A foreign domestic worker asks if there are any consequences she will have to face for refusing to go with her employers on their holiday.

In a Facebook post on the group FDW in Singapore (working conditions forum), a woman who gives her name as Deep Kaur posted this question on behalf of another domestic helper.

She writes that the employers are going to India on vacation, and they wanted to bring their helper with them. But the helper does not want to go with them.

No reason is given for the domestic helper’s reluctance to go with them to India. In her post, Ms Deep Kaur asked what might happen if the helper refuses to go. Though uncertain, she says she does not think employers can force the helper to go with them.

“Should she explain her wish to them nicely?” Ms Deep Kaur writes.

She asked other domestic helpers and employers for their opinions: “I don’t know much about it. Can anyone explain what the helper can do in this situation and what is the best thing she should do?”

Among those who responded, one pointed out that the helpers are not supposed to work at any other address but that of the employer. Another said she thinks the contract is for work in Singapore, so an employer cannot force the helper to go overseas, and the employer needs to inform the Manpower Ministry.

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Here’s what they said:

According to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), “As an employer, you are responsible for the well-being and upkeep of your migrant domestic worker (MDW). This applies even if you are overseas, e.g. on holiday or business trip.

You must continue to pay her salary during your absence.

You can do one of the following:

  • Leave her at home.
  • Allow her to return to her home country for home leave.
  • Leave her with a friend or relative. You need to:
    • Seek approval from MOM.
    • Ensure that the person you’re leaving her with can take care of her well-being, and does not deploy her for work.
  • Leave her at commercially provided housing such as accommodation for MDWs provided by EAs or dormitories for female workers. You need to seek approval from MOM”. /TISG