While caring for an elderly man, 104, and his 92-year-old wife, a foreign domestic worker was allegedly made to share a bed with the man.
Helper claimed she had to wake up every 30 minutes at night, share bed with elderly man
According to Lianhe Wanbao, she also alleged that caring for the couple involved waking up every 30 minutes at night to help the man use the toilet.
The stress of working for the couple eventually caused the 25-year-old Myanmar national to break down in early November while taking her employer out for a walk.
According to the couple's 65-year-old son, the helper started crying and refused to return home.
The family eventually called the police as they were afraid she would harm herself and a police report was lodged.
The Ministry of Manpower is now investigating the situation, reported Wanbao.
Employer's grandson's berating put her under immense stress
Speaking to Wanbao, the helper — who had been working for the couple in December 2019 — said the elderly man was hospitalised months after she started work.
Once he was discharged, she alleged that the family forced her to sleep on the same bed as the man as they were worried he would fall and it would be "more convenient to take care of him".
"I objected, but they told me I could not say no," she said to Wanbao.
She added that whenever the elderly man was unwilling to exercise, ate too slowly or had troubles in the toilet, the man's 33-year-old grandson would berate her, putting her under immense stress.
The helper also told Wanbao that she had previously been stopped from seeking medical attention for a bleeding ear and a high fever, while she was also prevented from accessing her monthly salary.
Family denied mistreating helper
The family denied the allegations, telling Wanbao the 104-year-old man visited the toilet every two hours as opposed to every 30 minutes and that they had obtained the helper's consent before deciding she would share the bed with him.
The elderly man's 65-year-old son admitted that the grandson — who also cares for the elderly couple — might have lost his patience and used a harsh tone with the helper.
He cited a language barrier with the helper and stressed that the grandson "is definitely not blaming the maid".
Regarding the helper's claim that she was barred from seeking medical treatment, the man said she had not informed the family of her illness.
"This year, there's the Covid-19 pandemic. If she has a fever, we will also be scared. How could we stop her from seeing a doctor?" he said according to Wanbao.
As for the helper's salary, he contended that they had previously agreed for the monthly payments to be paid out in a lump sum instead.
Agency accused family of abusing helper
The helper was sent back to her agency subsequently after her breakdown in November.
However, the elderly man's wife received a call from the agency two days later.
A female staff at the agency accused her family of abusing the helper, and claimed that they would make it a legal matter, said the elderly man's son, according to the Chinese daily.
"This puts my mother under a lot of stress, and she ended up in the hospital due to shortness of breath," the son said.
The staff had insisted on talking only to his mother, as the helper was contracted under his mother's name, he claimed.
When the agency was contacted by the Chinese daily, they shared that they had already apologised to the elderly woman over the phone and in person as well.
The other party also apologised for her grandson’s attitude towards the helper. The staff, who had been overly eager to protect the helper's interest, has also been disciplined and counselled, said the agency.
The agency declined to comment further, citing ongoing investigations by MOM.
Top image via Unsplash
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