Paying Your Maid’s Salary During Home Leave: What You Need to Know

20th November 2023

When you hire a domestic helper in Singapore, you’re not just welcoming them into your home; you’re also committing to providing them with fair and responsible employment. Offering employees a chance to reconnect with their loved one after a long employment contract with us, is vital for their well-being and plays a key role in fostering a positive and enduring working relationship, similar to any other typical employment.

So what do you need to know about home leave and if you need to pay them their salary during this period?

Salary during Home Leave?

As per MOM regulations, employers are not obligated to pay their employees’ salary during Home Leave unless this condition is specified in the employment contract, which is usually negotiated before finalising the employment agreement.

Home Leave Expenses

The typical costs involved comprise mainly of airfare and some miscellaneous expenses (if any). Although a home leave is intended to allow domestic helpers to reconnect with their families after completing their employment contract, many employees tend to find it financially challenging. Especially when they are earning only an average of $400-$600 a month.

Whether this home leave expense is paid for by employer or employee remains at the discretion of each employer, as there isn’t a rigid rule by MOM mandating this decision. So what is the common practice in the industry?

Common Practice

The prevailing industry practice in 2023 currently leans toward and industry norm where employers graciously extend their support by offering and  covering the home leave expenses for their devoted helpers, considering it as a nominal cost for employers. This benefit is commonly provided as a gesture of appreciation and reward for their helper’s dedication over the years. However, employees should not be expecting this from every employer.

Lately, this aspect is typically addressed in the early stages of hiring and negotiation, with clear provisions outlined in the contract. Opting not to provide this non-mandatory benefit is a choice you can make; however, it could impact the ease of hiring a helper for your household. After all, maids are also free to choose their employers, and it’s reasonable to assume that employers who do not mind this small gesture would be easier to work with.

In summary, encouraging your helper to take a paid home leave after a long contract will definitely help in nurturing a positive and productive working relationship, ensuring that they’ll return refreshed and motivated, ready to continue providing dedicated service in your household. If you are satisfied with your employee’s performance and have intentions to retain her on board for her services, prioritising their well being is definitely essential for cultivating a positive employer-employee relationship.

We suggest employers to consider subsidising the home leave expenses as a token of appreciation for their employees’ hard work especially if you find yourself in a good financial position to do so. A gesture as small as this can create a profound and meaningful impact on Foreign Domestic Workers who have travelled a long way just to make a living in a foreign country.