestic workers or not, you should still anticipate the problems or issues that may arise during their stay with your family.

We have rounded up 10 of the common problems of domestic helpers below which can help you prevent or manage them easily. Meanwhile, if you want to know the cost of hiring a maid in Singapore, you can also check it out here.

10 Common Domestic Helper Problems: How to Prevent & Handle Them?

1. They have a hard time getting along with your family

If you hire domestic helpers, they will often undergo a culture shock whenever they move in with a new family, especially for foreign domestic helpers. Whether it be foreign domestic workers or not, they will have a hard time getting used to your family’s culture so there could be a chance that they might not get along with you at first.

You can talk to them first and ask their perspective, and from there, you can give suggestions on how she can adjust. However, you also need to talk with your family members so that you can meet your domestic helper halfway.

2. They are afraid of speaking up

If you hire a foreign domestic helper, there is a chance that they are afraid of speaking up or disclosing everything. There are a lot of factors that may come into play, one of which is different home cultures. Their dishonesty may be rooted in the culture of their home country, so it’s important to be patient in repeating where certain things should be placed or how things should be done.

It is important that you encourage them to ask questions and that you guide them on your preference for household chores.

3. They are always using their phones

From the beginning of their work, it is important that you lay down the house rules with your domestic helper. You should make it clear from the start the things you don’t like, including the frequent use of their phone.

This may be answered by giving her times when they can use their phone such as an emergency, on her break time, or their rest days. Once they have understood these rules, you can also monitor their actions to know if they’re following them.

4. They have bad and bothersome habits

Generally, migrant workers will complete training with their employment agency before they are assigned to a household. During this training, they are taught several things including manners which employers will appreciate. However, this training can’t fix their habits which can bother you. If their habit seems to bother you, quietly and directly point it out. However, avoid sounding accusatory which would hurt their feelings and stress them out.

5. They don’t understand the concept of boundaries

There may be instances when your helper may rudely speak to your elderly loved ones. You can remind them to change their behaviour and be more patient with them. Properly explain to them so that they won’t subject the elderly to verbal abuse or any form of physical abuse.

Aside from this, you can also explain to them the boundaries of Singaporean culture and how the elderly are always treated with respect.

6. They take their time doing each household chore

First-time domestic workers may take their time in doing each house chores. The problem lies usually with the language barrier as they might not understand what they need to do.

You have the option to calmly explain what they need to do for them to understand, or to recommend them language courses so that they could also improve.

7. They are drained emotionally

In a 2015 study by the Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics (HOME), it was found that approximately 24% of domestic helpers in Singapore suffer from poor mental health.

Please take note that domestic helpers are also human so it’s given that they might be facing difficulties or problems of their own aside from yours. Undoubtedly, it may be hard for them as they can’t be immediately with their loved ones due to the boundaries set after they have signed an employment act.

This could be also one of the problems which may be attributed to inadequate care given to your elderly loved ones.

Try to understand their problems and place yourself in their shoes. You can also offer to listen to their problems as it might affect the quality of their work.

Remember to always treat your domestic workers as added family members.

8. They don’t take the initiative

Employment agencies may have trained your helper to be more independent and to take on tasks. However, there are times that misalignment may arise from an employer to a helper. You must relay to them that they can take the initiative on simple tasks that need to be done.

This, in turn, empowers them as they know you trust them to do tasks efficiently without your command.

9. They don’t take their day-off

There are various factors why your helper is refusing to take a scheduled day off such as when they want to impress you or when they need extra money. You can express your concern directly and tell them that they might be overworked in the long run and perform poorly in tasks.

You can also reorganise their tasks so they can manage their time better or you can introduce them to various activities which would help them relax on their day off.

10. They don’t tell you when they make a mistake

There are times that your helper may refuse to tell you any mistake they might have made as they may fear losing their job. You can reassure them that accidents do happen during the job and that you won’t send them back to their home country nor complain to the employment agency as this might lead to them keeping more things from you.

It’s important to carefully explain the importance of being informed of any accident or mishap during their job so they won’t lie or hide things from you.


Domestic workers in Singapore have become an important part of society as they leave their home country and place their lives on hold for the sake of their employer’s family.

However, while the number of domestic workers in Singapore increases, this doesn’t mean that the issue of maid abuse has been finally solved. There are still cases of physical and emotional abuse among domestic workers in Singapore which must be properly addressed.

While hiring a domestic worker can be helpful, there are times when professional help is needed. For example, if you’re already an elderly woman caring for a fellow elderly maybe a live-in caregiver or part-time caregiver be the best option for you.

Retire Genie boasts one of the best old age home Singapore offers to give the best care for the elderly and help them live their best lives.

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Your elderly support services, now easily accessible anytime and anywhere in Singapore you are. You can ease your worries knowing that help is always on the way. Download our app today and try it for yourself!