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Ask Andreas: My helper wants to learn to drive…

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 wants some advice about giving her helper driving lessons…

My helper wants to learn to drive and is asking for us to help fund her lessons; she hopes that being able to drive could increase her earning capacity to support her family back home. We realise this could mean she eventually leaves her position with us and may not pay us back – are there any other risks we should be aware of i.e. looking into insurance/liability? Do you have any other advice?

In general, the answer is that Foreign Domestic Workers may not drive. To quote the Ministry of Manpower:

–   A foreign domestic worker (FDW) is employed to take care of the domestic household needs of the employer’s family. Driving a motorised vehicle is not an essential component of household work, thus, an FDW should not drive as part of her domestic duties. Doing so would constitute a breach of the Work Permit conditions.
–   The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will consider, on a case by case basis, where a family has special needs and seeks approval from the Ministry to do so.

Note the loophole: they will consider your particular case if you ask them. Chances of granting approval are presumably low, tut let’s assume that you have received permission from the Ministry of Manpower and move on from there.

While your helper wanting to get a driving license is commendable, you should perhaps only pay for the lessons if you actually need her to drive, unless you give the lessons to her as a sort of bonus. Certainly she might get another job by taking advantage of her new skills (but probably not in Singapore due to the aforementioned rules) but that can happen anyway.

If she will drive your car, you should inform your car insurance company so that they can add her to the “named drivers” list. Actually you might want to start with asking your insurance company if the policy will cover her driving at all.

Finally, before you let helper to drive your children, consider what kind of driver she will be (or is). Focused or distracted? Calm or temperamental? In other words, would you trust her with the kids in the car?

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.

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