Amidst the reopening of businesses and services post-Circuit Breaker, one type of service that is yet to fully recover from the situation is in-home care service such as confinement nanny service.
PEM Confinement Nanny Agency (PEM), in particular, is one that is still overcoming the impacts of COVID-19 and Circuit Breaker.
As confinement nanny agencies are currently not entitled to the periodic commuting arrangement scheme, PEM is left with no option but to bear all costs, including the ones incurring from their nannies serving the Stay-Home Notice (SHN) and getting COVID-19 swab test done, totalling up to $1700 per nanny.
On top of that, PEM is also seeing higher costs and expenditures in various other aspects such as nannies’ transportation, nannies’ accommodations, as well as other necessities like the nannies’ face masks.
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“While it is inevitable that our overhead costs increase significantly, we do find the silver lining in the middle of this adversity.”
“With more of our nannies in Malaysia being allowed here now, our nannies who have been working in Singapore now get to take longer breaks compared to these past few months,” noted PEM Senior Business Manager Mishell Lee, sharing that they currently have about half of their total 400 plus nannies working in Singapore since Circuit Breaker.
“Unfortunately, this still does not resolve our issue of facing high demand with extremely low supply as not all of our available nannies in Malaysia can come into Singapore to start working.”
One of PEM nannies has been preparing herself to resume working since the Circuit Breaker, but the final decision for her to be able to start again is neither up to her nor the agency alone.
As there is now a quota for entry where only a certain number of people are allowed to enter Singapore, the status for a confinement nanny’s work permit application fully depends on the government’s decision.
“Even if I’m ready and willing to get back to work anytime now, my work permit application might not be approved.”
“So, for nannies like me,” she added, “this means our upcoming jobs in Singapore are not yet secured or guaranteed as we may not be able to come in at all.”
According to Mishell, there are many nannies who are in the same boat as this particular nanny.
Some of these nannies have not been working for around 6 months due to Circuit Breaker and Malaysia’s Movement Control Order (MCO), resulting in them taking up various kinds of irregular part-time jobs to cover their living expenses.
On the other hand, another PEM nanny who has been working and staying in Singapore since the start of Circuit Breaker has also raised her concerns over the future.
“Even though we can go back (to Malaysia) now, it means that I would have to serve the 14-day SHN when entering Malaysia, and once again in Singapore to work after that. I am losing 1 month’s worth of time for it.
By then, my work permit application might not be approved, and there’s no certainty as to when can I come back to work in Singapore.
I am afraid I will not be working for a long period of time which means I will lose my income,” shared this nanny, whose job as a confinement nanny is one of the main sources of livelihood for her family.
Since the beginning of MCO and Circuit Breaker, PEM has been receiving a high number of requests for service extension from their clients that they are unable to fulfil due to the lack of manpower and this is still going on until today.
“We can certainly understand their (clients’) perspectives in this matter. Many of the mothers who signed up with us are not only first-time parents along with their spouse but also have not yet fully recovered from delivery (not to mention, some of them went through caesarean delivery) and being left alone will make it harder for them to take care of their newborn,” said Mishell.
According to her, some of their clients were previously expecting their parents, parents-in-law, or domestic helper from another country to come and assist them after the nanny left. Of course, this plan could no longer be carried out due to the enforcement of the Circuit Breaker.
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“Our main priority is still to assist as many parents of newborns as we can because we understand how this critical time can take a toll of them. Hence, we do our best not only in taking care of our nannies’ wellbeing but also helping them get back to work soon so more parents can be helped and supported.”
“However, with all the uncertainties, there is only so much that can be done to ensure a secure future for them, especially since we cannot guarantee positive results to their work permit application,” ended Mishell.
This article is contributed by PEM Confinement Nanny Agency.
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