In Singapore, it is not uncommon for working parents to arrange for nannies to take care of their children if they are too young to attend kindergarten.
Recently, a pair of parents complained that the nanny they entrusted their daughter to is simultaneously taking care of five children, and she requires the help of a maid to manage all of them.
Hence, they are seriously doubting her professionalism and the legality of the situation.
Three Too Many
Pan Lianfu, the 45-year-old father, told Shin Min Daily News that he found the nanny from a Facebook group last year.
After considering the convenience of the location, he decided to entrust his infant daughter to the other party, and he would pay $950 every month.
He said, “The nanny initially said that she only has another child that she is responsible for. But after we sent our daughter there, we discovered that there were at least two to three children who were under her care.”
Although some of the children would not be in her custody for the long-term, they would still stay at the nanny’s house for a month at least. Even if the children are only staying there for half a day, the parents question if she can take care of all of them at the same time.
Apart from the children she has been entrusted with, the nanny also has a three-year-old son that needs her attention.
That is five children in total.
“Because there are too many children, her maid needs to help her look after them, and this isn’t legal.”
At this point, the nanny is practically running a mini day care centre.
Mr Pan also revealed that his daughter has been crying more after she was sent to the nanny. He has reason to believe that the nanny simply leaves the children to cry while they are under her care, instead of soothing them in a timely manner.
The oddest part of the nanny, perhaps, is the fact that she would send videos of his daughter crying to him frequently.
Then she would say that letting the child cry trains her independence.
However, Mr Pan feels that the method is inappropriate since his daughter is still very young.
Besides this, he heard that the nanny gave birth again last week. Even through her pregnancy and postpartum month, she is still helping other people take care of their child.
Daughter Left To Cry After Contracting COVID-19
Earlier this February, Mr Pan’s daughter tested positive for COVID-19 after he sent her to the nanny’s home.
When the parents arrived at the nanny’s house, they saw their daughter sitting in a walker and crying out loud.
The nanny and two other adults merely stood at the side, watching. No one went forward to hug or console their daughter, which made Mr Pan extremely angry.
Needless to say, Mr Pan did not entrust his daughter to that nanny ever again after that incident.
During the two weeks his daughter was sick, he did not send her over to the nanny. Since he was no longer hiring her for her services, he asked for a refund, but the nanny rebuffed him.
Terms of A Maid’s Contract
For foreign domestic workers, their work permits come with conditions attached, both to ensure that they do not take additional jobs on their own accord, and to ensure that they are protected from overworking and ridiculous demands.
Hired maids are only allowed to assist their employers, which includes doing their employer’s housework and taking care of their employer’s children.
If the maid reports this to the authorities, she may be required to change her employer.
Therefore, it is very important that an employer communicates the expected job scope to the foreign domestic worker after hiring them, to ensure that both parties are on the same page.
For instance, if a tutor uses her own study to teach her students, she needs to explain to her maid that her job includes cleaning up the study room, lest the maid assumes that it “crosses boundaries”.
After all, there has been a case where a maid told the authorities that she was made to do housework at her employer’s mother’s home. Not only was the maid ordered to find a new employer, but the employer was also prohibited from hiring maids for half a year.
Nanny: My Husband and Father Helps
When the Chinese newspaper report interviewed the nanny to learn more about the situation on Monday (26 Sep), she said that besides her own three-year-old son and six-day-old baby, she has other children to take care of.
However, she doesn’t see an issue with this arrangement because her husband, father, and maid help her take care of the children.
… Yeah, this is an actual day care centre now.
When asked about why she did not soothe Mr Pan’s daughter, the nanny said that they stood at the side because they were worried that they might pass on the virus to the other children after coming in contact with the girl.
The nanny turned the tables on Mr Pan too, pointing out that it was irresponsible of them to send their daughter to her house even though they already knew that her temperature was becoming feverish.
The nanny, who asked not to be named, said that she notified authorities about her home-based business and has declared her income.
She said she takes care of the children just like how kindergarten teachers would. If the child starts crying and throwing a fuss, she usually waits for them to stop crying before she carries them.
She insists that this will make them independent, adding that she treats her own children the same way.
People who work in the same line believe that taking care of two children is the maximum.
Mrs Huang, a nanny who has 20 years of experience, remarked that under normal circumstances, taking care of two children simultaneously is the limit.
She added that even if a nanny was taking care of two children, it can’t both be infants, one of them needs to be six months old at least.
“There’s no way one person can take care of four children at once.”
Mrs Huang also stated that children should be consoled immediately if they are crying. “No matter how old they are, they need to be coaxed, to say nothing of babies.”
However, Mrs Huang stressed that if someone wishes to end the trusteeship, they need to notify the other party one month in advance. Usually, there are no refunds for the remaining money if the arrangement is suddenly cancelled.
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Featured Image: Shin Min Daily News 新明日报
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