Hiring a maid or domestic helper (or more formally a foreign domestic worker) allows you and your family to enjoy your limited free time to the fullest and not having to waste valuable family time on chores such as cleaning, cooking, shopping and washing. However, before you hire a maid, you must realise that this comes with responsibilities. Failure to fulfil these responsibilities can lead to work permits being revoked; statutory security deposits being forfeited and potential prosecution.
Employing A Maid
Employing a domestic helper comes with different responsibilities than other types of workers since foreign domestic helpers must live with their employers and are not covered by the Employment Act. The employment of foreign domestic workers is regulated by the Employment of Foreign Manpower (Work Passes) Regulations 2012. Each employer is responsible for the supervision and well-being of their hired maid, even if they are not the person overseeing her daily tasks and duties.
You must pay your helper a monthly salary as agreed between both parties, ideally during the interview. The agreed salary should be reported when applying for the work permit. There is no minimum salary level for domestic workers in Singapore, but the countries of origin of the workers usually require employers to pay a certain minimum salary. You cannot deduct any money from this salary: if you have prepaid certain expenses, then they should repay only after they have received the full salary.
Employers are responsible for the living costs and wellbeing of their foreign domestic workers – meaning they need to cover costs relating to food, accommodation and medical care.
If your domestic worker requires medical care, even hospitalisation, you are responsible to cover all medical costs. It is compulsory to take out medical insurance and we strongly recommend you to take out one of the more comprehensive packages since you are responsible for all medical costs, even if they exceed your insurance.
According to Singapore law, employers are responsible for the wellbeing of their domestic workers. Maids are entitled to a weekly day off, and compensation should be paid in case she is requested to work on her day off.
You are responsible for providing your helper with suitable accommodation and a safe working environment and not ill-treat or neglect her needs.
Third party liability
As her employer, you will be responsible for all damage or injury that your helper causes to people not part of your household. This so-called “third party liability” is often included under the coverage of a Home Insurance and if you do not have one yet, we strongly recommend to arrange one to avoid any unexpected claims or charges.
As an employer, you are also responsible for sending your maid home and covering all related costs when her contract has ended (whether prematurely or on expiration). This includes repatriation in the situation where your helper becomes disabled or even if she has passed away. These latter costs are covered by your Maid Insurance.
You are obligated to take out Maid Insurance for your helper to cover medical expenses and death or permanent disability resulting from an accident. The security deposit that you have to provide to the Singapore authorities in case you do not meet your responsibilities, can also be covered by a so-called security bond. Any violation and hence claim on you by the insurance company under the bond can insured by opting for a “waiver of indemnity”, which most insurance companies offer.
It is a good idea to seek the advice of a qualified insurance broker such as Insurance Market and check out the details of maid insurance policies and do a side-by-side comparison.