Understanding your household needs as an employer of a foreign domestic helper (maid)

Published on 16 Dec 2023, last updated on 2 Feb 2024


Outline needs and priorities

Domestic helpers often perform varied duties: cooking, childcare, elderly care, housekeeping, laundry, pet care, gardening, grocery shopping etc. As a potential employer of a domestic helper, it is important to identify which duties are primary versus secondary duties and how many of those roles the domestic helper is expected to be taking on. This will allow employers to make an informed hiring decision and also manage the expectations of all stakeholders involved: the employer themselves, the domestic helper and other family members.

Pinkcollar has observed that scoping primary duties to 1-2 job scopes, especially for attention-intensive duties such as infant care and elderly care, allows for a more sustainable work environment for both helpers and employers

It is important to be aware of the permissible scope of duties by migrant domestic helpers under Malaysian and source-country laws. These can be found in the governing employment contracts and Malaysian Immigration guidelines. Common non-permissive activities include:

  • Car-washing
  • Window-cleaning
  • Cleaning an employer’s office/shoplot
  • Cleaning more than 1 household residence

Understand other household family members’ expectations

Employers are encouraged to have a family discussion around expectations on both the domestic helper’s role as well as the responsibilities of different family members. It is key for everyone in the family to be on the same page in order to ensure a healthy working environment.


Communicating needs and expectations clearly

Employers need to ensure that they communicate their expectations to the domestic helper during the interview process as clearly as possible. It is important to set clear expectations about role duties and responsibilities upfront in order to avoid surprises down the road.


Align employer needs with domestic helper expectations

Employers should also make sure to get to know the domestic helper’s expectations, as well as their capabilities, experience, preferences and potential. It is important to do this during the interview process in order to ensure that the helper’s role expectations are aligned with the job role that the employer is hiring.

Read our Domestic Helper (Maid) Interview Guide to get you started.

Have more questions?

Pinkcollar is more than happy to guide you through the hiring process. View our services or give us a call—our friendly Pinkcollar officers are ready to share our service offerings with you.

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