Understanding Termination of Domestic Helper Contract
The termination of the domestic helper contract can be done in two ways:
- Termination of the contract before its expiry by giving at least a month’s notice in writing or by paying one month’s wages in lieu of notice (WILON) to the other party.
- Termination of a contract without the need to give either notice or WILON.
TERMINATION WITH ONE MONTH’S NOTICE BY THE EMPLOYER
The termination notice must be given by the employer to the helper.
Dos and Don’ts
- Read the letter before signing it.
- Do not acknowledge the letter if it contains false information.
- The letter must be correctly dated including the date on which the helper receives the letter to the date of the last working day
- A copy of the letter must be given to the helper.
A warning letter is different from a notice of termination in terms that it normally states that the helper’s contract will be terminated if certain expectations are not met.
TERMINATION BY PAYMENT OF WAGES IN LIEU OF NOTICE BY THE EMPLOYER
The helper may be eliminated without receiving any prior notice by being paid wages in lieu of notice.
The helper has to be paid for the entire notice period even if the employer has given a month’s notice but has asked the helper to leave before the end of the notice period.
TERMINATION WITH ONE MONTH’S NOTICE BY THE HELPER
If the helper needs to quit working she needs to give a written notice to the employer. The notice has to be acknowledged by the employer with his sign on it in order to avoid any complications in the future.
The written notice should contain the following
- Date of serving the notice to the employer
- Date when the notice takes effect
- Date of the last working day
- An acknowledged receipt of the notice by the employer after signing your copy of the letter
If the employer refuses to sign your copy or to accept the notice, photocopy the letter and send this to the Immigration Department accompanied by a cover letter explaining that you have served it on the employer but that the employer refused to sign it. Include the date when you served the notice to the employer in your letter to the Immigration Department.
TERMINATION BY PAYMENT OF WAGES IN LIEU OF NOTICE BY THE HELPER
If the helper needs to quit working for the employer without any prior notice it needs to be discussed in person with employer.
If the discussion is not fruitful the helper might need to pay the employer an amount equal to a month’s wages
- The worker maybe tricked or coerced into signing a resignation letter or a so called “mutual agreement” to terminate the employment contract even though it was the employer who initiated the termination.
- The worker may be told to pack up and leave but is then accused of running away or resigning without notice.
- The worker may be falsely accused of some kind of misconduct to justify denying her termination entitlements.
Dos and Don’ts
- Ask for a termination letter if the employer asks you to leave
- Call a witness if the employer refuses to give the letter
- Read the letter carefully before signing
- Do not rely on employment agent’s words that your employer has terminated your contract
TERMINATION WITHOUT NOTICE BY THE EMPLOYER
An employer may terminate the contract without notice and without payment if the helper has
- Wilfully disobeyed a lawful and reasonable order
- Misconducted herself
- Is guilty of fraud or dishonesty
- Is habitually neglectful of duties
TERMINATION WITHOUT NOTICE BY THE HELPER
A helper my terminate the employment contract without notice or payment if
- She has been physically or sexually assaulted or threatened with violence
- She has be ill-treated or abused
- Employer has not paid wages within a month after they are due
- There has been a serious breach in the contract of employment
- She has been employed for not less than five years and you are medically certified as being permanently unfit to perform the duties of a domestic helper.