What to do if your maid gets pregnant
Read everything you need to know about what you should do if your maid gets pregnant in Singapore.
Recently I got the shock of my life – I found out that my maid was pregnant!
My maid Alice (name changed) had been with us for almost two years, and things were going very well. She was quiet, hard-working, and got on famously with our two little ones.
Other than little issues that cropped up early in her tenure, I never had any problems with her. However, from about five months prior to her departure, I noticed a few changes.
She would sleep in my daughter’s room and I would often find her on the phone for hours at night. But this really didn’t affect her work; in fact, her work had improved tremendously… so I let these pass.
In retrospect, I feel I should have queried her about the long calls as we had quite a good relationship. It is not that I was not curious, but I felt that it was not my business. A couple of days before Alice left, she came to me teary-eyed claiming her son was in the hospital.
Naturally we took her story very seriously and booked a ticket on the first flight we could get. She was to take three weeks off and return after she knew everything was alright with her son.
A few days after Alice left, I received a call from the clinic where she went for her bi-annual check-up. She had her test a few days before she left and the doctor broke the news to me – Alice was 10 weeks pregnant.
The doctor informed me that the report will be sent to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and that Alice will be blacklisted from entering Singapore again.
Keep reading to know what to do if your maid gets pregnant.
As it turns out, Alice is not the only maid to get pregnant here in Singapore. According to an article that appeared in Health Exchange, about 100 foreign maids in Singapore are sent home every year because they are pregnant.
But this doesn’t necessarily mean that it is only 100 out of the almost 200,000 foreign domestic workers here that do get pregnant. These known pregnancies come to light only because of the mandatory medical tests.
The same article states that some others who find out they are pregnant try to induce a miscarriage by taking strong drugs such as Cytotec, a prescription drug that is used to treat stomach ulcers.
Others get medication sent by family or friends to terminate the pregnancy in time for their medical tests.
A very small percentage of the maids who get pregnant opt for ‘legal abortions’ through ‘private arrangements’ with their employer.
MOM has very clear-cut rules about maids getting pregnant while working in Singapore.
Under MOM regulations, those on work permits cannot become pregnant or give birth here unless they are married to Singapore citizens or permanent residents with the government’s permission.
It is very rare for a maid to come to her employer about her pregnancy, unless she has been with the family for years.
If faced with this situation, employers should inform MOM and terminate the helper’s contract. However, as stated previously, some employers do make arrangements to send their helpers for abortions.
If like me, you only find out about the pregnancy after the medical tests, you are, according to the guidelines given by the MOM, obliged to inform MOM’s Work Pass Division through iSubmit web portal. You can also email [email protected] the following information:
- Name of maid
- Work Permit number
- Doctor’s letter/memo confirming the pregnancy and her expected delivery date
- Citizenship of the maid’s spouse (if applicable)
Thereafter, the maid’s work permits would be cancelled, and the employer must buy a ticket for the maid to be sent home.
Employers who fail to do this risk losing the $5,000 security deposit they parked with the ministry.
Although the figures prove that this is not a pressing issue, maid agencies do take precautions to educate all new maids that having affairs and getting pregnant could result in them losing their job and work permit.
Employers should also have regular chats with their maids about these risks, and be on the lookout for changes in a helper’s behaviour. Educating maids about the risks may save them from the heartache of losing their livelihood or worse, facing the impossible decision of abortion.
Have you faced a similar situation as I did? Let us know your story by leaving a comment below.