New conditions of work permit for domestic helpers

February 2011

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Since 1st February 2011, the government of Singapore has revised the work permit conditions to make clearer the obligations of an employer.

Most of these rules did exit already but were not linked to the validity of the work pass.

Some of these rules may sound weird to a Westerner but one shold keep in mind that the Employment Act of Singapore doesn’t cover Domestic Helpers (it doesn’t cover either many other employeess such as managers for instance).  In a sense, these new work permit conditions are a kind of employment act protecting the domestic helpers.

From now on, the validity of the work permit requies to strictly respect the following rules:

1. the employer should pay the domestic helper on time which means, no later than 7 days after the end of the month worked. A salary record should be kept by the employer.

2. The employer should provide safe working conditions, as well as an acceptable accommodation, adequate food and medical treatment. “Acceptable” and “adequate” are not explained further.

3. The domestic helper should get adequate reste daily (adequate is not explained either). The employer must give rest days. However, the number of rest days has not been defined so far. The employer should make sure that the dometic helper is not abused either verbally, physically or sexually.

4. The employer has to pay for the cost of repatriating the domestic helper whatever the reason of the repatriation. The domestic helper should be send back to the international port of entry nearest to her home town. The employer doesn’t have to pay or the cost o transfer between this international port and the homeplace of the helper.

5. The employer should ensure that the agency he/ she has engaged is accredited by the MOM.