Obligations of FDW Employers and FDWs
Your Obligations as an FDW Employer
When you employ an FDW, you are required by law to comply with the Work
Employers who breach the Work Permit Conditions may:
• Have their FDW’s Work Permit revoked
• Have their security deposit forfeited
• Have their future Work Permit applications rejected
• Be prosecuted
You are Responsible for Your FDW
• You are responsible for the supervision of your FDW. You also have a duty
to take care of your FDW even if you are not the person involved in the
day-to-day supervision of your FDW.
In February 2006, an FDW fell eight stories to her death when hanging laundry
on a narrow ledge. The employer claimed that it was her mother-in-law who had
instructed the FDW to climb onto the ledge. The court rejected her claim and ruled
that as the legal employer, she should bear the “ultimate responsibility” for the
FDW’s safety. The employer was sentenced to two weeks in jail.
Your FDW cannot work for Another Person or for Your Business
• Your FDW is only allowed to work for you; the employer stated on her Work
Permit card. She must not be deployed to work for anyone else or asked
to help out in your business.
FDW can only do Household Work
• FDWs are not allowed to do non-household work. For example, FDWs must
– cook for the employer’s food catering business
– serve in a food stall
– work in the employer’s shop, business or office
FDW can only work at Employer’s Address as stated in her
Work Permit Card
• The FDWs should not work at a different location. An exception may be
made for FDWs who accompany their employer’s children to a caregiver’s
home to care for the children under the caregiver’s supervision. In this case,
the FDW must agree to the arrangement and should not be asked to do
the full load of housework in both homes.
In September 2005, an employer deployed her FDW to help out at her food stall
from 10am to 6pm from Monday to Friday. The FDW’s duties at the stall included
serving customers, collecting money from customers and packing food. The
employer was charged for illegal deployment and fined $3,000. Her security
deposit of $5,000 was also forfeited.
Your FDW’s Upkeep, Maintenance and Well-being
Maintenance and Well-being
• You must bear the costs of your FDW’s upkeep and maintenance such as
food, lodging and medical expenses. Such costs should not be deducted
from her salary.
• You must provide your FDW with access to medical treatment and bear her
medical and hospitalization expenses. In addition to purchasing Personal
Accident Insurance, you may want to include coverage for hospitalization
• You should provide for your FDW’s basic needs such as a bed or mattress,
a blanket, towels and bathroom amenities.
• Your FDW should only stay at the address stated on the Work Permit card.
An exception may be made if your FDW is staying at a different address
when you are temporarily not in Singapore.
• Ensure that your FDW has sufficient rest.
• Grant her rest day(s) according to your employment contract with her.
Paying Your FDW’s Salary
• The salary period agreed between you and your FDW must not exceed one
• The FDW must be paid her salary promptly and regularly. She must be paid
no later than 7 days after the last day of her salary period.
• Give her the option of having her salary transferred directly into her bank
• You must keep a record of all salary payments.
• Do not penalize your FDW by making deductions from her salary to offset
the costs of her food, lodging, medical expenses or repatriation.
• Your FDW should be paid in full. For example, you should not withhold her
salary or ask her to put up a bond to guarantee her return from home leave.
In October 2004, an employer who failed to pay her FDW for almost two
years was fined $3,000. She was also ordered by the court to pay her FDW
the outstanding salary owed to her, which amounted to $3,580.
Providing a Safe Working Environment
• You must provide a safe working environment for your FDW and ensure
that she does her household chores in a way which does not endanger her
life and safety.
In September 2006, an employer instructed her FDW to climb out of the
window of her 18th storey apartment and stand on a narrow ledge to clean
the windows. The employer was convicted for breach of the Work Permit
Conditions and fined $3,500.
In July 2006, an employer was fined $2,000 for asking her FDW to climb and
prune a 6-metre mango tree in her yard.
Managing Your FDW
• You must ensure that your FDW is not ill-treated, exploited, neglected or
endangered. As FDWs work and live with their employers, they can be more
vulnerable to abuse.
• Do not subject your FDW to verbal abuse.
• To provide greater protection for FDWs, the Penal Code was amended in
1998 to increase penalties for abuse of FDWs by 11/2 times. Convicted
employers may have their future Work Permit applications rejected.
In March 2002, an employer received a five-year jail term for abusing her
19-year-old FDW. For over 20 days, the employer scalded the FDW with boiling
water, poked her thighs with a pair of scissors and hit the back of her head
with the back of a chopper.
In July 2002, an employer who physically abused his FDW and caused her
death was sentenced to 18 1/2 years in prison and 12 lashes of the cane. At
her death, the FDW was found to have multiple scars and injuries.
Sending Your FDW Home
Sending Your FDW Home
• You are responsible for sending your FDW home when her Work Permit is
revoked, cancelled or if you no longer require her services. She must be
sent to her town or place of origin within her home country.
• You must bear the full cost of repatriation. All outstanding salaries or monies
due must be paid to your FDW before she is sent home.
• Give your FDW due notice if you are cancelling her Work Permit. If your
FDW requests for her employment to be terminated, be sensitive and respect
Breaching of Work Permit Conditions by FDW
• If your FDW breaches any of the Work Permit Conditions applicable to her,
inform MOM, cancel her Work Permit and send her home.
• Employers who fail to repatriate their FDWs upon cancellation of their Work
Permits risk losing their $5,000 security deposit.
• You are legally responsible for the supervision and management
of your FDW
• Your FDW must not work for another employer or in your business
• Your FDW can only do household work at the address stated in her
• You must provide for the upkeep and maintenance of your FDW
• You must provide a safe working environment for your FDW
• You must pay your FDW’s salary within 7 days after her salary period
• You must bear the full cost of repatriation and ensure that your
FDW is repatriated to her town or place of origin within her home