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Work Permit (Foreign Domestic Worker) - Before you apply

Employers are required to apply for a Work Permit if they wish to hire a Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW). The Work Permit is usually valid for two years.

Employer Guidelines

If you are considering hiring a FDW, please read through the following information, guidelines and requirements to create and maintain a positive working relationship:

Initial difficulties

New FDWs from rural areas of their home countries may encounter some of these difficulties:

  • Understanding and communicating in your language
  • Use of modern household appliances
  • Adjustment to living in high-rise buildings
  • Different practices in taking care of children

They will need time to familiarise themselves with your way of life. You can help by taking time to orientate and train her, especially in the early stages of her employment.

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Well-being

Rest

A well-rested FDW is more productive. You should ensure that she has sufficient rest, especially during the night. Rest days should also be catered for, as agreed between yourself and the worker.

Weekly Rest Day

All foreign domestic workers (FDWs) who have their Work Permits issued on or after 1 January 2013 will be entitled to a weekly rest day.

To give employers and FDWs greater flexibility, employers may compensate their FDWs if there is mutual written agreement between both parties for the FDWs to work on their rest days. The compensation should be at least one day’s salary or a replacement rest day taken within the same calendar month.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) understands that the weekly rest day is a new requirement and there may be questions on how employers can implement it. Therefore, MOM has produced a special rest day edition of the employer newsletter pdfInFOCUS, and also a special guide entitled pdfFDW Weekly Rest Day: A Guide for Employers to address commonly-asked questions and operational matters which employers may encounter.

FDW employers will each receive a copy of the newsletter and the guide in English at their homes. The pdfMandarin, pdfMalay and pdfTamil versions of the guide are also available.

Employers who wish to receive regular updates from MOM on FDW matters may subscribe to our newsletter InFOCUS.

Employers may also refer to the media release and read the pdfFAQs for more background information on the new weekly rest day requirement.

Members of public can contact MOM at mom_fmmd@mom.gov.sg for any further questions or clarifications regarding the weekly rest day.

Accommodation

As an employer, you are responsible for the provision of accommodation for your FDW. Accommodation is acceptable only if it meets all the following requirements:

  • Adequate shelter
    Accommodation must adequately protect your FDW from environmental elements such as the sun, rain or strong winds.
  • Provision of basic amenities
    Your FDW must minimally be provided a mattress, a pillow, and a blanket.
  • Sufficient ventilation
    Accommodation must be sufficiently ventilated. Mechanical ventilation (e.g. electrical fan) should be provided if natural ventilation is inadequate.
  • Ensuring safety
    Your FDW should not sleep near any dangerous equipment or structure that could potentially cause harm or hurt to her.
  • Ensuring modesty
    Your FDW must not sleep in the same room as a male adult / teenager.
  • Ensuring space and privacy
    Where possible, your FDW should be given a separate room of her own. If that is not possible, you should ensure that sufficient space and privacy are provided for your FDW.

Medical care

As an employer, you are responsible for your FDW’s medical needs. You are required to bear the full cost of her medical care should she require medical treatment, including hospitalisation.

Insurance

  • Medical insurance
    For medical insurance policies taken up or renewed on/or after 1 January 2010, the insurance coverage must be at least $15,000 per year for each FDW’s inpatient care and day surgery during her stay in Singapore. This is in line with the employers' existing responsibility for the upkeep and well-being of their FDWs, including the provision of medical treatment.
  • Personal accident insurance
    It is compulsory for employers to take up a Personal Accident Insurance policy for their FDWs before they can employ the FDW. The minimum sum assured should be $40,000. Any compensation payable should be made to her or her beneficiaries.

Open communication

The FDW may experience homesickness and loneliness. As her employer, you can ease those feelings by letting her communicate with her family and friends in her home country.

Family integration

You should try as far as possible to integrate your FDW into your family as she is staying in your home. Do make an effort to understand her background, and to be patient and tolerant when communicating with her. It will go a long way in minimising any disputes and conflicts that may arise and affect her work performance.

Safe work conditions

It is your responsibility to ensure that the FDW performs her work in a safe manner. Her work practices must be in accordance with the approved work practices stipulated in MOM’s training courses (e.g. the Employers' Orientation Programme) and relevant safety and training materials.

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Employment laws, contracts and safety agreement

Non-coverage by the Employment Act

Domestic workers, both foreign and local, are not covered by the Employment Act.

It is not practical to regulate specific aspects of domestic work, i.e. hours of work, work on a rest day and on public holidays. For example, it would be hard to compute overtime payments as domestic workers' work/free time are difficult to define and regulate in the same way as employees working in offices or factories.

