Maid Employment Laws in Singapore

November 1, 2021

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Did you know that when it comes to hiring a maid in Singapore, employers will need to familiarise themselves with maid employment laws? This is because foreign domestic workers are covered by the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act instead of the Employment Act.

For this reason, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has to certify an employer’s foreign hire application while outlining their responsibilities and obligations for employing foreign domestic workers under the Employer’s Guide: Migrant Domestic Worker to ensure a positive working relationship.

That being said, let’s understand your maid’s rights as stipulated under the relevant employment laws along with accommodation rules, allowed duties as well as your responsibilities as an employer.

Laws related to foreign domestic workers

Much like an employee working under a contract of service with an employer, foreign domestic workers who are covered by the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act are entitled to:

∙ Salary

∙ Hours of work, overtime, and rest days

∙ Public holidays

∙ Annual leave

∙ Sick leave

 

In addition, employers have to take out security bonds and purchase medical and personal accident insurance for their helpers as they are not covered by the Work Injury Compensation Act in Singapore.

With that, you are encouraged to sign a written employment contract that outlines her responsibilities to ensure clear communication between you and your maid as well as your responsibilities as an employer.

What type of duties can my maid perform?

Before your maid can carry out her duties for your household, you must comply with the MOM’s Work Permit regulatory conditions. As such, your maid must have a valid Work Permit issued by the MOM, can only work for you at the address declared to MOM, perform only domestic chores, and cannot work with other employers.

If you employ a helper without a valid Work Permit, you may be fined between $5,000 and $30,000, imprisoned for up to 1 year, or both. Subsequent convictions may cause you mandatory imprisonment.

Meanwhile, if you illegally deploy your maid to work at another residential address or perform non-domestic chores, you may be liable to a penalty of $10,000. This means duties such as gardening, car washing, repair work and tutoring are therefore not allowed. You may also be banned from employing foreign domestic workers for repeated offences.

What are my responsibilities as an employer?

In exchange for your maid’s domestic help, you are responsible for the health and well-being of your foreign domestic worker during her employment term. This includes providing proper accommodation, adequate medical care, adequate food, and rest days.

 

Accommodation

As an employer, you will need to provide your maid with proper accommodation that protects her from environmental elements such as sun, rain or strong winds. There should also be sufficient ventilation, either natural or mechanical. The room must also be free of dangerous equipment or structure that could potentially cause harm or hurt to her.

If possible, you should provide your maid with a separate room. Otherwise, you must ensure that she’s given adequate space and privacy. Under no circumstances should your maid share a room with someone of the opposite sex, unless it is with your child.

In addition, you are also required to provide your maid with the necessary bedding items such as a mattress, pillow, and blanket as well as bathroom amenities and toiletries.

 

Medical care

As an employer, you are responsible for your maid’s medical needs. This includes hospitalisation, medication, treatment, etc. Hence why you should purchase medical and personal accident insurance for your maid.

 

Food

Never forget that your maid is another human being. To ensure sufficient productivity from your maid, you must provide her with 3 meals a day. As a basic rule, you should give your maid the same amount of food that you need every day.

If your maid has unique dietary requirements due to religion, health, or personal preference, make sure to accommodate her dietary needs or provide her with money to buy her own.

 

Rest days

Since 1 January 2013, foreign domestic workers are entitled to a weekly rest day. This means your maid should have a regular rest day to ensure sufficient mental and physical rest. Surely, you can understand how she feels while working throughout the week for your household.

To avoid disputes, both you and your maid must mutually agree on which day of the week should be her rest day. Make sure to include this agreement in writing. If you require your maid to work on her rest day, you must compensate her with another rest day or at least a day’s salary (this is an additional payment and should be excluded from your maid’s basic salary).

 

Family integration

Having to adapt to a new lifestyle will be challenging for your maid. Instead of letting your maid cope with the changes on her own, you should try to integrate your maid into your family. This will create a sense of mutual respect, tolerance, and patience between your maid and your family.

By keeping yourself updated on the latest regulations related to maid employment in Singapore and your responsibilities as an employer, you can avoid landing yourself in hot water with the authority.

Homekeeper can help with your household needs

If you’re looking to hire a maid with the help of an agency in Singapore, Homekeeper is here to help with the process.

 

We can also help to process the necessary documents for you and your helper. On top of that, we provide maid pre-employment training to ensure that your helper meets your household needs. Reach out to us by calling (65) 6468 5220 or email contactus@homekeeper.sg.

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