so many Bruises on my girl
Why set up a blog?
Winter: The law is in favour of FDWs. Instead of punishing them, deter them for causing further harm and damages, the law is encouraging FDWs to do more, at our expense. Year 2016 (click), there have been many cases of maids/FDWs not severely punished by Spore law .... what they did were either lightly punished or got away (scot-free). Bad/abusive employers have been placed in limelight (high media exposure), fined/punished severely (1.5 to 3 times more than a FDW) and living in Spore without a good second chance (born, raised and educated here, unless they migrate, shake off all those who know them).
The start of year 2017, below happened to the vulnerable children. Not many would want to entrust kids/elderly and property to live-in strangers (FDWs) if one's income can suffice. Employing a FDW isn't that cheap. If you've more than one kid then it makes money sense to have FDWs - cheaper than childcare centres. A lot of families are forced to take calculated risks just to make ends meet - dual income.
If you've read my blog, you'll know I have no BETTER choice. Govt, provide an affordable special needs daycare centre (nearby) for my young teen and I'll be the first employer to kick FDW out of my life. No doubt FDW allowed me to earn an income and made me break free from the tag of "eye-sore low income group" but having FDW isn't desirable, something worth it or to boast about in my life. The harsh MOM polices and unfair law made FDW like moles in my life.
Filipino maid jailed for ill-treating employer's three young daughters, Straits Times, 3 Jan 2017
Angry with her employer's children for bed-wetting on separate occasions, a Filipino domestic worker used a rubber band to hit their private parts. She also pinched the area. (Winter: That's painful, why FDW simply not punished severely? Why so kind to FDWs?)
On Tuesday (Jan 3), Gernalyn Saraza Mutas, 30, was sentenced to 30 months' jail after pleading guilty to two counts of child abuse sometime in mid-November 2015. The two girls were then aged five and two.
Another charge of forcefully grabbing the neck of her employer's 10-year-old daughter with her hand was taken into consideration in sentencing. A district court heard that Mutas, who is a trained midwife, had worked for the family for about three years before the offences were discovered.
The victims' parents were in Malaysia on a holiday on Nov 17, 2015 with the two-year-old and her younger brother when the mother noticed injuries on the girl's private area when changing diapers.
The victim disclosed that the maid, whom the children called "Kakak Lyn", had caused the injuries.
The father asked his five-year-old daughter if she had been similarly ill-treated as the girl had been complaining that it hurt when she urinated. He examined her and found that she had bruises on her private area too. Two abrasions each were found on the girls when they were sent for medical examination .
Investigations showed that the incident happened sometime in mid-November 2015, when Mutas was sleeping in the same bedroom as a 28-year-old Filipino domestic helper, who was to replace her, and the children.
The five-year-old woke her up and said that she had urinated on her bed. Mutas was angry with the victim and committed the offence, hurting the girl. On another occasion in mid-November 2015, Mutas told the two-year-old to go to the toilet. But she did not make it in time and urinated on her underwear.
After washing her up, Mutas warned the girl not to wet her pants again. She took a rubber band and shot it at the the victim's vulva area and pinched her on the area before putting a diaper and underwear on the girl. The victim cried.
The older girl had told a doctor at the Child Guidance Clinic that she was fearful of the maid and did not dare to tell anyone about the abuse. The maid had threatened to beat her if she reported the abuse to her parents.
Winter: This is unfair. If one day MOM ruled that FDWs should get a room at the expense and inconvenience of employers, do you agree and would stomach the fact that ministers/PAP are treating foreigners better than Singaporeans?
Training needed for maids tasked to care for elderly, Straits Times, 12 Sep 2016
The case of domestic worker Murni Panengsih ("Jailed for assaulting employer's mum, 96"; last Tuesday) highlights the pressing need to address several issues, such as the lack of training for maids hired to look after the elderly and the high levels of stress the workers face.
