There’s lots of misinformation out there about the helper security bond. Expert Karien from H.O.M.E. lets you know your rights
‘But if my helper gets pregnant, I will lose the security bond, right?’
This is a question I have been asked so many times I lost count. The answer is actually pretty simple. No, you won’t usually.
Many people think they will lose their $5,000 security bond when their domestic worker runs away, gets pregnant, or breaks the law in any other way. The security bond therefore acts as a good deterrent to make employers restrict their domestic workers in their movements during their time off. Better safe than sorry, right? A lot of money is at stake.
In fact, the regulations around the security bond have been relaxed in recent years, so it is important to be aware of the actual, current rules. They are all explained quite clearly on the MOM website.
First, let’s explain what this security bond is. It’s basically a binding pledge to pay the government up to $5,000 if you break the law or the conditions governing the employment of a domestic worker. Many employers additionally take out insurance for this bond, which means that insurers guarantee to pay the government should you break the rules. You will be discharged from any security bond liability after your domestic worker’s work permit has been cancelled, and she has returned home.
The bond’s most important aim is to make sure that your domestic worker leaves the country after her work permit has been cancelled. If you fail to do so, and she goes missing, only half of the security bond will be forfeited if you have made reasonable effort to locate her and have filed a police report.
The bond can in theory be forfeited if you or your domestic worker violates any or the conditions of the work permit, as discussed in my earlier post. This shows the bond exists as much to ensure you stick to the rules as it does your helper. However, in reality, forfeiting of the security bond is not commonly enforced in cases where work permit conditions are violated.
So what does it mean when your domestic worker violates those regulations, including getting pregnant? There is one very important stipulation that every employer needs to know about:
You will not be liable for your helper’s violations if you can prove that you have:
- Informed her of the work permit conditions she must comply with
- Reported a violation when you first become aware of it
This shows that the most important thing to do as an employer is to sit down with your domestic worker and discuss all the work permit conditions she has to comply with. Make sure she understands them, and what the potential consequences are when she breaks them.
A next step would be to make sure that she knows she can trust you; tell her to come to you first when she is in any trouble. That way, you will be able to come to a solution together.