SINGAPORE: A foreign domestic helper working in a 3-storey landed property took to social media after her employer deducted her salary for mistakes she made and refused to give her a day off.

In a post to a support group for domestic helpers and employers alike, the helper wrote that her employer hired her and two other maids to work in his house. She added that over the “past few days our employer (male) kept on repeating that if we forget to do something, he will deduct $10 everytime. One of us is a new maid and I am the one assigned to teach her. She did not properly close the juice bottle of my employer and according to him, the juice spilled through out his lunch bag. I am also responsible for it because I did not do double checking (sic) before I placed in the bag. My employer said, her mistake is my mistake. Twice or three times I also forget to put either hand towel or body towel after cleaning the toilet”.

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The maid added that when she received her salary, it was short of S$30. When she asked her employer, he said he would return her S$30 if she did not forget anything or make any mistakes in the next month. The maid said that she was resigned to him deducting her salary monthly as she did not “have a perfect mind”. The maid added that their mandatory day off was also being compensated for.

According to the Manpower Ministry, “Your MDW is entitled to one rest day per week. You and your MDW must mutually agree on which day of the week she should take the rest day. From 1 January 2023, all employers must ensure their MDWs have at least one rest day each month that cannot be compensated away. If your MDW agrees to work on the remaining rest days in the month, you must compensate her with one of the following:

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She said that during the three helpers’ mandatory day off, they were not allowed to go out but were only allowed to stay in their room for about 6 or 7 hours. She added that all of the helpers had their phones taken away and hidden on weekdays. They were given their phones on Friday nights, but had to give it back on Saturday mornings. She wrote that her employer would then give her phone on Saturday night but take it away on Sunday morning.

She wrote: “Our mandatory off day is being compensated which is supposed not to. They let us stay inside our room for 8hrs(mostly 6-7hrs). Our phone is hidden during the weekdays. We have phone on friday night then give it back the next morning. Same scenario on Saturdays. But we did not agree to this. My employer is living here in this country where diversity is very visible yet I am still being discriminated by having a dark skin. We are mentally and physically exhausted”.

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