While Murni's inability to cope with work and mental stress is certainly no excuse for her actions, we wish to raise the issue of the lack of proper training for domestic workers, especially those who have to care for the elderly suffering from dementia and other complicated health problems. (Winter: not ready to work, too princess to take stress = employers' problem? To train and screen a maid, it is our obligation, not agencies? Why are employers paying so much agency fee yet FDWs are unsuitable/of poor quality? Should MOM have another category of FDWs who are trained and prepared to work for special needs households? There are courses for FDWs/caregivers but no prior screening to ensure FDWs are mentally prepared and willing be employed. Employers certainly don't want to cry over spilled milk so what policy is available to protect employers, ensure the FDWs are mentally suitable before agency fees are paid? Also, any document to be signed by FDW after she has been mentally screened by agency and given description of work scope? Activists are keen to condemn employers. Many don't care that we're helpless and lack of support. Many don't understand there are bad FDWs because most are not shone with spotlight, compared to bad employers... severely screwed and reported.)
Caring for the elderly comes with its fair share of challenges and requires specific knowledge and skills. A domestic worker who does not receive proper training and is expected to be the main caregiver will find it difficult to cope with the complex demands of eldercare.
Murni's assigned lawyer said a psychiatrist had diagnosed the maid with adjustment disorder and stated that her mental illness contributed significantly to her offences. Her stress levels were compounded by round-the-clock supervision of her elderly charge.
In a health and well-being research study conducted by the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economicslast year, almost a quarter of the 700 domestic workers interviewed suffered from mental problems. And only 40 per cent of them enjoyed a weekly day off.
The study also reveals that "having sufficient rest, one's own room to sleep in, a stable social network and adequate nutritional and medical attention are crucial for good mental health" in foreign domestic workers. (Winter: This activist obviously hasn't live in a HDB flat with a family and maid. This freak doesn't look at the limited space of HDB flats. Giving FDW a room and the employer/children/elderly sleep in the living room or improper place, makes sense? Anybody insane to do the opposite, do a big sacrifice by allowing FDW to enjoy life better than you? This isn't about basic needs, it is about FDWs/Activists demanding a luxury life, giving FDWs the moon... so unrealistic and ridiculous! Activists are just trying to ruin Spore and pointing fingers at the unprotected employers. Why HDB isn't targeted? Anybody with a clear mind would know employers didn't build such small and expensive flats. We've no organisation to protect and stand up for us so employers deserved unfair treatment and pro-maid policies?)
Singapore is an ageing population, and a White Paper released in 2012 projected the number of domestic workers to increase to 300,000 by 2030. Domestic workers will continue to be hired to provide essential caregiving duties to our young and elderly.
It is important that issues such as caregiving duties be addressed holistically, including the training of domestic workers, their welfare and living conditions.
Sheena Kanwar (Ms)
Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics
Ensure responsible maid employers are not penalised, 16 Dec, ST Forum
There needs to be a discussion on the employer-maid working relationship.
While there are laws to protect the welfare of foreign domestic helpers here, there also needs to be laws to protect employers' vulnerable family members from being abused by maids. There is no foolproof process to assess a maid's character, reliability and sense of responsibility. For the employer to select a good domestic helper, luck is involved.
Maids may also lie in order to find an easier job, for example, saying they are afraid of animals so that they will not need to care for pets. They may also change their minds when they discover the work environment is not to their favour, such as having to serve a huge family. They may then choose to break their contract. This has a tremendous impact on families who require help urgently.
If the maid decides to break her contract, are there laws to protect the employer? The authorities should come up with a fairer employment contract, with the aim of protecting maid employers from being caught in a jam when their maid chooses to break the two-year contract.
For instance, if the maid breaks her contract, she should not be entitled to an air ticket home. This would be fairer as it does not lean so much in favour of the maids, giving them the chance to break their contract at any time. Let us not penalise responsible maid employers.
