SINGAPORE - The maids we employ may sometimes have to go back to their home countries when there is an emergency in their own families.
While we can sympathise with them, the employer is likely to face a difficult situation here because of her going away suddenly.
In many families, there may be an elderly person or young children to care for, and both parents may have to go to work.
We found our Filipino maid crying, saying her mother, who has breast cancer, was in a critical condition. We felt we had no choice but to let her go home to Manila to be with her mother.
She promised to be back in two weeks and left two phone numbers, in case we wanted to contact her.
We tried to call her to get an update, but found that one number was wrong, and the other went to a fax machine.
We then contacted the maid agency and were told she was actually from another agency. We tried to contact that agency and found it had closed down.
It looks as if the job of the maid agency ceases upon successful placement. But surely, it can do more.
As far as I know, there are always maids awaiting placement. Rather than just have them sit around waiting for news, why not introduce a system of letting them be part-time helpers, who can be paid on an hourly basis?
That will be a big help in these situations.
Now, with the two weeks almost up, it looks like we have no choice but to cope with our maid's absence and wait patiently, hoping she will be back as promised.
FROM READER EUNICE LI DAN YUE
This article was first published on January 12, 2015.
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