maid in Malaysia

(19 Posts)
Gauri Sat 29-Dec-12 14:43:03

Long time poster but have name changed.

We moved to Malaysia some months ago from the US and are looking to get a maid to help with home care and child care.

This would be the first time we would have a maid. What should we look out for? We have interviewed Filipinos and Indonesian maids but are confused about a number of things.

1. If we apply for the maids employment pass, what happens if the maid gets pregnant?
2. What the complications if things dont work out and we no longer want to keep the maid? Is it simple to sack them?
3. How easy is it to get good maids?
4. what is a good maid?
5. What should we expect?

Thanks

Why name change?

No experience of Malaysia but I would imagine would be similar to singapore and Hong kong.

1. she would normally be deported.

2. yes very simple. One month wages and haste la vista.Employing someone legally through a proper contract established by an established agency will protect both you and the employee.

3. As easy/difficult as getting a decent employer. They have more to fear than you usually. Very precarious situation for most women.

4. see above: what is a decent employer? If you are specific and reasonable about your expectations and provide decent pay, respect and good living conditions, you will usually get someone who will happily slave away for your family with gratitude.

5. that is for you to answer.

There is a huge scale of expectations.
Some maids will simply clean up, walk the dog and cook simple meals, and maybe babysit a bit (typical expat western employer) others will work round the clock taking care of a large household (kids and aging parents) + cook and be expected to serve elaborate meals at all hours of the day and night (chinese, indian families etc…).
I don't mean to be rude or stereotyping but if you are in the latter category, be very specific and pay generously.
Am a cross between the 2 and have had the same helper for years. A bit of luck am sure but mainly a lot of respect, regular pay rises or bonuses for extra work. She's like a big sister to the kids.
The relationship is really entirely what you as a family make it. She will take her cues from you.

It is also entirely possible that the chemistry doesn't work from the start. You should have no qualms about dismissing and finding someone else. It happens very often and she will find another job provided that you are straightforward with the agency.
Make sure you use a good agency to make the process completely dispassionate and fair for everyone.

hope that helps.

Astelia Sun 30-Dec-12 06:38:41

laptop has summed it all up brilliantly. I second using a good agency, get one through a recommendation. DH and I work long hours so needed someone to take care of everything in our absence. We chose someone older, very experienced who spoke good English and could read English well. She is always cheerful and cooks like a dream. We are very lucky.

deXavia Sun 30-Dec-12 07:53:50

Agree laptop sums it up well.

Be really honest with yourselves upfront what your expectations are. Do you both work or is one of you at home? Is the role closer to au pair, housekeeper or nanny - if you're unsure list down what you'd expect her to do during the week - laundry, shopping, baby sitting (supervise home work or teenage peace keeping - depending on ages of DC) cleaning .... You can do worse than check out some of the threads in the au pair topic! As laptop says there are huge differences in expectations so don't just base it on what your friends do

Also what are your personal preferences - someone younger maybe easier to live with but may want to stay out late on time off, someone older but still young may be leaving their own baby/young kids behind to work for you (but this may be significantly better financially for them as a family) and someone older may be more responsible but set in her ways. There is no right or wrong here just your own choices.

And finally try to think and call her a 'helper' IMO this will give you a much clearer view on expectation than 'maid'

Gauri Sun 30-Dec-12 13:06:01

Laptop and everyone. Thank you so much for your replies.

You are so right. I am hiring a helper, now a maid.

How important are references? The person we have short listed says she cannot provide any. We know her through word of mouth not an agency. She says she worked with one family for 6 years but cannot provide a ref as they won't be favourable!

All this is so new to me and such a minefield.

In terms of cooking, she has said she does not like it but will do it. For us, as long as she makes the kids tea and preps some of the dinner, that's all we need.

You are all right too, about treating her fairly.

Is the process to get her work permit on our own straight forward?

Astelia Sun 30-Dec-12 23:31:10

Hi Gauri, she does not sound suitable at all. I think you will be getting a lot of problems if you hire someone who can't provide good refs and who says she doesn't like to cook. Even if the cooking thing doesn't bother you the other is a major red flag. The fact that she actually said she doesn't like cooking- not that she isn't good at it but is willing to practise- means she sounds inflexible and difficult.

ripsishere Mon 31-Dec-12 00:03:21

We're in KL. At the moment, from my reading of the Star, it seems domestic workers are in a state of flux.
IME, and bear in mind this is 10 years ago, Fillipinas are honest, trustworthy and very good with children.

