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Part Time Maid - Is this legal?

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Part Time Maid - Is this legal?

Postby whoisit » Fri, 23 Mar 2012 11:27 am

Lately there is a lot of talk on the forum on what is legal and not legal when it comes to hiring a part time maid. We have a part time maid who comes in once a week. She is provided by a cleaning services company who invoice us once a month for her services. Last week we had a situation where the guard did not allow her to come in and we were buzzed on the intercom enquiring if we were expecting her. My wife said yes she is our part time maid and was allowed through. Now this is where it gets interesting. The maid tells us that we should say she is a visitor to our house and not a maid and something on the lines of she may get into trouble. She was also quite nervous and edgy the whole session she was working. After some questions my wife kinda found out that she always tail gates someone entering the condo through the side gate and hence never stopped. She is also not a Singaporean nor a PR. My wife did not go into further questioning as we have a good rapport with the maid and she is wonderful. We have nothing but praise for her work ethic. We are also not sure what visa she is on in the country and the specifics of her situation. All this aside, is this legal? Is she allowed to work for us through an agency even though is not a PR/SC? Mind you we pay the cleaning company on an invoice and not her directly. Assuming she is not allowed to work what happens if she gets caught? Are we liable in any way?

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Postby nakatago » Fri, 23 Mar 2012 11:39 am

Probably not.

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Postby nutnut » Fri, 23 Mar 2012 11:43 am

Absolutely not legal, stop using her immediately! It may be best for you to cover yourself by reporting the company to the authorities, as if you don't you are putting yourself at risk of repercussions.

If this maid is an FDW (Foreign Domestic Worker) for another family, she could get sent home, the family she works for could get heavily fined and you could get heavily fined.
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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 23 Mar 2012 11:49 am

I concur. You could also be charged with hiring an illegal worker. Bad News! I don't care how good she is, you are playing with fire.

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Re: Part Time Maid - Is this legal?

Postby the lynx » Fri, 23 Mar 2012 11:51 am

whoisit wrote:Lately there is a lot of talk on the forum on what is legal and not legal when it comes to hiring a part time maid. We have a part time maid who comes in once a week. She is provided by a cleaning services company who invoice us once a month for her services. Last week we had a situation where the guard did not allow her to come in and we were buzzed on the intercom enquiring if we were expecting her. My wife said yes she is our part time maid and was allowed through. Now this is where it gets interesting. The maid tells us that we should say she is a visitor to our house and not a maid and something on the lines of she may get into trouble. She was also quite nervous and edgy the whole session she was working. After some questions my wife kinda found out that she always tail gates someone entering the condo through the side gate and hence never stopped.

She can be caught for illegal trespassing a private property, despite of your permission.

She is also not a Singaporean nor a PR. My wife did not go into further questioning as we have a good rapport with the maid and she is wonderful. We have nothing but praise for her work ethic. We are also not sure what visa she is on in the country and the specifics of her situation. All this aside, is this legal?

From your story alone, not at all, in fact it is illegal. Which explains her being fidgety and all...

Is she allowed to work for us through an agency even though is not a PR/SC? Mind you we pay the cleaning company on an invoice and not her directly.

Yes, only when she is hired legally that way, which is not probably. Cleaning companies hire PRs and SCs as their contracted part-time maids (I know because my household engaged one before). It also means one more bad new; the company is also breaking the law by abetting a foreigner to work on illegal terms outside from the ones mentioned in her visa.

One way to find out? Check her WP the next time you see her and see the name of her employer (first line on top left of her card). If it is not the cleaning company as per invoice, uh-oh.


Assuming she is not allowed to work what happens if she gets caught? Are we liable in any way?

When caught:
1. She is liable and will be deported.
2. Her original employer (whoever that may be) will be liable and fined/jailed.
3. That cleaning company will be liable, fined and jailed.
4. You may be liable (unless you can prove that you are misled by the company so it isn't your fault, but now that you have indicated that you already have the conscience in the nature of the situation, this will be tricky. Better clean up while you can).


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Postby whoisit » Fri, 23 Mar 2012 12:12 pm

Thank you all for your advice. Good that I posted to clarify. We did not even know till last week. We only found out when the situation as explained in my original post happened. I just cancelled their services..

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Postby the lynx » Fri, 23 Mar 2012 1:35 pm

Yeah, better play safe. When it comes to law enforcement, Singapore has memory of an elephant's and speed of a kiasu auntie...