Ada Chan Siew Foen (Ms)
Winter: Recently an Indonesian was found guilty to 'force' a 14 years old boy to have sex with her. She was only given a light 10 months sentence. Judge knew maid has been tested positive for Chlamydia trachomatis, a sexually transmitted disease yet chose to pass a light sentence for her evil intention (ruin a boy's life).
If a man raped a minor (girl) what will be his lightest sentence? Certainly not 10 months!
How come the mandatory FDW medical check up didn't show maid has sexually transmitted disease? This maid joined the household for only TWO months. Are new/modern maids so scheming and sex deprived?
What's MOM - Ministry of Manpower doing to safeguard citizen's interest?
Why the agency who screened and gave maid the job placement wasn't in the light and be punished?
Why it became employer and family's misfortune/liability when such thing happened? Where's our rights and protection?
Read more of my comments here and here.
Below is the kind of reply you get from MOM .... in response to ST forum letters regarding this evil and sex craving maid. You want better protection, pay more for tests such as HIV, Hepatitis or upgrade FDW's medical insurance (increase coverage to limit risk exposure).... sounds fair? MOM meant more and more maids are getting out of hand and they come to Spore unclean and with evil intentions? Can't MOM put a stop to all these nonsense and rotten apples polluting our land? All these bad maids, employers are fully responsible for them? What are we, ATM machines?
What's the role of agencies and Sporeans' MOM? MOM has been working hard to protect the interest of FDWs.... giving us unnecessary pain and unfair policies. Is this how a caring govt/MOM works? Help source countries to push knives on its citizens? Ensure foreigners get the best out of our pockets? We are not earning as much as managers, ministers or business employers/proprietors. Why make us go thru so much unfairness just because of the word "FDW's Employer"?
Measures to help in managing maids, ST Forum, 29 Sep 2015
In determining the types of health tests to be made mandatory for foreign domestic workers (FDWs) and the frequency with which the tests should be administered, there is a need to balance health concerns against the costs and inconvenience to employers.
To strike this balance, FDWs have to undergo basic pre-employment medical examinations before they start work in Singapore. These include checks for conditions like heart and neurological disorders, infectious diseases, general mental health and physical fitness. In addition, all FDWs have to undergo mandatory six-monthly medical checks for infectious conditions such as syphilis and tuberculosis, as well as a pregnancy test.
If employers wish to limit their risk exposure, they are encouraged to buy coverage for more than this minimum sum. Employers may also send the FDW home to continue treatment in her home country once the FDW's condition has stabilised and she is deemed medically fit to travel. FDWs convicted of violating Singapore's laws are debarred from working in Singapore.
In addition, the Ministry of Manpower maintains a channel for employers to provide feedback on their former FDWs. Employment agencies are required to convey to prospective employers of the FDW any such feedback. This is to enable the prospective employer to make an informed decision on whether to hire the FDW. More information on managing FDWs is available at mom.gov.sg
Workplace Policy and Strategy Division
Ministry of Manpower
*. .*.. *.. *.. *.. *.. *.. *.. *.. *..*.. *.. *.. *.. *.. *
The existing policies made Singapore employers felt being punished for hiring FDWs. These are the unfair MOM policies:
1. Security Bond
Fear, Worries, unfair Financial cost and Responsibilities ...These are the reasons why many employers are reluctant to give their FDWs weekly off days and chose off-day compensation when mandatory rest day was implemented in Jan 2013. By compensating, it doesn't mean the FDWs are agreeable. They may agree in order to get a job and settle nicely into your household, then starts pestering you for off days, claiming they deserve a good rest although they have been paid extra - about $16 to $20 per off day. It is like giving FDW extra salary and yet she is trying to get paid off days.
