An employer is being investigated by Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower after a 41-year-old Indonesian maid and her 30-year-old Filipino co-worker were allegedly forced to sleep outdoors and were mistreated.

The Ministry of Manpower quickly moved the two women to a place where they could get proper meals and accommodation.

The Indonesian maid had alerted online media outlet Stomp News on August 14 and also the Shin Min Daily News about the mistreatment. She alleged that she started working for the employer in June this year, while her Filipino colleague had worked for the family for three years.

Since July 31, the two maids had been sleeping on the same bed in the open-air backyard, which was crowded with many items at their employer’s home in Sian Tian Avenue in Bukit Timah. The family had recently moved into the neighborhood.

They were not allowed to sleep inside the unit because their rooms were allegedly not yet ready. The Indonesian said both women had to work every daily from 6am until 11pm or 12am, at least 18 hours. They had no proper afternoon breaks as they had to take care of their employer’s 14-year-old son.

During their day off on Sundays, the women were only allowed to leave home after working until 1pm, but had to be back by 8pm.

One day the Indonesian woman was ordered to pack more than 3,000 bottles of wine by herself after finishing her daily chores. She finished at 2am the next day.

Their employer often scolded them and called them idiots, the maid added. The women were given a food allowance of only S$20 per week, so they could only afford instant noodles and canned tuna.

To make matters worse, the Filipino fell from a staircase and injured her upper arm, but the employer refused to send her to get medical attention, saying her injury would heal naturally.

Ministry of Manpower officers visited the home on August 15 and sent the two maids into care, while investigations of mistreatment and other offenses are on-going.