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Ask Andreas: My helper has left for a family emergency, what can I do?

ExpertsPost Category - ExpertsExpertsFamily LifePost Category - Family LifeFamily Life - Post Category - Domestic HelpersDomestic Helpers


We have the best Agony Uncle at Sassy Mama – Andreas is the author of one of our most-recommended books: Hiring & Managing Domestic Help. It’s an absolute must-have for Singapore mamas and you canbuy it here!

This week, one mama has been left in the lurch by a helper’s family emergency…

For temp work, you can use a cleaning agency (Sassy Mama recommends Amahs on Wheels). Admittedly this is a much costlier solution than a helper or an illegal part time. Note that hiring a “part-time helper” who is not a permanent resident or citizen is illegal, despite the fact that many do so.

Your obligations to the current helper (salary, insurance and so on) are valid as long as she only stays away a reasonable time.

Ensure the time period is clear and agreed from the start. There is a fine line between family emergency and taking advantage of the employer’s kindness. If she is away from work too long and without communication, you are within your rights to terminate her after fair warning. Technically you can also deduct any days she is off from vacation time.

If she remains “missing” completely, you must inform file a police report and cancel her work permit (via WP Online) within seven days of you becoming aware.

If you hire a new helper this is just like hiring any other helper. Processing takes a few weeks and as mentioned there are no temp contracts. A Foreign Domestic Worker contract is always two years. However you are within your rights to terminate a helper at any time so effectively she is employed as long as you need her. In fairness you should inform her of any length of contract constraints situation up front.

For the only guide you’ll ever need on working with a helper, check out Andreas’ fab book ‘Hiring and Managing Domestic Help’ and buy it here.

Do you have a question for Andreas? Email [email protected] with the subject line “Ask Andreas” and we’ll make sure it gets answered on the site!



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