When FDW disappears, then employers are going to lose money. Since the FDWs are human beings just like us, why do we need to be responsible for what happened to them on their off days or when housed in the maid agencies waiting to be transferred? Our SME, local or MNC employers do not need to lose any money, get implicated if the employee disappeared, gets AIDs, etc. So why FDWs are protected and treated better than the citizens? $5000 is a large sum of money to lose for middle-income group. We are not charity organisation, merely salaried employee drawing a salary that is probably 2% of PM Lee's salary. It is a pathetic figure therefore most couples have to work so as to cope with Spore high standard of living.
Click to read more about modern FDWs: Content page - All topics
If the FDW is found before the security bond is forfeited, the employer should arrange for the worker’s repatriation as soon as possible. A Special Pass will be issued by MOM to facilitate the worker's departure and may be applied through WP Online under 'Cancel Work Permit'.
2. Medical Care and Dental - welfare/well being
MOM: As an employer, you are responsible for your FDW’s medical needs. You are required to bear the full cost of her medical care should she require medical treatment, including hospitalization.
As an employer, you are responsible for your FDW’s medical needs. You need to bear the full cost of any medical care, including hospitalisation, and provide her with medical and personal accident insurance.
As a result of this rule, even if FDW has pre-existing medical condition (before she works for you) and when she fell ill due to the same condition (regardless she knew or doesn't), you are responsible for all her medical fees. Our govt will not help FDW's employer, activists such as HOME will not allow you to say NO. You are an evil person if you ask your maid to pay what she should be responsible for. Have you ever wonder why maid agencies are earning more and more easy money yet no need not face any unfair policies such as security bond, medical (failed to screen maid), etc?
The orange CHAS card was useless, I had no chance to use it as a middle income earner. You have to get you feet stuck in the mud to feel the helplessness and disappointment. You or your loved ones have not incurred high hospitalisation or dental costs? How fortunate you are! You thought I am just complaining about trival matters, stingy and felt offering such benefits to the 'poor FDW' should be no big deal as a Singaporean employer? I envy your good life and naive thought!
MOM indicated that employers fully sponsor FDWs' medical expenses, no cap was mentioned. Dental wasn't listed as part of medical expenses but if you have read the Philippines embassy contract, it stated employers are the ATM machines for the Filipinos. This lead to our miseries because other nationalities tend to follow the prideful Filipinos' way of good life in Spore. It is our hard earned money and we have to 'share with the maid' .... treat her like a family? To pay so much for my own teeth already made me procrastinate for two years. In Spore, people like to say it is better to die because healthcare is not affordable.... wish I can die with my girl 安乐死 Euthanasia, 一了百了 不必惹人厌. If I kill myself, the law says it is a crime ...goodness, can't even take my own life!
Can I get my FDW to co-pay her medical expenses that exceed the insurance benefit limit?
MOM: No, you cannot arrange for your foreign domestic worker (FDW) to co-pay medical expenses that are over the insurance benefit limit. You also cannot arrange for her pay part of the co-insurance or deductible component of the medical insurance.
Winter: So the only alternative left is to send the FDW home before you admit her into any blood sucking hospital. If you're really so unlucky to have a FDW who was found unmovable/unconscious/extremely weak, MOM isn't going to sympathies your financial difficulties or take into consideration FDW's medical is not due to your negligence or evil-doing. Maid agencies are free from any financial damage, isn't our MOM extremely nice to these 'money laundering business owners'?
Do take note, I am trying to save money for my own tooth. According to National Dental Centre's x-ray report, my teeth are not in good condition. To fix one molar, the cheapest option is to extract and put denture. To do root canal and crowning, I must kiss good-bye to almost S$2000 cash .... just one molar tooth! Can't use Medisave or insurance benefit! If root canal or implant is affordable, cost around S$200 after subsidy, why should be I be a penurious person - be stingy on myself and family but extremely generous to FDW? Mid 2013, I chose to extract my molar because it was cheaper.
