Helper’s Urgent Home Leave Procedures

So, our helper (transferred) has been with us for 4 days (with one day off already, so technically worked for 3 days) and she suddenly told us her mother has passed away and wanted to go back for a week. If you were in our shoes what would you do?

No qualms about it, Hubby and I wanted to send her back. After all, her mother had passed away! Yes, many around us were asking whether this was true or not. But we had to give her the benefit of doubt. It helped that we knew that her mother was ill before we employed her as her previous employer had told us about it before.

The question now, was, how?

It was a Tuesday morning when she told us about it. The funeral was that very Saturday.

We called up a few agencies. Some did not want to do the procedure for us at all. Some did but said that procedure can only be completed in 6 days. SIX DAYS??!!? And one, who quoted us $285 for the procedure said we can send her back first, they will process documents for us (6 working days), and we will have to courier to her (another $50 and another 5 days or so) the documents so she can come back. This was actually our best bet at that point in time. 3pm on Tuesday.

We posted queries for help on Facebook groups and on our Facebook timelines. Most comments were not useful and most just said we should not be sending her back or she will not come back already. Some even told us to get a replacement immediately and she was not worth the trouble. However some kind angels were really helpful. Many gave us drips and draps of information, and told us it was possible for THE EMBASSY to expedite the procedure.

We called the embassy and got most of our answers. So basically, we needed to make something called the OEC, which costs only $3 at the Embassy. The problem was that documents were needed and you also need to make an appointment to have it made at the embassy.

Making appointment at the Embassy to make the OEC
You will have to create an account with your helper’s name and information HERE. You will need her details like name, address, mother’s name, child’s name etc. So it would be good if you have her passport and herself planted next to you to do this directly at your computer.Only after you have filled in all the details will the button pop up to allow you to make the appointment. We made the appointment for the very next day, Wednesday 9am.

What to bring for the OEC appointment

  1. Helper’s Passport
  2. Employer’s IC
  3. Work Permit (The card. Not the temporary letter. The problem with ours was that her work permit was still not ready. We had to long in with our Singpass on MOM website, WPOL to check when it would be ready. And it stated Wednesday 1-6pm.)
  4. Standard Employment Contract and Undertaking of Employer (Download and fill in the forms from HERE)
  5. Foreign Maid Insurance (Cheapest was from NTUC at about $70. You can just call them to make. It is instant.)
  6. Your Helper

What is done at the Embassy
At the embassy, they will help you to apply for 2 things before applying for the OEC. OWWA membership and authenticating the Contract. You will also have to show them all the documents mentioned earlier. And say that you need the OEC immediately. We even got a copy of our helper’s mother’s death certificate thinking they might need proof to expedite the procedures but they simply did so without asking for it. Our work permit was only ready that very afternoon so we were unable to collect the OEC on the spot though normally you could collect it within an hour or so. Thus we had to wait until the work permit was ready, collected it, and went back to the Embassy to collect the OEC. Your helper need not go back with you for the collection.

Total Cost of all Procedures = $269.19 

  1. Foreign Maid Insurance ($71.69)
  2. Authentication of Contract ($59.50)
  3. OWWA Membership ($35)
  4. OEC Processing Fee ($3)
  5. POEA BM Processing Fee ($100)


Once the OEC was collected, we proceeded with the booking of air tickets.

Most of the helpers from Philippines do not stay at very big cities. Thus not many airlines fly to their hometowns. For ours, only Cebu Airlines fly to her hometown. We managed to get her a flight that very night at 3am. Air tickets cost about $460 for a 2-way flight. She had to change flights at either Cebu Airport or Manila Airport. 

Yes, we were uncertain when we sent her off. She did tell us she will come back and that we shouldn’t worry. But how not to? But one thing we were certain of. We wanted her, a daughter, to attend her mother’s funeral.

Yes, one week later, she came back. 🙂


Playground @ IMM

Many do not know but there is a large playground (with waterplay features!) on level 3 of IMM. It is outdoors and you can exit near Long Beach restaurant or Hai-Di-Lao.

The best thing is though outdoors, the playground is sheltered so the kids can play even when there is a light drizzle.

There are sections of the main play area that are suitable for both the younger kids and the older kids. The purple slide (in the first pic) is actually very high. So parents do need to be around to ensure safety of the younger ones.

Right beside this play area there is also a waterplay area. This area though is not sheltered so it can be pretty hot in the daytime.

The waterplay area’s water is turned on at certain timings of the day. So do not expect to go early before it gets hot. The water sprays only turn on at 10am. Not sure why they made it that way. The first time we were there at 9am only to be disappointed that the water has not started yet. Here are the opening hours:

Monday to Friday: 10.30am to 9.30pm (Closed every Thursday from 7.00pm onwards for events and on the first Wednesday of every month, except PH for maintenance)

Saturday and Sunday: 10.00am to 9.30pm

There is also a shower area at the playground. So it is very convenient if the kids were to play at the waterplay area.