For many Singaporeans, domestic helpers are a necessary luxury. Most homes have busy parents with younglings that need attention. Others live with their ageing parents, making it necessary to have someone on the look. Interestingly, official statistics indicate that the number of foreign domestic workers seeking work permits is increasing. In particular, 2017 recorded the highest number of work permits for domestic helpers in Singapore.
With the increasing need for maids, there is a growing need for employers to understand that they need insurance. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) requires that an employer buys insurance for their maids even before entering the country. As a result, it becomes critical for employers to understand the bare minimum for purchasing insurance for maids.
Basically, MOM places the minimum requirements as guidelines for buying insurance for the maids. This article will discuss the requirements as the law of Singapore outlines.
This is the most essential type of cover that employers must buy for the maids. In particular, the law requires that the cover goes beyond the general medical cover.
When shopping for medical insurance for your domestic helper, you must have her medical details. These include medical history and pre-existing conditions. This is important the insurance you buy will only insure medical conditions discovered in her stay at your house.
In essence, insurance covers only the incidences that happen while the maid is at work. Interestingly, the law requires that an insurance cover does not cover pregnancy and related issues. In particular, if the employer pays for such uncovered incidences, it will amount to violating the terms of work permit. In such a case, an employer may only cover repatriation costs and the costs of hiring a new helper.
This is a general insurance requirement for the domestic helpers in Singapore. It gets more crucial when one stays in apartments with many floors. In essence, chances for accidents are higher in high-rises than low-lying bungalows.
In particular, accident cover is for all the incidences that happen within the premises of the home. Also, if you went for a vacation and your maid got injured from a freak accident, you will cover that.
Since October 1 2017, MOM introduced new requirements for insurance. With the new requirements, the government expects employers to pay at least $60,000 for personal accident cover. This is a higher value compared to the initial $40,000. As a result, annual insurance premiums went up by between $7 and $15.
At the time of reviewing the guidelines, the Minister of State for Manpower Sam Tan observed that:
“The current level of protection… is no longer sufficient if an accident happens, and the foreign domestic worker is no longer able to provide for her family.”
There are various insurance requirements that employers need to take care of. For instance, if a maid dies while on duty, the employer must repatriate the body to the home country. In essence, this means that there has to be repatriation insurance. Therefore, it is an insurance requirement that the employer also buys repatriation insurance for the maid.
There are other covers like third party liability insurance. This is crucial, especially in the cases where one lives in an apartment. In particular, apartments hold many people. In the process of interaction, a maid might cause bodily harm to third parties. As one of the conditions for work permits, the employer is liable for crimes the maid commits. Therefore, third party liability insurance covers this.