MOM outline new guidelines for sending a domestic worker home
If you have a domestic worker or plan to hire one, read this first!
If you have house help, take note of these new guidelines for helpers after the end of their contracts, as outlined by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act. The legal requirements involve employers arranging direct flights or ensure travel allowance for Overseas Foreign Workers (OFWs) to fly home at the end of their employment.
Amended guidelines for maids after end of contract
There are 7 steps to follow according to guidelines outlined by MOM.
- Make sure the domestic worker’s passport is valid.
- Purchase a direct air ticket to the international airport in her home country that is closest to her hometown.
- Paying for the air ticket in full – this includes fees for check-in luggage.
- If transit is required because of the lack of direct flights available, sufficient allowance should be provided to cover her expenses in that time.
- The details of the arrangement must be discussed between domestic workers and employers prior to purchasing the air ticket.
- If the domestic worker’s permit is cancelled, the booked ticket date must be within two weeks after the contract end date.
- Any and all outstanding employment issues, such as salary, must be resolved before the domestic worker is repatriated.
The move has been applauded by the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME), who advocate for OFWs rights. The Singapore-based charity claim some domestic workers are left in transit for over 12 hours with no means of feeding themselves. “It is heartening to note moves that benefit the general well-being of MDWs [migrant domestic workers]”.
Other important tips for employers to ensure OFWs wellbeing
While this is a big step towards ensuring domestic workers are looked after following their employment, it’s also important for employers to comply with MOM’s regulations to maintain positive wellbeing for domestic workers while they are working.
In order to stick to your responsibilities as employers, here are some simple tips to follow to establish healthy working relationships that leave domestic workers feel respected and empowered.
1. Manage expectations
Start discussing with your domestic worker as soon as possible to establish expectations on what work they are doing in your household. This minimises any confusion around their responsibilities and prevents unnecessary miscommunication.
2. Remember to provide constructive criticism
Giving constructive criticism builds better working relationships and gives domestic workers a chance to improve on past mistakes. After all, everybody makes mistakes and no one deserves to be humiliated or scolded. Taking this calm approach allows you to treat domestic workers with the respect they deserve.
3. Respect their privacy
Respect your domestic worker’s boundaries and avoid disturbing their personal space. Everyone needs me-time and your helper is no different.
4. Establish working hours
Similarly to point one, talk and agree on working hours, as well as days off. This lets both you and the domestic worker sing from the same hymn sheet, so to speak. Once there’s a clear understanding, everyone will be happier when there’s a clear schedule to follow.
5. Respect their days off
If your domestic worker is on a designated day off, respect their time and don’t ask them to work overtime. In fact, encourage them to make the most of it and enjoy themselves. Everyone needs to recharge mentally and physically. By respecting their days off, you give your domestic worker a chance to improve their overall wellbeing which is vital for work productivity and general happiness.
6. Be aware of your helper’s rights
Employers are responsible for the wellbeing of their domestic workers. This means ensuring their salary meets the minimum wage, giving sufficient food allowance, and allowing sufficient time off that they are entitled to. When you take the initiative and are familiar with these guidelines, your domestic worker will respect you more for looking after their wellbeing.
The new guidelines for maids after end of contract are in place to ensure they are repatriated safely and with minimal distress en route home. Employers should also be aware of other ways to encourage positive wellbeing in their domestic workers. This will make the working relationship better for both parties in the long run.
Source: The Independent (SG)