25 March 2024 francis

A Complete Guide On Domestic Helper’s Rights And Duties

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This complete guide will help you understand the rights and duties of your domestic helper in Singapore.



Domestic helpers in Singapore are much more than just employees, they are an integral part of your household. They take on a variety of roles from managing the day-to-day household chores, childcare, and elderly care to pet care thus enabling Singaporeans to balance their professional and personal lives effectively. Their contribution is not only of personal value but also contributes significantly to the nation’s socio-economic stability.

With a significant portion of the population engaged in full-time work, the demand for domestic assistance is substantial, underpinning the social and economic fabric of Singaporean life. One in five households in Singapore has a foreign domestic helper.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has established guidelines and regulations to ensure fair treatment and a safe and productive working environment for domestic helpers. These guidelines cover a wide range of aspects including recruitment, employment rights, and obligations.


Hiring Process And Work Permits

Employment Terms And Conditions

This refers to the helper’s working hours, compensation, rest days, and the provision for accommodation and medical care from the employer. The MOM states that all employment terms must be communicated and agreed upon by both parties before the commencement of employment. A contract of employment is essential for a good working relationship with your domestic helper. It helps employers to set clear expectations and avoid misunderstandings.

Note: Working hours should be reasonable to prevent your helper from overworking.

Work Permit And Regulations

Work Permit is a critical component in the employment of foreign domestic helpers in Singapore. It delineates the eligibility criteria, rights, and obligations of the domestic helpers. The Employment of Foreign Manpower Act serves as the legislative backbone, ensuring these guidelines are legally enforced.

Note: To apply for a work permit, you may log on to the Government portal, Ministry Of Manpower Online Application (link).

Hiring Process

Interviews, health screenings, and security bond are all part of the hiring process for domestic helpers. All employers must purchase a standard $5,000 security bond for each helper employed unless she is a Malaysian. As foreign domestic helpers are not covered under Singapore’s Work Injury Compensation Act, a security bond is therefore needed. This acts as a kind of deposit and might be withheld by the government should you or your maid break any regulations or Work Permit conditions.

Note: Many domestic helper insurance plans come packaged with a security bond.


MOM Guidelines On The Rights Of A Domestic Helper

Rest Days

Your domestic helper is entitled to one rest day per week. You and your helper must mutually agree on which day of the week she should take the rest day. (From 1 January 2023, all employers must ensure their foreign domestic helpers have at least one rest day each month that cannot be compensated).


If your foreign domestic helper agrees to work on the remaining rest days in the month, you must compensate her with either 1 day of her salary or a replacement rest day to be taken within the same month.


You,(employer) must ensure that your domestic helper’s accommodation must protect her from environmental elements such as rain, strong winds, and sun. Other basic amenities like mattresses, blankets, pillows, and toiletries must be provided by employers. Employers must ensure their domestic helpers have a safe sleeping arrangement, domestic helpers must not sleep in the same room as a male adult or teenager. If you install video recording at home, you need to inform your domestic helper where the devices are located and employers should also respect domestic helpers’ privacy by not placing any recording devices where they sleep, change clothes, or shower.

Adequate Food

Employers must provide domestic helpers with 3 nutritious meals a day. Be understanding that some domestic helpers have food restrictions and may not be able to consume certain meat or produce due to religious beliefs or dietary concerns. Please do not force your helper to eat food that she is not comfortable eating.

Medical Care

Domestic helpers are entitled to medical care and medical leave in case of illness or injury. Employers are responsible for their helpers’ medical expenses including hospitalization and six-monthly medical examination. It is advisable to take up medical and personal insurance for your helpers, this is to ensure they have access to necessary health services without financial burden on the employer.


MOM mandates that all domestic helpers must receive their salaries on time and directly, without unauthorized deductions. The salary amount should be per agreement signed at the start of the employment. Payments of monthly salary should be made directly to the foreign domestic helper’s bank account, so there would be a payment record. The savings account should be under your foreign domestic helper’s name.

Ethical Treatment And Mutual Respect

Employers need to treat their domestic helpers with dignity, respect, and kindness. This fosters a positive working environment, encouraging productivity and mutual respect. Get to know your helper’s life and hobbies.

Note: Welcome your helper as one of your family members. This will help her feel a sense of belonging. 


Dispute Resolution And Support Services

You should try your best to integrate your domestic helper into your family. You can do that by being patient and tolerant. Make an effort to understand her background. Your helper may experience homesickness and loneliness, you can help her cope by letting her contact her family or send letters home.

In cases of disagreements or disputes, employers need to approach the situation with empathy and fairness. Open communication and seeking amicable solutions are encouraged. For unresolved issues, the Ministry of Manpower provides mediation services. Several government and non-government organizations in Singapore offer support and assistance to domestic helpers facing difficulties or disputes. These include the Ministry of Manpower, HOME (Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics), and the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (FAST).


Legal Protection Against Abuse And Exploitation

Singapore’s laws strictly prohibit any form of abuse, harassment, or exploitation of domestic helpers. This includes physical, emotional, and financial abuse. Victims have the right to seek immediate protection, legal recourse, and support from authorities.


Where Should I Go To Recruit A Foreign Domestic Helper?

Hire A Maid is a MOM-registered maid agency in Singapore. A good and reliable maid agency will make the hiring process seamless and hassle-free for employers by offering professional guidance as well as ensuring domestic helpers receive proper training in the source country before they are deployed to your home. At Hire A Maid, we provide enhanced training in helpers’ skills like elderly care, childcare, and pet care so employers can have peace of mind knowing that their helpers are well-equipped to give the best care for their loved ones.

Begin your journey with us and discover a new level of care and support from our dedicated team when hiring a domestic helper. Our technology-driven approach allows us to deploy your helper to your home as fast as in 14 days.

Give us a call to enquire about our Myanmar maids and Indonesian maids today!

“My experience with Hire A Maid has been very positive. Thank you for helping me find my domestic helper.” ~ Trav, Client.


Kindness and respect should be the foundation of an employer-employee relationship. Understanding the rights and duties of domestic helpers in Singapore is crucial for fostering a respectful, fair, and safe working environment. It is a shared responsibility between the government, employers, and the helpers themselves. By ensuring the fair treatment and well-being of domestic helpers, Singapore can continue to benefit from these foreign domestic helpers’ invaluable contribution to household management and caregiving.

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