Employing a MDW

Needs – People need MDWs for many reasons. Most will need the MDW to do household work. Besides this, MDWs may be needed to do the following caregiver tasks:

a. Baby Infant care

b. Elderly care

c. Special care for children e.g. Autism.

d. Critical care and home rehabilitation.

Bear in mind that most MDWs can perform at most one of the caregiver tasks above besides housekeeping. For caregiving, this may be a full-time job. Be very clear what are the main duties for your MDW. Do not expect her to be a ’super woman’.

Job matching - Once you have determined your needs, you have to honestly assess the size and scope of the expected job. A mismatch may stress you and your MDW unnecessarily.

a. Size – The size of your house matters. The typical size of a Singapore home is a HDB 4 room flat or equivalent. For a landed property, this may also include a 100 sqm external area that requires cleaning. If a house is bigger, the MDW may not be able to cope with housekeeping (cleaning, cooking, ironing) and do other caregiver tasks like baby care. The number of pets and their care should also be taken into consideration.

b. Complexity – In most cases, the MDW has to cope with other human beings in a new environment, especially old folks. Additional caregiving duties demand time and even expertise. If you need the MDW to take on caregiving tasks, make sure she is suitably trained and do not overload her. A stressed MDW can be a danger to herself and you!

The size and complexity of the job is declared in the Job Offer form, which is sent to the selected MDW for her concurrence. Job matching can be difficult. For this matter, you may like to engage an EA to help you to find the MDW with the right skills and personality to match your declared job requirements. Members can login to access the Job Offer Form.

Expectations on MDW – Most MDWs are recruited from rural areas and do not have experience with modern equipment and appliances. Certainly, most do not know how to cook our local cuisines. Please set your expectations correctly. Most MDW should be properly trained in ironing and basic cooking skills (preparation and method of cooking). Do not expect her to cook nonya curry or sunny side up. You have to train your MDW to meet your domestic requirements and standards.

Two way relationship - MDW is not a 'thing' to be owned and at your back and call 24 hours. She is a person employed to assist you in your household. Like any other human being, she should be treated with respect, provided with sufficient food and rest, and you need patience to teach her. Do not humiliate or ill treat her. Do not put her in a difficult position between you and your mother or mother-in-law. From experience, those employers who treat their MDW well often get reciprocal performance.

MOM's guide and regulations on employing a MDW. Click here to find out more.