Saved enough money ... well, finally gave up on govt, PAP isn't going to give better dental benefits and so I did bridging for that molar empty space (extracted) in Jun 2015. Dental bridges literally bridge the gap created by one or more missing teeth. Involved recontouring 2 teeth by removing a portion of enamel to allow room for a crown to be placed over them. Then a temporary bridge to wear to protect the exposed teeth and gums while the bridge is being made. It was so painful because of the opening up of my gums and a very rough, not so smooth temporary 'adhesive' used. The sharp edges of the adhesive that was used to hold my temporary crown made by gum seriously bruised. The back of my gum was swollen, can't eat well or swallow my own saliva for one week plus. Had to use pain killer, some powder to numb my gums before I eat. If I don't do a dental bridge, the other molar on my right would be seriously overworked ... it was cracking! Implant was way too expensive.
MOM didn't take into consideration that our money are hard earned and we don't earn as high as ministers. Just because we're labelled as an employer, MOM/PAP felt it is alright to let FDWs and source countries skin us. Anybody who bothers to be sympathetic to the less fortunate citizens, will know PAP's care and concern is meant for foreigners or the cream of crop.
Welfare and Well being
MOM: As an employer, you are responsible for the provision of accommodation for your FDW.
Accommodation is acceptable only if it meets all the following requirements:
• Adequate shelter - Accommodation must adequately protect your FDW from environmental elements such as the sun, rain or strong winds.
• Provision of basic amenities - Your FDW must minimally be provided a mattress, a pillow, and a blanket.
• Sufficient ventilation - Accommodation must be sufficiently ventilated. Mechanical ventilation (e.g. electrical fan) should be provided if natural ventilation is inadequate. Your FDW should not sleep near any dangerous equipment or structure that could potentially cause harm or hurt to her.
Safety: your FDW should not sleep near any dangerous equipment or structure that could potentially cause harm or hurt to her.
• Ensuring modesty - Your FDW must not sleep in the same room as a male adult / teenager
• Ensuring space and privacy - Where possible, your FDW should be given a separate room of her own. If that is not possible, you should ensure that sufficient space and privacy are provided for your FDW.
Winter: FDWs, especially Filipino thought she should be given full privacy in the form of a single room. Read: "Facebook maids" and "Maids in Spore"
MOM: You must provide your FDW with 3 meals a day. Your FDW requires sufficient food to perform household chores. An example of a day’s food intake for a female engaged in moderate activity is as follows:
Breakfast: 4 slices of bread with spread.
Lunch: 1 bowl of rice + three-quarter cup of cooked vegetables + palm-sized amount of meat (fish/poultry/beef/lamb) + fruit
Dinner: 1 bowl of rice + three-quarter cup of cooked vegetables + palm-sized amount of meat (fish/poultry/beef/lamb) + fruit
Be sensitive to your FDW’s needs when it comes to food. Do not force your FDW to eat food that she is not supposed to or is not comfortable with. For example, your FDW may not be able to eat certain food due to her religious beliefs, or she may not be accustomed to your family’s dietary requirements (e.g. vegetarian food or porridge).
If your FDW comes to work for 3 days, refuses or unable to perform her job, act errant then asked to go home in tears (miss her family), you must pay for her air ticket back home and absorb her loan which could amount to $$4500 (loan, agent fee, insurance, etc). Expensive, not all employers able to part with this huge amount of money! Most employers chose to send FDWs back to agency without advance notice (fear she'll runaway), let the agency counsel them and be transferred to another victim-employer.
MOM: You should give your FDW reasonable notice of her repatriation to her home country and bear the full cost of her repatriation.
Winter: If FDW is pregnant or committed offences eg stealing, moonlighting, ill-treating your child, etc... violated her work permit conditions; FDW has to be repatriated back to her country at employer's cost. Free ticket, sponsored holiday! Read: "Maid finding love" and "Pregnant maid"
I strongly advise modern employers to use repatriation as your weapon to kick out bad FDWs .... if there's no maid loan to blackmail you. Let's try to make unfair policy turn into somebody else's advantage! Every time a lousy FDW is kicked out, Spore will have one lesser headache. Let them spread words at home that Spore has no gold for them to dig and maid agencies are blood suckers. By allowing errant maids to remain in Spore (recycle/transfer), they pollute our country with nonsensical thoughts and greedy demands.
