Housemaid Basic Duties and Responsibilities

Many Singaporean households depend on the services offered by foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) (from the Philippines, Indonesia, and other approved nations) to ease the burden of managing the residence which involve performing household chores to caring for the children and the elderly. However, domestic helpers are only allowed to perform certain duties and roles, as enforced by the Ministry of Manpower.

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The basic duties of a foreign domestic helper generally include cleaning, washing, and ironing clothes, shopping, cooking, as well as taking care of children, elderly family members, or pets. They can also be given additional tasks such as running occasional errands.

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Through the services provided by domestic helpers, families can better manage their life, and allow both parents to work full-time. However, employers are only allowed to designate certain types and amount of work to helpers as prescribed by the Singaporean government.

Employment Laws in Singapore

  • Maids are not allowed to work for another person or at another address.

This means that an employer is not allowed to let a maid work part-time other than the household they are employed at. Similarly, even if the housemaid has spare time or would like to do extra work to earn on the side, she is not allowed to do so as per Singaporean law.

  • A housemaid is also not allowed to perform duties outside household chores and carework, even from her sponsors. This means that duties such as gardening, car washing, repair work, and tutoring which are not considered as domestic work, are not allowed.
  • The Ministry of Manpower has also cited examples of restricted maid duties such as cooking for her employer’s food business, working in a food stall, or manning her employer’s shop.

Violating these regulations will hold the employer liable to the law.

It’s important that both the employer and the foreign domestic worker discuss restrictions and duties that they must both observe and adhere to, to ensure that both parties meet expectations and that the law is being observed at all times.

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