I know you adore the maid, but I concur with nutnut's advice to have the company reported to the authorities; police, MOM etc...

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Postby ecureilx » Fri, 23 Mar 2012 3:25 pm

the lynx wrote:I know you adore the maid, but I concur with nutnut's advice to have the company reported to the authorities; police, MOM etc...


And if at all you need more encouragement, last Monday, some of the bars were raided in the city, and guess who else the Home-team found? a lot of maid permit holders freelancing as part time waitresses ..

A friend who was around there was witness to the drama mentioned that some of the maids who had been working in those bars for years and never got caught and had crying - while being led away in plasti-cuffs .. .. :( :(

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Postby fatmouse76 » Fri, 23 Mar 2012 7:47 pm

Since she has already cancelled the service, why need to report ? I dont think its nice to spoil another person's ricebowl,

On the other hand, the employer may not even know what his maid is doing outside, the employer will get in trouble.

I know of an Expat who is working as an Assistant to an Ambassador, knowing the rules, the person is allowing the maid to live out and work for other families as they dont really need them.

I just feel that the authorities should let maids work part time, after all Singaporeans dont wish to do housecleaning ,so let the maids do it, They also need extra money.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 23 Mar 2012 8:39 pm

fatmouse, are you saying then, that the government should let all WP holders work part time jobs? The local population is already complaining about foreigner take their jobs. (The fact that these are jobs that locals won't do is beside the point) If you all one group of WP holder to work more than one job, the they have to let ALL work as much as they want. That would be opening a real Pandora's Box.

As far as telling MOM about it, the should, as the unscrupulous employer probably DOES not what is going on and they deserve to be punished. The laws are there for a reason.

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Postby nutnut » Fri, 23 Mar 2012 9:48 pm

Report em, otherwise someone may not be as lucky as you, they may get caught even though unsuspecting and be fined (I think it's in the region of $15K) or worse. You owe it to other potential customers.
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Postby therat » Fri, 23 Mar 2012 10:27 pm

http://mom.gov.sg/foreign-manpower/pass ... px#illegal

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 they are there to perform duties pertaining to the employer's 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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Postby the lynx » Fri, 23 Mar 2012 11:09 pm

In unrelated but similar note, someone (presumably a local) wrote to Today's paper suggesting that FDWs should be allowed to drive employers' car to run their errands (groceries, sending kids to school, ferrying elderly etc), and even on off day.

Make it FDW-cum-drivers :roll:

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Postby fatmouse76 » Sun, 25 Mar 2012 11:13 am

I understand about the laws but they cant deny that Singaporeans just dont want to do cleaning , well someone has to do it, let the maids do it. We dont even have enough bus drivers here, thus we need to get PRC or Malaysians in, Singaporeans love to complain, but are they going to do these jobs ?

If the employer knows his maid is doing part time outside, then yes he should be punished. But if he doesnt,then i think its really unfair. I have a FDW now who has been with me for a week, takes 4 sundays off and says she is taking Accounting classes for maids every Sunday. I have seen the timetable but yes I just hope that she is not doing part time outside instead of going for classes.

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Postby the lynx » Mon, 26 Mar 2012 1:32 pm

fatmouse76 wrote:I understand about the laws but they cant deny that Singaporeans just dont want to do cleaning , well someone has to do it, let the maids do it.

You are contradicting yourself by saying that. Laws are there for reasons. If one were to be desperate for a cleaner, one should just get own maid. If getting a foreign maid is too much of a trouble, then one should be prepared to pay more for the legal part-time maids of Singaporean or PR status. The idea is to have some control in place to ensure that the FDWs 'don't go wild' and to ensure that those people who truly need maids will help to keep the levy keeps coming in for the government.

We dont even have enough bus drivers here, thus we need to get PRC or Malaysians in, Singaporeans love to complain, but are they going to do these jobs ?

Well the question points back to Singaporeans themselves - why won't they take up the jobs? Why do they think they are the ones who deserve to have high-flying, high-paying jobs with high face value factor? But you and I know that this question will never be answered, not for now at least.

If the employer knows his maid is doing part time outside, then yes he should be punished. But if he doesnt,then i think its really unfair.

If that employer doesn't know and is able to prove it, there is always discourse available for such cases.

I have a FDW now who has been with me for a week, takes 4 sundays off and says she is taking Accounting classes for maids every Sunday. I have seen the timetable but yes I just hope that she is not doing part time outside instead of going for classes.

That's good actually. Pray that she is really doing it and that you are able to trust her on that.


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