MOM Addresses Issues on Living Conditions for FDWs under the FEDA

May 16, 20178:33 am1512 views

Minister of Manpower (MOM), Mr Lim Swee Say responds to a question raised at the parliament sitting on May 8, by a member of parliament Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang on the percentage of workers living in dormitories not covered under the Foreign Employee Dormitories Act (FEDA) and standards of equivalence maintained at these accommodations, if at par with the larger dormitories.

Mr Lim Swee Say said, “As of March 2017, about one-third of Work Permit Holders residing in Singapore live in foreign employee dormitories licensed under the Foreign Employee Dormitories Act (FEDA), which imposes additional conditions appropriate to the higher concentration risks posed by large dormitories. The remaining two-thirds live in other smaller accommodation types, such as Factory Converted Dormitories (FCDs), HDB Flats, and Private Residential Premises.”

Smaller accommodation types which are not covered under the FEDA are nonetheless still required to comply with a set of comprehensive regulations and requirements as imposed by various agencies, to ensure a safe and well-maintained living space for all foreign workers.

These include standards for building structural safety governed by BCA, fire safety governed by SCDF, as well as proper and adequate sanitary facilities governed by NEA. Once all approvals have been obtained, URA (Urban Redevelopment Authority) will then grant the owner of the premises with permission to operate a workers’ dormitory.

See: Revised Personal Accident Insurance Requirements for FDWs in Singapore to Come into Effect from October 2017

To ensure these accommodations are of comparable standards to larger dormitories, the MOM takes three approaches. First, the Government regularly reviews standards across all types of foreign workers’ accommodation, taking into account the unique nature of each type. Where appropriate, the minimum standards will be raised to improve the well-being of foreign workers.

For example, MOM has required operators of Factory Converted Dormitories (FCDs) to comply with additional conditions from 1 January 2017, including the provision of Wi-Fi and a sickbay. The Ministry also works closely with various agencies such as NEA (National Environment Agency), URA and SCDF (Singapore Civil Defence Force) to conduct routine and ad-hoc inspections.

Also looking into complaints of poor housing, MOM also conducts proactive inspections. From 2014 to 2016, MOM conducted close to 4,000 foreign worker housing inspections, which were ramped up from the earlier count of 700 housing inspections in 2014 to 1,800 in 2016.

Thirdly, enforcement actions have been taken against employers and dormitory operators who fail to comply with MOM’s regulations, standards and requirements.

Also read: CDE Singapore to Look into Issues Related to Salary, Insurance and Training for FDWs in the Region

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