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Employment rules for migrant domestic workers (MDWs)

Your MDW’s employment must comply with the Work Permit regulatory conditions. As an employer, you will be penalised if you illegally deploy her to work at another residential address or perform non-domestic chores.

A helper:

  • Requires a valid Work Permit.
  • Can only work for her employer at the residential address declared to MOM.
  • Can only perform domestic chores.
  • Cannot take on work with other employers.


  • For illegally deploying helpers, employers may be liable to pay a financial penalty of up to $10,000. Errant employers may also be banned from employing helpers.
  • For employing a helper without a valid Work Permit, employers may be fined between $5,000 and $30,000, imprisoned for up to 1 year, or both. For subsequent convictions, offenders face mandatory imprisonment.

We understand that employers may need their helpers to take care of their child or parent at a relative’s house.

You must notify MOM before you can proceed with this arrangement. To notify MOM, you must first ensure all of the following: 

  • You have already obtained your helper's written agreement to take care of your child or parent at the relative’s house. 
  • Your helper does not perform the full load of housework in both households.
  • If the helper needs to stay overnight to take care of your child or parent at your relative’s house, her accommodation meets the requirements.

As an employer, you remain responsible for your helper's upkeep and maintenance, which include providing acceptable accommodation, adequate food and medical treatment.