Employment Law for Maids in Singapore

Curated by vivien

January 3, 2023


Singapore Law

Employer should be conversant with Singapore’s laws related with domestic work before hiring a full-time maid. Although maids are not covered by the Employment Act, their rights are upheld by various of rules, and breaking any of them can result serious offence.

In Singapore, maids and employers each have specific rights. Conflicts can be avoided by being aware of them and upholding them.

Maids Employment Laws in Singapore

Maids are covered by the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act instead of the Employment Act. Like other governments across the world, Singapore has recently made certain improvements to the rights of maids.

Maids gained the right to a weekly rest day or compensation in lieu starting in 2013.

The law mandates that maids must live with the employers in Singapore and the employers must provide their maids adequate accommodation.

Maids are also entitled to insurance and medical care which must be paid by their employers. They also have a right to safe working conditions – non-compliant employers will be imposed penalties by the government.

What are the basic employment rules?

Employers must abide by the conditions of the work permit. Employers must issue a work permit for their maids from the Ministry of Manpower. The maids can only work for the employers whose name is listed on the work permit.

How much food should I provide?

According to the Ministry of Manpower, employers must give their maids adequate amount of food. Therefore, employers must provide their maids at least three wholesome meals every day throughout their employment. Employers should generally provide their maids with the same amount of food as they require for themselves.

Be sure to make accommodations if your maids have special dietary needs because of their religion, health or own preferences. If she is unable to consume the same food as your family do, you can give her money to purchase her own.

What kind of lodging should be provided for maids?

The lodging for the maids must shield them from the sun, rain and strong winds. The maids’ room should also be enough ventilation naturally or mechanically. The room must be secure, free of potentially harmful things like tilting bookcases or unstable constructions.

Employers ought to give their maids a private space. If this is impossible, make sure the maids have enough space and privacy (many families have their maids share a room with their children or elderly). Maids should never share a room with males, except for a young child.

A mattress, pillow and blanket should also be provided by the employer and cannot be deducted from the maid’s wages.

What types of duty are allowed?

A maid is not allowed to work for another person or at another address, according to the Ministry of Manpower. This means that even if your maid has some free time and wishes to supplement her income, you are not allowed to let her work part-time for anyone else.

She must not do any works that go beyond household and care work, even for her sponsoring employer.

If your maid is found to have been engaged in part-time or non-domestic work, you may be held accountable under Singaporean law. You might be blacklisted and unable to hire a maid in future.

Should I give the maid a day off?

According to MOM, starting from 1 January 2023, all employers must ensure their maids have at least one rest day each month that cannot be compensated away. Maids also need to take a break from their work and recharge, just like we do. Most of them would like to spend their rest days to catch up with their friends and relatives, play games and share experiences.

In Singapore, the day designated as the general rest day must be agreed upon by both the employer and the maid. As long as both parties mutually agreed, rest days don’t necessarily have to be on Sundays. The agreed-upon rest day should be included in the employment contract to avoid any issues.

If your maid agrees to work on the remaining rest days in the month, you must compensate her with either at least one day’s salary which in not counted into her basic salary, or a replacement rest day within the same month.

What else should I be aware of as an employer?

Additionally, employers are required to provide free medical care to their maids, even in the terrible case that a maid is hospitalized and requires expensive surgery. Therefore, you must ensure that the workplace is safe. As you must buy medical and personal accident insurance for your maid, it’s suggested that you take out a plan with comprehensive coverage.

Respect your maid and expect the same in return. Encourage her to speak up to you if she feels her right are being violated. If your maid feels content with her job, she’ll probably want to stay with you and your family for some time. If you are not comfortable to treat your maid as your family, then you don’t have to, but you should let her know that you value the hard work she puts in.

The maid’s embassy may impose additional requirements in addition to those stipulated by the Singaporean government regarding employment. For instance, Indonesian and Philippines maids must get a pay of at least S$570 per month. Make sure you are knowledgeable about the procedures and laws that apply before hiring a maid.


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