Repatriating a maid without maid loan vs Maid Transfer.
Buying a one way budget airline air ticket cost about S$150 - 200.
Allowing maid to go back to a maid agency, wait for another ill-fated employer to employ her, the cost of her levy, lodging +indefinite wait to see her name off your obligation may cost more than $200. Look at your FDW's contract, it states how much you need to pay agency as lodging and maid's F&B per day.
jojostc: I have a maid for 9 mths, and she also have finished her loan with the agent. can i just terminate her contract and send her back to her own country without keeping the maid agency in the loop?
POA: Why are you thinking of sending her back?
She has worked for 9 months but earned next to nothing.
Let her get a transfer. Unless she has done something drastic.
If you don't need her any more, or you're just not satisfied with her work, let her get a transfer.
jojostc: for my maid, she has reach a point that she refused to follow my mum's instructions when doing household chores.. always thinks that what she does is right..in the end, spoil a lot of things in the house. her attitude just getting from bad to worst. to the point she challenge my mum saying " you not happy then send me back to agent"
so i rather send her back home rather than send her back to agent.
POA: This is one thing I find so ridiculous. Maids that cannot make it with their first employers (and in some cases 2nd or 3 rd employers as well) are deemed to be worthy of higher salary as they are said to have "experience"
why employers are willing to pay more for such maids?
Personally, I would rather take my chances with a brand new inexperienced maid then take one that has that kind of "experience" even if the pay is the same for both.
matrix0405: Most likely she has been 'influenced' by other maids during her day offs - not happy, change employer (BTW, is she under the old 1-mth-1-dayoff scheme or new scheme?). She may be already in conversation with the agent, who could be telling her - not happy, change employer. It is not easy to find a maid but if her attitude doesn't improve, then she becomes a burden. Unless got free replacement within 1st year, it is better to sent her back home than to agent.
Can I repatriate my FDW to another destination?
MOM: Yes, you can repatriate your foreign domestic worker (FDW) to another destination that is not her home country if you both agree to this. You need to notify us of this arrangement when you cancel the Work Permit.
On the cancellation page, select the option declaring that you are repatriating your FDW to a destination other than their home country, and that both of you have reached a mutual agreement.
4. Transfer FDW (maid)
MOM: Employers who are applying for their fifth FDW within a 12-month period must attend the Classroom EOP. Employers who apply for their sixth or subsequent FDW within a 12-month period must attend an interview with an MOM officer before the Ministry processes the Work Permit application. The interview will allow the Ministry to gain an understanding of the employer's practices to assess the application.
To stop greedy, inexperience and poor attitude FDWs from flocking into Spore, FDW shouldn't be allowed to be transferred for more than two times per two year time frame. If a transfer is necessary to feed the maid agency or give maid another chance - a benefit of doubt for job mismatched, maybe each FDW can only be transferred once, within a time frame of 12 months.
MOM doesn't penalise maid agencies for not retaining their FDWs nor do proper job matching by having Accurate bio-data. Agencies claimed it is hard to check on the accuracy of bio-data provided by their source country partners. Employers suffered the most. MOM, agencies and FDWs benefited most. MOM continues to shake legs and collect monthly levy from employers promptly. They act very fast on FDW's complaints but not employers' concerns or when faced with a bad/runaway maid.
Some FDWs are truly just agencies' money-making tools but employers can't help them, pity them nor should be made responsible for their plight. Their home agencies cheated them, employers were merely unlucky to see their bio-data presented and selected them to work. Source country embassies and governments should be responsible for their own citizens. They should ensure the real job scope and working conditions are presented to FDWs who intend to fly out to work as domestic maids. What kind of salary will they be paid, loan and agency fee that each FDW is suppose to bear, etc. To protect their citizens from being cheated, each source country passport offices should stick the latest Spore employment terms. It would be best to show them a video of a Spore HDB flat, the chores and usual employer's requirement/expectations ... let them be mentally prepared.