Employment contracts

To avoid disputes, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) encourages employers and their FDWs to enter into a written employment contract.

Employment agencies commonly draft mutually agreeable contracts for the two parties involved.

In event of an employment problem or breach of contract by her employer, the FDW can lodge a complaint or file a claim with MOM. MOM will contact the employer and arrange for a meeting between the FDW and the employer to resolve the dispute.

Signing of Safety Agreement

For FDWs who are deployed from 1 December 2012 onwards, EAs will be required to facilitate the signing of a safety agreement between employers and the FDWs, i.e. when new employment relationships are established, whether for first-time or transfer FDW.

For first-time FDWs, the EA should facilitate the safety agreement after the FDW has attended the Settling-In-Programme, prior to the deployment of the FDW to the employer’s home.

For transfer FDWs, the EA should facilitate the safety agreement prior to the deployment of the FDW to the employer’s home.

The EA is not required to facilitate the safety agreement for renewals, i.e. when the employer is renewing the employment contract with her existing FDW.

This agreement is to ensure that both employers and FDWs are aware and understand MOM’s requirements when cleaning the exterior of windows. The agreement lists MOM’s restrictions on the cleaning of window exterior and employers will state their requirement for the FDW to clean the window exterior in accordance to MOM’s regulations.

The FDW will also acknowledge the employer’s requirement on cleaning the window exterior. To ensure FDWs understand, the agreement copy to be signed by the FDW will be in her native language.

All three parties, i.e. EA, employer and FDW, will sign the safety agreement and each should keep a copy of the signed agreement.

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Salary

Monthly salary

A FDW's wages should reflect the scope of work agreed upon.

The employer must pay the FDW the fixed monthly salary declared to MOM. She must be paid her due salary each month, no later than seven days after the last day of the salary period. Any salary period agreed between the employer and worker shall not exceed one month. If the worker so requests, the salary shall be paid via direct transfer into the worker's bank account in a bank established in Singapore.

If it is mutually agreed that the employer should keep the bank account book, the FDW must be given access to the book at all times to check that payments are credited promptly and regularly.

The employer must also keep a record of the monthly salary paid to the FDW, and should be able to produce this record at the request of any authorised public officer.

Salary adjustment

Where appropriate, the employer should consider giving the FDW a periodic wage adjustment to reward good performance and loyalty in service.

Apart from the monthly salary, the employer can also consider offering her a contract gratuity. This sum of money, which should be negotiated between the two parties, could be paid to the FDW upon conclusion of an agreed period of employment. Such incentives may result in a more motivated and diligent FDW.

CPF

Central Provident Fund contributions are not required for FDWs.

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Levy

A FDW levy is to be paid by employers at the end of each month. Levy charges begin one day after she arrives in Singapore. For a first-time FDW, the levy will begin on the fourth day of her arrival (excluding the day of arrival).




Levy Rate ($)



Monthly
*Daily
Normal

265 8.72
Concession

120 3.95
* Daily levy rate only applies to FDWs who did not work for a full calendar month. From 1 January 2011, the daily levy rate is computed based on the following: (Monthly levy rate x 12) / 365 = rounding up to the nearest cent.

Levy payments should be made via General Interbank Recurring Order (GIRO). The worker’s Work Permit will be cancelled if you fail to maintain a valid GIRO account. Download the PDFGIRO application form.

The levy for each month is payable by the employer at the end of each month. The payment due date is the 14th (for manual payment) or 17th (for GIRO payment) of the following month. If the 17th is a non-working day, the deduction will be made on the next working day.

If you wish to view your levy bills online, you can register for the Internet Foreign Worker Levy Billing System (iFWLB).

Consequences of non-payment of Levy

If payment is not made on time, one or more of the following measures may be taken:

  • A late payment penalty will be charged.
  • Existing Work Permits will be cancelled.
  • The employer will not be allowed to apply for new Work Permits or renew his existing Work Permits.
  • Legal proceedings will be taken to recover the unpaid levy liability.

Note:
It takes up to five working days to update your levy payment. Any application made before that time may be rejected. If you need to update your payment records urgently, send us a clear copy of your payment receipt and contact details using iSubmit. Please select option 9: Levy Matters under the Request Type. You may proceed to apply after two working days.

Levy concession

Eligible FDW employers may qualify for the concessionary levy rate of $120 per month under any of the schemes below:

  • Young child/grandchild scheme
  • Aged person scheme
  • Persons with disabilities scheme

Important

  • Levy concession for one FDW is granted based on one eligible person. An employer may apply for concession for up to two FDWs. An eligible person is an individual who meets any of the criteria below. 
  • You only start paying the concessionary rate the following month after the application is approved.

