Employers will now have to give their domestic help at least one rest day a month, which cannot be compensated with pay.
The new rule will come into force from the end of 2022, according to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM)’s announcement on July 22.
This was among the several moves pertaining to Singapore maid rules and regulations that were announced by MOM.
Singapore Maid Rules And Regulations: Check New Rules
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In addition to the above, from third quarter this year, it is mandatory for doctors to record the body mass index (BMI) of the domestic helpers, and check for signs of any suspicion and other injuries.
This needs to be done as part of the workers’ half-yearly medical tests and will help the authorities to detect any signs of abuse.
The Ministry said that these efforts were made to help both the domestic workers and their employers settle on a mutually beneficial working path.
MOM further noted that migrant workers may face challenges in adjusting to work and life in Singapore. Similarly, employers may also have a difficult time adjusting to the new person in their household.
The rest day will thus ensure the worker more opportunities to form a social network and to recharge from work.
MOM to also interview domestic workers twice a year
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In other changes, MOM will also interview domestic workers twice in their first year of work, up from once a year now.
This will also allow the migrant domestic workers and their employers more opportunities to raise and resolve issues, and settle into their working relationship.
MOM will set up three neighbourhood centres in tie-ups with the Centre for Domestic Employees to facilitate the in-person interviews.
By the first quarter of 2022, the first neighbourhood centre is expected to be operational.
NGOs Welcome New Rules
Singapore NGOs have welcomed MOM’s new Singapore maid rules and regulations. But, have said that there is still room to further tighten the measures to prevent abuse by employers.
For instance, Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME) called for regulations to allow domestic workers to use their mobile phones during meal times, rest hours and also after work.
The NGO highlighted how several domestic workers who are subjected to abuse have no access to mobile phones.
As part of the new measures introduced by MOM, the employment agencies will be required to conduct post-placement checks. The idea is to ensure that domestic workers and employers are adjusting well and offer support if needed from the fourth quarter of 2021.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to hear of abuse of domestic helpers by some heartless employers. In several cases, these instances often go unnoticed, until the helpers are in dire condition.
So the new Singapore maid rules and regulations are surely a step in the right direction.
Study suggests maids are exploited in Singapore
In a 2017 study done by the independent institute “Research Across Borders,” it was found that six out of 10 FDW in Singapore have experienced some form of abuse by their employers.
From verbal threats, burdening them with excess work, to beating them and depriving them of food, there have been many such cases.
The study stressed that FDWs end up in harmful situations because they are covered under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act and not under Singapore’s Employment Act.
It further went on to say that around 250,000 FDW in Singapore don’t have any form of legal protection, according to a DW article. Important issues like deciding the salary, working hours and even the rest days are decided by the employers.
Their rights are there only within the preview of the Foreign Manpower Act and there is no legal binding.
However, MOM refuted all the claims made by the study and said that 97 percent have no issues with their workload and want to continue working here.
The Ministry said that the survey depicted an inaccurate picture of the working conditions of FDWs in Singapore.
Singapore Maid Rules And Regulations: Here’s What Your Maid Is Entitled To
After several cases of abuse of domestic helpers by their employers came to the front, MOM has strengthened its rules over the past few years. Here’s a list of rules that protect domestic workers in Singapore.
- FDWs are required to live with their employing family in Singapore.
- According to the Employment of Foreign Manpower (Work Passes) Regulations 2012, employers need to provide adequate accommodation for their maids
- The maids have the right to insurance and medical care. All of them should be sponsored by their employers.
- Safe working conditions must be provided to the maid.
- An employer should give their domestic helper enough food. The worker should be given at least 3 nutritious meals per day. If the domestic helper has dietary requirements then the employer needs to adjust to it.
- You should also see that the domestic helper’s accommodation must protect against sun, rain or strong winds. The room that has been provided to them has good ventilation. A separate room should be provided to the domestic worker. However, if it is not possible, then the employer must see that there is enough space and privacy.
- The employers need to pay for the pillow, mattress and blanket. It cannot be deducted from the salary of the maid.
- Employers are no longer be allowed to keep any belonging of their maids, including paid salaries or any other money, according to MOM’s 2018 order.
MOM has also time and again reminded people to report any maid abuse to [email protected] or call 6438 5122.
News source: TodayOnline, Helper Choice, MOM
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