The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is stepping up efforts to protect rights of foreign domestic workers (FDWs) in Singapore and stem misuse of maids for jobs other than what they are assigned for.
The Employment of Foreign Manpower Regulations clearly states the roles and responsibilities of employers and FDWs, to ensure that they are allowed to work only for their employer at the address stated on the work permit when issued.
These regulations are made known to both employers and FDWs in many communication materials. They are informed of the consequences of illegal employment and false declaration when they attend the mandatory Employer Orientation Programme (EOP) and the Settling-in-Programme. The MOM will now be checking on errant practices when conducting selective interviews for first-time FDWs.
For employers who had engaged the services of an employment agency (EA), the employment agent will also highlight the legal responsibilities of the employer and other good practices.
MOM also stipulates in the Employment Agencies Act that Singapore EAs are allowed to collect no more than one month of the worker’s salary for each year of service, capped at two months’ salary. Debts paid overseas and the regulation of EAs in foreign countries, fall under the jurisdiction of the foreign government.
Employers who fail to ensure that their FDWs are performing only domestic work at the registered work permit address may face a financial penalty of up to $10,000.
Those who attempt to circumvent the work pass system and provide false information to apply for work permits for their FDWs can be fined up to $20,000, and/or face imprisonment not exceeding two years under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA), Straits Times reports.
MOM takes a stern view of errant practices in the employment of FDWs. Members of the public who know of employers who contravene the EFMA should notify MOM on (65) 6438-5122 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. All information will be kept strictly confidential.
Many of the collaterals and handbooks distributed to FDWs also include help lines and channels where they can report errant practices to MOM for further investigations.