How To Avoid Switching Foreign Domestic Helpers Frequently?

Many of us have heard stories from our relatives or friends regarding their domestic helper, and more often than not, there are frustrations involved – be it due to a language barrier, different living habits, etc..

With the high cost of hiring or rehiring maids, switching your foreign domestic helper at the first instance of any mistake or dispute may not be a wise choice. Before you hire or rehire a domestic helper, read the following to learn how you can get off on the right foot for a lasting maid-employer relationship.

As the saying goes, “Well begun is half done” and in the case of maid employment, one should have a trusted maid insurance that protects both the employer and your domestic helper. Did you know that the affordable ePROTECT maid from Tiq by Etiqa covers termination and re-hiring expenses? Learn more

Do a thorough background check

Every household has different needs and requirements. To find a domestic helper that fits well in your home, it’s best to do a thorough background check since the more information you have, the more you will be able to assess her suitability.

Be it a direct hire or through an agency, you can check a maid’s employment history through the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) website. All you will need are her basic details and your SingPass account.

Using the records, you can determine if a domestic helper has related experiences and at the same time, check for discrepancies between what she (or her agency) has told you. Be sure to keep a lookout for reports or referrals from previous employers as well.

Get a direct hire or transfer maid

Direct hiring, as the name suggests, refers to getting domestic help on your own, without going through an employment agency.

With a direct hire or transfer maid, there is usually a higher chance of getting along with your helper – especially if you are hiring her through someone you already know and trust. This also allows for in-person interviewing, which can further help you gauge if the domestic helper is a suitable candidate for your household.

With the right questions, an interview can also help to set the right expectations for both employer and maid. Some important points to consider would be:

  • Reason(s) for leaving her previous employment (vague answers are a red flag and more prodding should be done to find out the actual reason)
  • Difficulties or challenges that she faced in her previous jobs
  • Does she have dependents, in particular young children?
  • Cooking experience and speed of doing housework (this writer has heard of a maid who can cook very well but took 3 hours to complete a meal)
  • What sort of hours is she used to keeping?
  • What does she like to do during her free time? (Try to understand her personality and preference to see if you can get along)

Be it a direct hire or through a maid agency, it’s best to choose a helper with a high retention rate (if she can stay with another employer for a reasonable length of time, it’s likely that she can do the same for your household).

Treat her with respect

Ever came across complaints from your friends that their domestic helper often breaks or spoils things unintentionally at home? Well, one should still try to be grateful and keep in mind that the domestic helper that you are hiring is going to help you with your household chores. She will get better with proper guidance.

Also, there should always be mutual respect. A good employer provides a fair contract and ensures that your helper understands and agrees with all the terms in the contract. Prior to hiring, you should communicate and reach a common consensus regarding her personal time. Setting the right expectations from the start can help both parties to avoid future disputes or unhappiness.

Sometimes, disrespect derives from simple ignorance or a lack of empathy that may easily escalate into something more serious. ePROTECT maid covers your maid with the right insurance coverage while safeguarding employer from unexpected expenses and liabilities, including medical expenses reimbursement in case of abuse by maid.

 Communicate properly with clear instructions

Proper communication is the key to building trust and a healthy relationship, which is important since your domestic helper will be staying together with you and your family. Keep in mind that she comes from a different country with a different culture and customs.

Hence, it’s best not to assume that she should know things that we sometimes do on auto-pilot (i.e. taking public transport, buying groceries, cooking with modern household appliances, etc.). Be patient and give her time to learn and adapt.

To avoid miscommunication or ambiguity, consider drawing up a timetable, or create a list of tasks to be carried out each day and allow your maid to plan her own timetable. While it takes time to guide your domestic helper at the beginning, she will be able to help you tremendously in the long run.

Take care of her well-being

Lately, there has been news of a maid who hit a bedridden elderly woman and a domestic helper who tried to blackmail a married man with their intimate photos amongst other maid-related problems – often due to mental health issues. In such cases, switching your domestic helper is inevitable.

However, being aware of potential mental health issues and taking precaution by keeping your helper’s well-being in mind can help you and your family to avoid the inevitable. To begin with, your helper needs to feel safe in your household and adequate maid insurance that covers her in case of an accident is necessary.

It’s also helpful to set aside time for a regular sharing session (e.g. 15 minutes every fortnightly) to talk about the good things and challenges in the household where both parties can express your feelings and feedback, and explore how things can be improved.

Maintaining an inclusive environment shall help your domestic helper feel more at ease, and be more motivated in her work.

You may like this:

What happens if you switch domestic helpers too frequently?

We have heard from friends who encountered unsuitable domestic helpers consecutively; i.e. maids who stole, ran away or abused the elderly. Sometimes, it really boils down to bad luck. Well, here’s what you need to know about switching maids too frequently.

If you switch your maid more than three times a year, you will be considered a Frequent Change Employer by MOM. This means that you will have to meet with MOM for an interview or attend an Employers’ Orientation Programme (EOP) in order to hire your 4th (or more) domestic helper within a 12-month period.

The EOP is a 3-hour programme that helps employers understand their role and responsibilities towards a migrant domestic worker. It costs between S$35 to $60 for classroom learning or S$35 for online learning. This extra cost is on top of termination and re-hiring expenses. However, some maid insurance such as ePROTECT maid covers the termination and re-hiring expenses under certain circumstances.

Give and take – can lah

Living with our loved ones can be tough at times, so it hardly comes as a surprise if one encounters conflicts or frustrations with their foreign domestic helper. The key is to give and take.

Bear in mind that getting a suitable foreign domestic helper is akin to finding the right gemstone. It may take some time to locate the right candidate, and further polishing is required to make one shine. However, your domestic helper can be invaluable in the long run.

If you are planning to hire a foreign domestic helper or trying to reach a common consensus with your current maid, here’s a complete guide on how to hire a maid. While you are at it, don’t miss out on the most affordable maid insurance in town. For the latest promotions, bookmark this page, can?


Information is accurate as at 09 September 2022. This policy is underwritten by Etiqa Insurance Pte. Ltd. (Company Reg. No. 201331905K). Protected up to specified limits by SDIC.

Tiq by Etiqa Insurance Pte. Ltd.

A digital insurance channel that embraces changes to provide simple and convenient protection, Tiq’s mission is to make insurance transparent and accessible, inspiring you today to be prepared for life’s surprises and inevitabilities, while empowering you to “Live Unlimited” and take control of your tomorrow.

With a shared vision to change the paradigm of insurance and reshape customer experience, Etiqa created the strong foundation for Tiq. Because life never stops changing, Etiqa never stops progressing. A licensed life and general insurance company registered in the Republic of Singapore and regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Etiqa is governed by the Insurance Act and has been providing insurance solutions since 1961. It is 69% owned by Maybank, Southeast Asia’s fourth largest banking group, with more than 22 million customers in 20 countries; and 31% owned by Ageas, an international insurance group with 33 million customers across 16 countries.

Discover the full range of Tiq online insurance plans here.



Be the first to know
Get the latest promotions and news

Please share with us which topics interest you:
Financial Planning
Health & Wellness
Travel & Leisure
For the Millennials
Promotions & Giveaways

I consent and agree for Etiqa Insurance to collect, use and disclose the personal data above for the purposes of validation and sending, via telephone calls and text message. Read Etiqa's Privacy Policy [here]