For many of us, our domestic helpers are the ones who keep our homes from falling apart.

They look after our kids, keep our rooms clean, and make our meals.

But because they work behind closed doors, it’s easy for employers to demand a workload from their helpers that isn’t commensurate with their pay.

This was the concern of one netizen who came across a domestic helper doing more work than he thought was acceptable.

FDW Seen Washing 2 Cars in Serangoon

A netizen who was visiting Serangoon North Avenue 1 on 10 Oct noticed that a domestic helper was washing two cars at the carpark of Block 142.

The netizen shared footage of the incident taken from the dashboard camera in his car with Stomp.

In the video, a woman in red can be seen washing a black Mitsubishi Lancer, as well as a silver Toyota car, which are parked beside each other.

“I was at Serangoon North to pass something to a friend when I saw this happen,” the netizen said.

The man felt that the helper’s employer had demanded too much from her, and that this was arguably beyond the scope of her duties.

“It was actually drizzling when the helper was cleaning the cars.

“I have informed MOM about this as I feel that this is overboard,” he said.

MOM’s Response

In response to queries from Stomp, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said it has spoken to the foreign domestic worker in the video, who was seen washing two cars at an HDB carpark.

“She has clarified that both cars belong to her employer,” an MOM spokesman said.

“The FDW has also been working for the household since 2017 and has no well-being issues.”

In 2017, The Straits Times Opinion posted an article titled “Draw up a list of chores that maids shouldn’t have to do”, which made the case that many workers have been given tasks beyond the scope of their duties.

In response, MOM said that the role of foreign domestic workers in Singapore is clearly defined in our laws.

They clarified that employers cannot use FDWs to help out in businesses, for instance, nor make them walk dogs as pet boarders, or make they work in restaurants.

They are, after all, called domestic helpers. 

While they can perform caregiving roles – as long as family members are expected to do the same – they cannot perform clinical duties that can be administered only by registered healthcare professionals.

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MOM said that FDWs and employers are broadly told of duties to expect, but added that it is impractical to detail every task as these vary with households.

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