I have had my fair share of helper woes in the past 2 years that she has been with us. Don’t get me wrong! She is great with Wafiy. He adores her and loves it when she spends time with him and his toys. I value the time she spent with the household chores/cooking when I am caught up with work & the shop. I feel that she has become a part of the family. And in most families, there are bound to be some unhappiness as and when.
We have since renewed her contract for another 2 years. She is home-bound for a short break to be with her family and settling her son’s circumcision event back at Semarang.
I guess I need to let go a lil, in a sense that I can’t expect things to be done fast like how I am used to doing stuffs on my own. It’s a steep learning curve for me when it comes to handling helper issues like their work permit renewals, creating bank card, PATIENCE, etc.
I let her use the phone as and when provided that she doesn’t neglect her duties and Wafiy of course. She has 2 young children aged 5 and 9, so they rely on WhatsApp videos to communicate with each other. She uses FB and IG and talks about the latest mobile phones and of which I would take it that she is a lil’ tech savvy. Here’s on instance which I just have to point out a lil, which got me frustrated a lil.
With the new ruling, as of 1 January 2019, you are not to hold on to your helper’s salary even if she asks you to. [link].
I have been holding on and keeping a record of her salary in my bank account for ease of transfer to her families in Indonesia. If you are using DBS, remittance is free to Indonesia but of course following DBS’s bank rates.
Creating your Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW) bank account is another learning point for me. For new FDW, you can take a look at this link.
For my current helper, I went down to DBS thinking that it’d be similar to us Singaporeans, bring passport & work permit and should be smooth sailing! But noooooo… the bank teller was telling me that if I want to create at the bank, she will be asked to maintain the $500 minimum amount in the account else there will be a monthly fee deduction. So they redirected me to go down and register with CDE for their POSB account so that they do not need to keep any minimum amount in their accounts. You can pop over to either one of the 3 locations.
- CDE @ City Plaza, 810 Geylang Road #02-01 Singapore 409286
- CDE @ Lucky Plaza, 304 Orchard Road #04-05 Singapore 238863
- CDE @ Peninsula Plaza, 111 North Bridge Road #02-42 Singapore 179098
Open: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 6pm
Closed: Mondays and Public Holidays.
One day gone, need to find another day to do the registration. -__- You need to bring down their passport, work permit and pls pls pls make sure that she has a valid email address. In the 2 years that she has been with us, she has changed her email address numerous times, all coz she can’t recall her password. -_- So before registering at CDE, I kept on asking her to reister one and take note of the password. Din’t do it till we were about to reach the place. With your son running around and trying to explain and make her register one! OMG! I can pull out my hair! So after registering one for her, I ensure that she needs to remember the password! Say ok and all. Ouh and make sure that she also has a valid mobile number coz it’s needed for bank transactions using OTP.
2 weeks later, all the activation letters came so it took a while for me to set it up coz of work schedules etc. When we finally got down to it, guess what, she gave the wrong mobile number! She renewed her SIM card and because she was frequently using WhatsApp, the number in her hp wasn’t affected even after she changed her SIM card. They needed an OPT activation for 1st time login to DBS/POSB Internet Banking. I had to make a call to POSB and lo and behold! You need to come down to the bank for the mobile number change. $%#@#$@ Another day spent to go down to the bank, among the million other things that you have to do.
When we finally made time to go down to the bank, the teller asked her to check her details – new phone number and EMAIL ADDRESS (notice I bolded this… will explain later) !! I kept asking her can you log in to this. All ok? Need to chg to her existing one etc… she kept insisting on the one that was registered with me. So they made her sign the changes, activated her ATM card, put in her salary and all was settled ‘cept her internet banking.
While we were already at it, I assisted her with her internet banking. So she managed to get in and see all her account details. Settled! Next was adding in her husband’s bank account details. I was asking her for the details. She asked me back for it! Seresly! I gave her a death stare! Ok nevermind. I tried to add in the remittance details, they required an email OTP. So I asked her to log in to her email account and guess what! She forgot the password and somehow she just couldn’t log in.
With the lil’ one craving for my attention, my agitation coz of all the email/mobile phone number fiasco with her, I just told her to settle the email address issue and do another day.
I guess with all the crazy hormones going on, I just don’t have the patience for all of these. I was telling the husband that before I lose my cool, he better handle everything! I don’t have the time to go through another ATM/Internet Banking process when I have done everything and it points down to human error!
Renewal of Work Permit
As I have mentioned, she has just completed her 2 years with us mid March. I got a notification to renew her work permit months ahead. The good thing about renewing on my own – no more agent fees. Just that I have to apply and update everything on my own. I had to renew her insurance which I went with NTUC Income. I went down to a counter over at Jurong Point. Here are the details. [link] We settled for renewing her for another 2 years and went ahead to pay the excess $250. This safeguards us to not pay for the $6000 new security bond that the Indonesian Embassy has imposed all their Indonesian workers in Singapore. In case anything happens, this bond will be paid through the insurance company instead of from the employers themselves.
Info on the Bond [link]
Once you get their insurance done, you can go online to renew their work permit which will take a few minutes to complete. You will need your SingPass to log in to MOM’s website for the application. It costs SGD$35 for the renewal. For a detailed information on this, click here.
KPIS for Travelling Back to Indonesia
When she came to Singapore, she only had her passport and her work permit with her. She frequently get notices & updates among the Indonesian helpers in Singapore about new ruling, requirements etc from a FB group that she joined. So one of which is having a KPIS card. It’s somewhat like an identity card that is issued by Singapore for all Indonesia workers here. There have been issues when a helper travels back for their break and when they need to travel back to Singapore, they had a few run ins with the Indonesian immigration requesting them to prove that they are working in Singapore (as if the Singapore Work Permit isn’t a good enough proof). So hence, I would suggest that each employer take some time off to bring their Indonesian FDW to the Indonesian Embassy at 7 Chatsworth Rd, Singapore 249761, and assist them with the application. Depending on the queue to go in, I would say take a day off to go with them on this. The application process takes a few minutes but waiting for the card and the letter takes a while. You will need to bring down their passport, their Work Permit, salary info and their address info in Indonesia. Make sure that their insurance is also valid.
My helper is going back this fasting month all the way till mid Raya. Wishing myself all the luck I can get to get through the busy period with home and the shop! Tawakkal!