In Hong Kong and Taiwan, Domestic Helpers probably taken up loans from banks, friends or relatives so they had no choice but to work hard and could feel the money leaving their hands. DHs knew they are responsible for their own actions, behaved like working adults and get more off days - public holidays.
Employers in Singapore are required to pay the MOM a levy (click ) of $265 every month. If the employer has young children, special needs persons below 16 years old or elderly, the new levy from May 2015 is $60 each month. My understanding is that employers in Hong Kong or other countries are not required to pay maid levy. Now the maid levy is lower so employers can reward a good maid by giving salary increment .... maybe yearly instead of 2 years, with contract renewal.
Foreigners should kiss the MOM decision maker's ass for being super nice, gave unconditional 'love' and set rules to force employers to overlook/accept FDW's faults/flaws. Maids are treated like first class citizens, much better than the full-time working women who needed maids, helpers to help them while they stay employable. MOM/PAP doesn't seem to agree most of our salary is just 2% of PM Lee! Read "Who earns lesser than FDW?"
If MOM/govt values us and treating us like humans, not agencies and FDWs' ATM machines, they shouldn't play a part to help FDWs and maid agencies eat our money. There are bad employers and certainly a lot of bad maids too. Nobody is perfect in this world but you and media shouldn't magnify what employers did. We can try to be good but you shouldn't blanket cover most FDW's employers are unkind and evil. How come it is one-sided, employers get punished, name tarnished but maids and agents have nothing to lose nor responsibilities bear? Read: All topics
A FDW levy is to be paid by employers at the end of each month. Levy charges begin one day after she arrives in Singapore. For a first-time FDW, the levy will begin on the fourth day of her arrival (excluding the day of arrival).
Levy payments should be made via General Interbank Recurring Order (GIRO). The worker’s Work Permit will be cancelled if you fail to maintain a valid GIRO account. If payment is not made on time, one or more of the following measures may be taken:
a. A late payment penalty will be charged.
b. Existing Work Permits will be cancelled.
The employer will not be allowed to apply for new Work Permits or renew his existing Work Permits.
Legal proceedings will be taken to recover the unpaid levy liability.
FDW employers may qualify for the concessionary levy rate of $120 per month under any of the schemes below:
- Young child/grandchild scheme
- Aged person scheme
- persons with disabilities scheme
Read: MOM website - rate and login to see your monthly payment
7. Window cleaning - Safety
MOM: It is your responsibility to ensure that the FDW performs her work in a safe manner. Her work practices must be in accordance with the approved work practices stipulated in MOM’s training courses (e.g. the Employers' Orientation Programme and relevant safety and training materials.
Most FDWs' employer have to work. Who is so free to supervise the maid and ensure she doesn't fall when cleaning the window or doing laundry? If maid did something that endangered her life, employer or any adult at home during the time of accident are likely to be fined or jailed. Maids are working adult, suppose to attend SIP training (learn about safety) but if she failed to take good care of herself, her employer .... the legal guardian gets the blame. Maid agents and MOM are spared. HDB designed and built those dangerous flats, why they are not held responsible when citizen fell while doing bamboo laundry or cleaning windows?
4 June 2012,
MOM sent safety circular to all FDW employers:
1.The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has been deeply concerned about the recent spate of Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW) work-related fatalities. Since January 2012, there have been nine work-related FDW fall from heights fatalities, compared to four cases for the whole of 2011 and eight in 2010. Our investigations show that five of the nine fatalities were related to FDWs cleaning windows in an unsafe manner. Two arose from hanging laundry, while the causes of the last two are pending further investigation.
