SINGAPORE: A foreign domestic helper took to social media after her employer told her he would have to pay $5000 to the Manpower Ministry (MOM) should she break her contract.

In a post to a Facebook support group for helpers, the maid wrote that she was unhappy because she had to work under stressful conditions. Because of this, she added that she wanted to break her employment contract.

However, the maid added: “but my employer says cannot because he must pay $5000 in MOM for penalty”. She wrote that her employer also said she could not be transferred to another employer and would have to return to her home country.

She asked others in the group if what her employer said was true. Here’s what they wrote:

According to MOM, “A security bond is a binding pledge to pay the government if either you or your helper breaks the law or Work Permit conditions. The bond is in the form of a banker’s or insurer’s guarantee.

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You must buy a $5,000 security bond for each helper you employ, except for Malaysian helpers. You cannot ask your helper to pay for the bond.

When to buy the bond

Before your helper arrives in Singapore, you must:

  1. Buy a security bond, medical and personal accident insurance for her. You can buy them as a package or separately.
  2. Get your insurer to send us the security bond details. It takes up to 3 working days.
  3. Ensure the security bond takes effect when she arrives. You can check the security bond status.
  4. Log in to WP Online to print the security bond acknowledgement letter. Send a copy of the letter to your helper.

If you do not complete the steps above, your helper will be refused entry into Singapore and you will have to pay to send her home immediately.

When will the bond be discharged

You will be discharged from the security bond liability only if you meet all of these conditions:

  • You have cancelled the Work Permit.
  • The helper has returned home.
  • You did not breach any of the security bond conditions.
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If all conditions are met, the security bond will usually be discharged one week after your helper has left Singapore.

You’ll be notified by post when the security bond is discharged.

When will the bond be forfeited

Your security bond may be forfeited if any of these happens:

  • You or your helper violate any of the Work Permit or security bond conditions.
  • You don’t pay your helper’s salary on time.
  • You fail to send your helper home when her Work Permit is expired, revoked or cancelled.
  • Your helper goes missing.

You will not be liable for your helper’s violations (such as those relating to pregnancy) if you can prove that you have:

  • Informed her of the Work Permit conditions she must comply with.
  • Reported a violation when you first become aware of it”.