 

Levy Concession (Young Child/Aged Person Schemes)

Type of Levy Concession Schemes Who is Eligible? Need to Apply?
Young child scheme The employer or spouse has a child who:

  • is below the age of 12 years
  • is a Singapore Citizen
  • lives together.
Child born in Singapore

No.
Child born overseas

Yes.

pdfDownload form
Young grandchild scheme The employer or spouse has a grandchild who:

  • is below the age of 12 years
  • is a Singapore Citizen
  • lives together.
Yes.

pdfDownload form
Aged person (FDW employer/spouse) scheme
  1. The employer or co-residing spouse is:

    • a Singapore Citizen
    • aged 65 years or above.
  2. The employer or spouse is a Singapore Citizen and the other party:

    • is a Singapore Permanent Resident
    • is aged 65 years or above
    • lives at the same registered residential address.
No.
Aged person (parent/grandparent) scheme
  1. The employer or spouse has a parent, parent-in-law, grandparent or grandparent-in-law who:

    • is aged 65 years or above
    • is a Singapore Citizen
    • lives with them at the same registered residential address.
  2. The employer or spouse is a Singapore Citizen and has a parent, parent-in-law, grandparent or grandparent-in-law who:

    • is aged 65 years or above
    • is a Singapore Permanent Resident
    • lives with them at the same registered residential address.
Yes (if aged person's information is not given during FDW's application).

pdfDownload form

Processing time

Please allow up to two weeks for the application to be processed. The outcome will be mailed to the employer.

Levy Concession (Persons With Disabilities Scheme)

For employers with disabilities or who have family members with disabilities*, you should apply to the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) for levy concession under the Persons with Disabilities (PWD) scheme.

* Certified by a Singapore-registered doctor as someone who need assistance in at least one Activity of Daily Living, i.e. showering/bathing, feeding, toileting, dressing and transferring or moving.

Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW) Grant

This monthly grant of $120 is given to support employers who hire FDW to care for their family members with moderate disability*.

To qualify, the applicant must have a per capita monthly household income of $2,600 and less. The Foreign Domestic Worker must also attend relevant caregivers’ training approved by Agency for Integrated Care (AIC). For more information on the FDW grant criteria and application process, you should refer to AIC website.

* Certified by a Singapore-registered doctor as someone who need assistance in performing at least three Activities of Daily Living, i.e. showering/bathing, feeding, toileting, dressing and transferring or moving.

Waiver of Levy

There have been some changes to the circumstances that employers can apply for waiver of the levy. Refer to the PDFFrequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for more information.

Employers may apply for a waiver of the levy under the following circumstances.

Your Foreign Domestic Worker:

  • is on overseas leave# for at least seven consecutive days
  • fails to return to Singapore after overseas leave
  • is on hospitalisation leave#
  • is under police custody or is housed at the Embassy.

# Levy waiver is capped at a maximum of 60 calendar days per calendar year.

Applications for waiver of FDW levy can be made:

The application must be submitted within one year from the start month of the waiver period requested. For example, if the waiver period requested is from January 2014 (start month) to February 2014 (end month), the application must be submitted by 31 January 2015.

Change of employer’s address

An employer must notify MOM within 14 days when there is a change in the residential address.

For Singapore Citizen/Permanent Resident:
Please update your residential address at:

  • Immigration & Checkpoints Authority Building, Level 3; or
  • Any Neighbourhood Police Post or Neighbourhood Police Centre

MOM will issue an acknowledgement letter once we received the data. It may take up to two weeks. Please make sure that you keep the letter until your worker's Work Permit is renewed.

For Existing Work Pass, Dependant's Pass and Long Term Pass Holder:
Please update your residential address using EP Online (SingPass is required).

The pass holder or company representative is required to log in to EP Online. Click on "Change Particulars > Personal Contact Details and Residential Address of Pass Holder" on the left function bar to update the residential address. Acknowledgment is immediate. The acknowledgment letter must be printed and kept with the Work Pass card. The new residential address will also be updated as the new place of work for the Foreign Domestic Worker.

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Termination of services, repatriation and security bond

Termination of services

When you no longer require the services of your FDW, you should ensure that all issues arising from her employment (e.g. outstanding wages, compensation claims) have been settled before cancelling the Work Permit.

Repatriation and security bond

You should give your FDW reasonable notice of her repatriation to her home country and bear the full cost of her repatriation. To ensure that employers bear full responsibility, a security bond must be executed with MOM’s Work Pass Division. Under the bond, employers are required to post a security deposit of $5,000 per FDW in the form of an insurance or banker's guarantee. This deposit may be forfeited if you breach any of the security bond conditions, including failing to repatriate your FDW upon cancellation of her Work Permit.

