Regulations pertaining to Foreign Domestic Workers in Singapore

Regulations pertaining to Foreign Domestic Workers in Singapore


14 Aug 2020 | 5 min read

It is important to be aware about the laws that govern the employment of foreign domestic workers in Singapore. In order to avoid violating the laws that are in place, and in order to ensure that foreign domestic workers receive fair and just treatment, it is mandatory for the employer to know more about these regulations and what they state. The maids must also be aware of these laws in order to protect their own interests and reach out to the concerned authorities if they face any kind of mistreatment. It is important to note that foreign domestic workers do not receive the protection of the Employment Act that Singapore has, however their rights and interests receive protection through the implementation of various laws and regulations. Every employer must follow these laws and regulations, and the violation of the same would be a punishable offence.

Laws that pertain to the fair employment of a domestic helper

Domestic workers receive protection from sexual and physical abuse with the help of the various laws and regulations that the Singaporean government has put into place. Mental abuse is also a type of mistreatment under the violations conducted in the employment of a foreign domestic worker in Singapore. Any person caught or accused of conducting any of these unlawful activities is liable for prosecution under Singaporean law and can receive hefty penalties and punishment depending on the gravity of the crime committed. The government of Singapore encourages the common people to report any such incident, if it makes an appearance in front of their eyes. The government has created many different ways and methods by which the aggrieved, or somebody who knows of such crimes being committed, can choose to reach out to the concerned authorities and get the guilty punished for their inhuman and unconscionable behaviour towards foreign domestic workers under their employment.

Regulations for Rest Day, Accommodation and Working Hours

As has been mentioned above, foreign domestic workers in Singapore do not receive coverage under the Employment Act. The Employment of Foreign Manpower Act is in place to provide foreign domestic workers in Singapore with improved rights and better quality lifestyles, to keep them safe and comfortable in their working environments. According to this act, helpers in Singapore were entitled to enjoy a rest day every week or receive compensation for the same in the case that they choose to work on that day. This law came into existence in the year 2013. As is the custom, foreign workers who work domestically in Singapore, usually stay with their employers. Law mandates that these employers provide the maids with proper accommodation that qualifies all the safety regulations standardized by the government, in order to ensure the safety and comfort of the maids working there. Maids are also entitled to receive medical care and insurance, which the employer who hires her must sponsor. Violation of any of these laws and prerequisites can lead to the imposition of serious penalties on the guilty party. Work hours are another important part that needs proper elaboration in the contract that the foreign domestic worker signs with their employer. The employer is required to provide their maid with adequate amount of rest hours, so that she is not working more hours than she is required too. A rare occasion whereby some overtime work is required of the maid is okay, but a regular occurrence of this scenario is unfair treatment of a foreign domestic worker under the laws stipulated by the Singaporean government.

Work Permit is only Valid for your Sponsor

Visa application

The Ministry of Manpower is responsible for looking after the interests of foreign domestic workers in Singapore, and it is they who issue the work permit. Every foreign domestic worker in Singapore must have this work permit in order to be able to work legally within the country. Violation of the terms within the work permit is also a punishable offence under the rules and regulations stipulated by the government of Singapore. Some of the violations may include making your maid work for another person, while the name of the employer in the work permit happens to be yours, or getting your maid involved in chores that are different from household ones, for example a business venture. The aforementioned issues are some of the violations that an employer might conduct as far as the work permit is involved and if found guilty, the employer can face legal prosecution, forfeiture of the $5000 safety deposit and the inability to hire another foreign domestic worker ever again, along with the revoking of the present work permit.

Steps taken by the government of Singapore to ensure fair working conditions

The government of Singapore is looking to educate the masses by encouraging employers to get to know their foreign domestic helps better and motivate them. The government promotes establishing clear communication and clearly describing the requirements of the job, along with the interests, working hours, special duties and fair compensations after taking into account the thoughts of both the employer and the maid in the work contract. It is a known fact that if your maid is motivated and appreciated for the work that they do, they would provide a much better service than what they would if treated unfairly.