Jude Lee
Before Hiring

(Source: MOM)

Before Hiring
Before you decide to hire a foreign domestic helper (helper / live-in helper), there are many important things to take into consideration.

You need to consider:
1. The cost of hiring the helper
• Her salary
• Monthly levy to be paid to the government
• Her food
• Her medical expenses
• Her air-ticket home
• Unforeseen circumstances like large hospital bills

2. If there is room in your house to accommodate her. Accommodation should include:
• The provision of basic amenities like mattress, pillow, blanket, etc
• Sufficient ventilation, safety, privacy, protection from sun and rain, and space.

3. Alternative arrangements during your helper’s rest days, or compensation-in-lieu.
• Employers are required to provide one rest day a week

4. It can be stressful for you and your helper in the first few months of employment, especially if it is her first time working in Singapore. Be mentally prepared that patience and tolerance are needed to guide her, especially when she makes mistake.
Applying to be the employer of a foreign domestic helper
Now that you have decided to employ a foreign domestic helper, the following will guide you on what you need to to do when hiring one.

A. If you plan to engage our services,

1. Rest assured we are a licensed agency. You can verify using the EA directory from www.mom.gov.sg/eadirectory.

2. Our fees are dependent on the range of services we provide. The fees typically consist of:
• Agency fees
• Settling-In-Programme if your FDW is working in Singapore for the first time (S$75)
• Work Permit Application (S$30)
• Work Permit Issuance (S$30)
• FDW levy (S$265 per month without concession; S$60 a month with concession)
• Security deposit of S$5,000 per FDW in the form of insurance or banker’s guarantee
• Medical Insurance coverage* of at least S$15,000
• Personal Accidental (PA) Insurance coverage* of at least S$40,000
• Please take note these are the basic coverage required by Singapore’s government, and discuss with us if you wish to opt for additional coverage.

3. To select a suitable foreign domestic helper who meets your needs, look at her biodata and employment history which we provide. We will also facilitate the signing of safety agreement between you and your helper.

4. We can arrange for an interview (face-to-face, overseas phone call, or skype) with the foreign domestic helper to get to know her better before you decide to employ her.

5. In the EA Agreement, we will include:
• Breakdown of things you will be paying;
• Circumstances under which you may be eligible for a refund, and how soon such refunds should be given;
• The number of replacement foreign domestic helpers you are eligible for and recourse available if we are unable to find a replacement, and
• Dispute Resolution Mechanism that you and us will embark on if there are service-related disputes.

B. Application Procedures

When applying to be an foreign domestic helper’s employer, you must:

1. Attend the mandatory Employment’s Orientation Programme (EOP) for first-time employers. Employers can choose to complete EOP online either online or in a classroom. For more information, you can refer to: www.mom.gov.sg/fdw-employer.

2. Sign the General Interbank Recurring Order (GIRO) account for monthly levy deductions by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). You must maintain sufficient funds in your GIRO account, otherwise, your helper’s Work Permit may be revoked.

3. Ensure your helper undergoes a pre-employment medical examination.

C. Selecting a Foreign Domestic Helper

When selecting a helper,

1. One of the key reasons employer-helper relationships break down is due to communication issues. So please select a helper who can understand the language you speak.

2. If you have any special requirements for your helper, then please select one based on your needs. We can arrange to conduct a face-to-face interview with the helper to get to know her and assess if she has the relevant skills/experience before you decide to employ her.
Knowing your responsibilities as an employer
Being an foreigner domestic helper’s employer is a huge responsibility.

You must take note of the following:

1. The employment contract between you and your foreign domestic helper will specify the terms and conditions of employment such as wages, rest days, scope of duties, and notice of termination to avoid misunderstanding.

2. The rest day agreement will be in the employment contract with your helper. Foreign domestic helpers are entitled to a weekly rest day or compensation in lieu. Should there be any rest day arrangements, you must document the new arrangement in writing to avoid any misunderstandings and disputes.

3. Your helper is required to fulfil certain requirements, before she can be deployed to your household. These include:
• Attend the Settling-In-Programme (SIP) within three working days of her arrival if she is a first-time FDW in Singapore.
• Undergo and pass a medical examination by a Singapore-registered doctor within 14 days of arrival.
• Register for her Work Permit at MOM Services Centre within seven calender days of application for WP card issuance.

4. Bring your FDW for her medical examination every 6 months. Otherwise, her Work Permit may be revoked.

5. Maintain a proper record of the monthly salary amount and the date the salary is paid. There should be acknowledgement by you and your FDW.

6. Pay your helper’s salary on time. It is not advisable to safe keep the salaries of your helper as this could give rise to misunderstanding when the employment relationship turns sour or when either party decides to end the employment relationship prematurely. Instead, you should allow your helper to manage her own salaries.

7. As a good practice, you should bring your helper to open a local bank account so that you can deposit the salary monthly into that account. Look for banks which offer accounts to foreign domestic helpers without a minimum balance (e.g. DBS/POSB bank has a scheme called “POSB FDW Savings for Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW)” which allows foreign domestic helpers to open a new account without an initial deposit and a minimum balance).

8. We will facilitate the signing of the safety agreement to ensure that both you and your FDW are aware and understand MOM’s requirements when cleaning the exterior of windows. Clearly instruct your FDW on what she can/cannot do.

9. If your home is above ground level and you require your helper to clean the window exteriors, make sure the window grilles are installed and locked and you and or an adult representative is present to supervise the helper. No cleaning of window exteriors is allowed if there are no window grilles installed.

10. Ensure the overall well-being and safety of your helper.

11. If your helper goes missing and if you have made reasonable efforts to locate her, then only part of your security bond may be forfeited. You must make a police report and cancel her Work Permit within 7 days. Otherwise, your entire security bond may be forfeited.

12. You have to pay the repatriation of your foreign domestic helper even if she prematurely terminates the contract.