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Disputes with your Foreign Domestic Worker

Disputes might arise because of misunderstandings and differing expectations.

When these happen, you should first try to resolve them with your FDW. Even if there is suspicion that she might have committed a misdeed or crime, you should not take matters into your own hands by meting out physical or other forms of punishment.

If you need assistance, please contact your employment agency or MOM which offers help to resolve such employment disputes. The conciliation service is provided free-of-charge. Please contact MOM at 6438 5122.

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Disputes with your employment agency

If you have found your agency's service unsatisfactory, or if you have a contractual dispute with your employment agency, you may seek mediation services from one of two accreditation bodies in Singapore, the Association of Employment Agencies, and CaseTrust. Complete and send the following form (mailing address inside) to MOM:

Feedback on employment agency
Download

Issues for which you can seek assistance include:

  • Delay in application/ cancellation/ placement of Foreign Workers
  • Overcharging
  • Refund of loan and fees
  • Unsatisfactory level of services provided

To identity which accreditation body your agency is accredited with, please refer to the list of accredited EAs on AEAS' and CaseTrust's website as listed below.

AEAS: http://www.aeas.org.sg/accredited.php
CaseTrust: http://app.case.org.sg/casetrust.plx?rm=results

If your employment agency is not accredited with any accreditation body, you may approach CASE for assistance to resolve your disputes. Case's Consumer Hotline is 6100 0315. Hotline hours: Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, Sat 9am-12pm.

Contact details of the accreditation bodies:
1) Association of Employment Agencies (Singapore)

  1. Contact Details: +65 6836 2618
  2. Email: helpdesk@aeas.org.sg
  3. Address: Blk 9 Julan Kukoh #03-77 Singapore 160009

2) CaseTrust

  1. Contact Details: +65 6461 1800
  2. Email: casetrust@case.org.sg
  3. Address: Blk 170 Ghim Moh Road #05-01 Ulu Pandan Community Building Singapore 279621

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Abuse and ill-treatment

MOM takes a serious view of employers who ill-treat or abuse their foreign workers, especially those in domestic employment.

Penalties for offenders

Employers who abuse their Foreign Workers will be severely dealt with. The Singapore Police conducts prompt and thorough investigations into all such cases. Errant employers will be charged in court and those found guilty of physical abuse or ill-treatment will be jailed, fined and/or caned.

Convicted employers and their spouses will not be allowed to employ another FDW permanently.

Some of the offences and the associated penalties are listed below:

Offence Penalty
Voluntarily causing hurt Up to 1 year imprisonment and/or $1,500 fine
Voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means Up to 5 years imprisonment, fine or caning, or any 2 of these punishments
Voluntarily causing grievous hurt Up to 7 years imprisonment; offenders are also liable to be fine or caned
Wrongful confinement Up to 1 year imprisonment and/or $1,000 fine
Wrongful confinement for 3 or more days Up to 2 years imprisonment and/or fine
Wrongful confinement for 10 or more days Up to 3 years imprisonment and fine
Word or gesture intended to insult the modesty of a woman Up to 1 year imprisonment and/or fine
Assault or use of criminal force on a person with intent to outrage modesty Up to 2 years imprisonment, fine or caning, or any 2 such punishments
Outraging of modesty Up to 2 years imprisonment and/or fine If hurt or fear of hurt is caused: Caning and 2 – 10 years imprisonment
Rape 8 – 20 years imprisonment and caning with not less than 12 strokes
Criminal intimidation Up to 2 years imprisonment and/or fine If threat is to cause death or grievous hurt: Up to 7 years imprisonment or more and/or fine

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Illegal employment/deployment

Under the existing Work Permit conditions, Foreign Domestic Workers can only be employed for the performance of domestic chores for their employers, at the residential addresses stated on the Work Permits.

FDWs may only be deployed to work at another address if:

  1. Their duties in their employer’s home includes looking after the employer’s young children or elderly parents; and
  2. They are at the other address to continue their duty of looking after the employer’s young children or elderly parents.

Employers can be charged for illegally employing or deploying a FDW.

Penalties for offenders

The penalty for illegal employment without a valid Work Permit is a fine equivalent to between two and four years of the FDW levy, and/or imprisonment for up to one year. For subsequent convictions, the errant employer will face mandatory imprisonment.

Employers who illegally deploy their FDWs can be fined up to $5,000. In addition, the errant employer will be permanently barred from employing FDWs. The $5,000 security deposit posted with the MOM might also be forfeited.

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Last updated on 04 September 2014 12:25:26