1. Have clear communication regarding the consequences from very start
The best way to deal with theft is prevention and deterence. Start your relationship with your maid on the right footing by addressing this issue head on.
Having this conversation right from the start allows you to gauge her reaction, and also sets a benchmark for her to know what is at stake if she is caught stealing.
It also shows her that you are an aware employer that cannot be easily hoodwinked or taken for a ride.
What to say during this conversation?
- Cite examples of past maids who tried to steal from you
- Share how you found out and how you caught them
- Explain the immediate and severe consequences the past maids faced
- Help her understand that there is absolutely zero tolerance of theft and trust is paramount in this house
These should be a good enough benchmark for her to not steal from you.
2. Explicitly include consequences in writing signed by both you and helper
Sign a maid theft consequences form between you and your maid.
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This should state in no uncertain terms the consequences and the steps taken if she is found stealing:
- She will be reported to the police with an official police report
- She will be required to pay back in full the amount stolen and/or go to jail
- She will not be pardoned under any circumstances
- Any accomplices / other maids will be jointly investigated and persecuted
- She will be sent back immediately upon serving her jail term
- She will NOT be allowed to work in Singapore again and blacklisted across the nation
Having these in writing should scare her and deter her further from thinking of stealing.
3. Discourage loaning of money for family debts
Remove any reason she might have to loan money from loansharks or other maids.
Most of the time, theft happens because of an unmet financial need or burden either back at home or in their spending.
Monitor her behaviour and habits – maids that have debts and borrow money from people have to surrender a form of identification to their debtors. Make sure your maid has her WP license with her at all times (so you do not break any MOM laws for maids).
Having a debt is a strong enough motive for people to steal.
A bonus tip is for you to encourage her to talk to you should she face any financial burdens back at home. However, be careful to not “jump in” to save her at any financial problem, lest she exploits this.
4. Show 2-3 articles of maid theft and the consequences
Show her with her own eyes that there are other (foolish) maids that have attempted this, and faced the full brunt of the law (not just from their employers but from the Singapore government).
These articles should help you out:
- Stealing of jewelry https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/maid-jailed-for-stealing-more-than-22000-jewellery-11876582
- Stealing of Chanel bag to use on day off https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/maid-jail-steal-employer-chanel-bag-days-off-12031430
- Stealing to pay off debts
5. Place CCTV in house / hallways
Last but not least, you can do what most other employers do and place CCTVs in your house and hallways.
However, do note that this compromises your family’s privacy and you should make sure not to place any of these in sensitive areas.
In addition, be sure to tell your maid about the presence of these cameras to not flout any of MOM’s laws and regulations.