Timetable found in library book shows how hectic domestic helper's day is in S'pore

Long days, every day.

Mandy How | Belmont Lay | March 29, 2018, 12:27 PM

A detailed timetable suspected to belong to a domestic helper in Singapore was discovered in a public library book recently.

According to the tip-off, the letter was found under the cover of a book on March 20.

Jam packed day

In the original uncensored timetable, two mobile phone numbers were listed at the top, presumably belonging to the domestic helper's employer.

The name "Janila" can be seen on the top-right-hand corner.

Here are some of the details of the schedule:

• The timetable shows that the domestic helper is instructed to wake up at 530am daily for chores.

• She is given a 30-minute break between 130pm and 3pm.

• She is allowed to go to sleep at 1030pm, but is required to wake up at 1am to check on the employer's child, QD, to "cover the blanket if he is cold/remove blanket if he is hot".

• She is given a one-day break a month.

• She has to read to QD and even list down the books she read to him per day or week.

• She has to take QD to Ikea for activities, which indicates she could be staying in Tampines or Alexandra area.

• She is required to mop the floor two times and dry it with towels.

• She is told she can be instructed via the home camera if necessary.

In the tip-off Mothership.sg received, some questions were asked of this practice of providing a timetable, such as if detailed instructions are normal for domestic helpers in Singapore and if they are meant to be detailed and clear or stifling and excessive.

The age of the child, referred to as QD, is not known, but it is a boy who is young enough to be milk bottle-fed but old enough to go for swimming lessons.


MOM responds

In response to Mothership.sg queries, the Ministry of Manpower said schedules are useful, but should be reasonable:

Employers should inform their prospective foreign domestic workers (FDWs) of their job scope, especially if their duties include caregiving for the young, elderly or disabled. They should also ensure that the FDWs are able and willing to perform the duties.

Providing a schedule is helpful as a guide to the FDWs, especially new ones. However, it must be reasonable and meet the conditions set out in the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act, such as ensuring that the FDW gets adequate food and rest. Treating each other with respect and dignity is also important for a healthy working relationship.

MOM will be contacting the employer for more information.

Should there be any disagreements, FDWs and employers can approach their employment agencies for assistance, contact the Ministry of Manpower at [email protected], or the Centre for Domestic Employees at 1800 225 5233.