Category: Work-Life Balance

Is Having a Maid Frugal?

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In addition to ordering food and booking a taxi, now you can get domestic help via your mobile.

I’ve been asked this by some couples who are full-time professionals. And my opinion on this is somewhat unconventional among my peers. I grew up in the West, and having a live-in maid was only an option for the very wealthy. This is because domestic workers in the West get the same employment rights as other workers. They get overtime pay, paid time-off, sick leave, health insurance, Social Security (which is similar to CPF), and regular holidays. Having a maid in Singapore, however, is far more affordable as cheap migrant labor is abundant in Southeast Asia. And they don’t have the same employment rights. (more…)

The Question Nobody Asks When it Comes to Work-Life Balance

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Before trying to balance work with life, you should consider this question. (Photo by Andrew Leddy)

It seems that work-life balance is something more and more people are striving for these days. I recently attended a “work-life balance” seminar especially aimed towards women, which was given by a government-supported agency. I was hoping to learn another expert’s view on this. Unfortunately, the expert failed to ask an essential question before tackling how to achieve this balance. (more…)

Is the NTUC Membership Worth It?

Here are 7 reasons why NTUC membership is well worth the price.

The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) is the sole national trade union centre in Singapore that is affiliated with 60 trade unions and 1 taxi association. The membership is open to anyone age 16 and older, except personnel from Singapore Police Force, Singapore Prisons, Auxiliary Police bodies, foreign domestic workers and full-time students. For my family, the membership is definitely worth it; in fact, it pays for itself. Here’s what you get by paying their annual membership fee of $117: (more…)

When Does a Job Becomes Exploitative?

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An employer-employee relationship should be fair, equitable, and consensual for both parties.

Jobs give us a source of income, a sense of security, a structure to our day, a means of networking and social connections, and an identity. But since all things come with a price, it is important to sometimes reflect on what we are exchanging for these career benefits. More importantly, we need to ask ourselves if the exchange is (or continues to be) fair, meaningful, and consensual. Often a relationship, particularly an employer-employee relationship, starts out as fair, meaningful, and consensual for both parties. But over time, can morph into a lopsided or even exploitative relationship. In fact, this happens very naturally and very commonly in a capitalistic society. Though it does not need to be this way as there are many businesses that practice “conscious capitalism”. (more…)

5 Ways to Protect Yourself as an Employee

Don't leave it up to your employer to protect you from exploitation.
Don’t leave it up to your employer to protect you from exploitation.

In this year’s May Day Rally, NTUC Chief Lim Swee Say said that employers “need to make better use of every worker, and treat every worker better”. He also told employees to not take the tight labour market for granted. May Day (a.k.a. International Workers’ Day) began as a movement of employees seeking better working conditions, hours, and protection from their employers. This was at a time when many employers exploited their employees, often forcing them to work very long hours (12+) in dangerous working conditions. (more…)