Hi Gauri,

If you are happy with the recommendation I would be inclined to say trust your instinct.
BUT, it is imperative you still go through an agency. She may want to bypass that as she will have to forfeit a month's wages as a comission. So if you really want to sign her, I would suggest paying the commission yourself and having the paperwork done properly.

Now, I also think that if she is being fussy about cooking, she might be about other things.
You are the one dictating the terms of employment. You must not feel like you are imposing. You have requirements. If she does not meet them, find someone who will. Equally, she will find someone who is content with what she has to offer. There is is no hardship there.

We settled for someone younger and eager to learn. That worked well for us. She learned our ways and we had a lot of patience to let her grow into her role.
Many of my friends prefer someone older. I personally could not deal with seeing a mature woman play with my kids knowing she had left her own behind.

Astelia Mon 31-Dec-12 05:32:56

Like laptop I didn't want someone to leave their young children to look after us. My helper's children are late teens and early twenties.

She rules them with a rod of iron from thousands of miles away and they are all doing really well in college/careers. It is very impressive.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Mon 31-Dec-12 05:48:04

rip not sure you can generalise tbh. There are honest Filipina helpers and there are also those who lie and steal. That's why I personally would be reluctant to employ someone with no reference who'd worked for someone for 6 years. If the reference is unfavourable, that suggests there was an 'inciting incident' as opposed to just general dissatisfaction as I otherwise, why did they keep her for 6 years? Also the reluctance to cook would put me off. As others have said, we have requirements and they have preferences- some want to basically be nannies, others just want to clean and cook. Whilst sometimes you have to compromise, there are enough who like cooking for this not to be an issue.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Mon 31-Dec-12 05:50:46

My helper is in her mid-40s and has 2 sons in their twenties. I prefer an older helper as there seem to be fewer family dramas- either they've kicked their feckless arse of a husband into touch by then or they've resigned themselves to it.

MuffinTumMum Mon 31-Dec-12 12:14:22

Agree with Richman. Ask yourself this. Would you employ a nanny or an au pair in the uk without any sort of reference? If the answer is no then don't for goodness sake do it now. Wait for the right person. Don't feel pressure to take the first person that comes along. There is a reason this person doesn't have a reference. And yes the last employer may have been an arse but are you willing to take that word from a stranger? I have employed helpers for a number of years and whilst I have had fab experiences I also know stories that would make your hair turn grey. Yes trust your instinct but also exercise common sense as an employer. Good luck!

ripsishere Tue 01-Jan-13 00:26:34

<wise> Richman.
Happy new year one and all in Malaysia,

CanYouHearMe Tue 01-Jan-13 00:38:50

contact AAM they may be able to put you in touch with a family looking to re-employ their maid

Gauri Tue 01-Jan-13 09:44:02

Thanks all for the very good advice.

I will press again for a reference.

Happy new year by the way.

Re. The cooking, she said she was willing to learn. She said her husband does all the cooking at her home.

would going through an agency mean I get better references?

Some of you have mentioned age. The one we have short listed is young and so far does not have any children of her own. Her DH is also working in kl so she will not be a live in helper...

All so confusing.

Gauri Tue 01-Jan-13 09:47:11

Thank you for your am reference.

Gauri Tue 01-Jan-13 09:48:18

AAM reference. Hate autocorrect.

SaraBellumHertz Tue 01-Jan-13 10:05:55

Not in Malaysia but I have a Filipina maid in the ME.

For me she didn't tick any of my boxes but when I met her I liked her and the relationship has worked - I think there is a strong element of trust your gut instinct.

The only two points for me that were non negotiable were that I didn't want someone who had left young children and I wanted someone who had been in the country for a period of time - so that she knew what to expect.

My helper is in her late 20's unmarried and no children. She has family nearby and although there exists the potential for boyfriend issues I am happier with that scenario than someone who has essentially given up their own DC.

My top tip us to be really clear what you want from the outset and accept that there will be ups and downs - the relationship can be quite intense at times - address issues promptly and don't let things go early on if they're important to you because it's hard to go back.

SaraBellumHertz Tue 01-Jan-13 10:07:11

Sorry just seen you're not looking at live in - I think that makes the relationship slightly easier.

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