SINGAPORE: An employer who was going overseas for a week, wanted to know if she could leave her helper at her mother’s house. In an anonymous post to a support group for domestic helpers and employers alike, the employer wanted to know if she could send her helper to her mother’s house or if she had to send the maid to stay at paid accommodation for helpers. “Can she helpout there eg sweep n mop, light cooking? Or strictly no chores?” the woman asked.

Helpers who commented on the woman’s post asked the employer to just leave her helper in her own house, where she could rest and do her chores. One employer commented: “We went to UK for 3 weeks my helper stayed home to look after our cat and we also left her with enough money for food and other things. Told her she can go out whenever she wants. She seems happy but happier when we came home as there’s life in the household! Haha”.

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Another helper wrote: “Let her rest in ur house and she can do also household chores.. If my employer go for vacation they even tell me to go some kopi shop or park to relax.. Helpers need also to rest not only on offdays”.

Yet another helper commented: “I just share (about) my 14 years employer .They go for vacation 2 or 3 weeks. And they let me stay at home .They buy bread, bescuits,Coffee,And give me money to buy food out side.And have extra 200 incase im sick. They tell me you can go out anytime just dont sleep out side and dont bring man inside the house or any people.I just said yes Maam and Sir.Im very happy cause I can do cleaning and do what ever i wan. Like feel free. Such a good employer”.

According to the Manpower Ministry, “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.

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You can do one of the following:

  • Leave her at home.
  • Allow her to return to her home country/region 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.

To seek approval:

  1. Send an online request at least 7 working days before your trip, include the following details:
    • Name, address and relationship of the person your MDW will be staying with.
    • Name of EA or dormitory operator.
    • Duration and dates of her stay.
  2. You will receive a reply from MOM whether your request is approved or rejected”.