This tragic and unnecessary loss of lives could have been prevented if FDWs and FDW employers took safe work practices seriously. With immediate effect, employers of FDWs shall not allow their FDWs to clean the exterior of windows unless strict safety conditions are in place. MOM also urges anyone who cleans exterior windows to apply these same strict safety conditions.
Comments extracted from Yahoo:
* So now we can't clean our windows because a few foreign maids had wasted their lives in the process of doing it. We have been cleaning our windows all along and found ways and methods to mitigate the danger it involves. Please don't continue to approach everything with such short sighted solutions. Find the root cause and deal with it. This country is being run by too many short sighted solutions already.
* Please ban window cleaning, and HDB should step up to do outside cleaning more often. Take people's money like mafia and sell costly overpriced flats and yet cannot clean windows 3 times a year for the residents? Stupid HDB! Innocent maids' lives are more precious and meaningful to me than you greedy thieving PAP ministers!
* hire maids for what? they might as well not handle hot oil too. because floor slippery can fall and oil splash on them. should not climb chair to clean house too. can fall. a bit ridiculous. just improvise with longer stick and sponge, can clean windows already. no need to climb on stool. not just maids fall from window. many have fallen hanging clothes too. so bamboo poles are next to ban!! the list goes on. better to have a dirty house to be safe.
* What happen if the maid open the window wide not to clean window but want to talk to another maid in the opposite building - but topple over? Should we clamour for Gov to ban maid from opening the window and ban maid to talk across building?
* What happen if the maid use a knife and cut herself? Ah I got a better idea, maid should use karate chop to cut meat, to break bones, use head to head butt coconut, use buttock to crack the water melon - so that maid will not be injured by knife.
Ah, I got a even better idea, since gravity is the culprit that cause maid to fall, ban the gravity, put gravity into jail - so that there will be no more gravity in Singapore and maids will not fall from flat.... What happen maid go off on off-day and got into accidents - ban maid from off day. maid having off-day to go out got accident, got boyfriend, get pregnant then who bear the responsibility? Employer?
* I had a maid before. Despite repeated warning, she still climb to clean the windows, even I have locked the metal grilles, somehow she has her way to locate those keys. Really scare the SHlT out of me few times. In the end I have no choice but to send her back. Sometimes, it is not the employers fault, the maids just do not have any sense of danger. Maybe the training should include showing them a few pictures of those fallen victims will help them to understand the consequences.
* Our ministers are always quick to ban this and that... other measures come by making us pay to resolve problems... COE, ERP. I think this has become their modus operandis. I have maids for the last 10 years but have never requested them to clean windows on the outside. Irresponsible are those who did. Sometimes the maid may have taken the initiative to do it but have unfortunately ignored the safety issue. So now to resolve the problem, maids are banned from cleaning windows. That was a clever solution from a bunch highly educated and well-paid ministers. So, my next question is - When maids start getting themselves cut by knifes while preparing meals or getting scalded when boiling water, cutting by knifes and boiling/cooking will be banned?
* Ban is the simple way out . Then may I ask before having maids, how we managed to survive the window cleaning tasks for generations. It boil down to how to carry out the task safely. We should help the maid to understand the Danger and how to take care of oneself. Look , now the Indonesian authority is saying that BAN maids from doing window cleaning and hanging out of clothing for high rise flats then who clean the windows and hangout the clothings....Ah Ma … the employers? Maybe.........? We Singaporeans are not Stupid so pls stop saying Ban this and that, let us go to the root of the problems and set it Right.
* So do you expect the old folks (or your aged parents to hang the clothes) since you hire the maid to take care of such manual jobs? Are the maids who falls to death too short in height to do such laundry? If yes, perhaps we need to hire maids of certain height, so that they would not tiptoe to hang laundry.
MOM: Contracts and safety agreement for foreign domestic worker
You are encouraged to sign an employment contract with your foreign domestic worker (FDW) and are required to sign a safety agreement with her. FDWs are not covered by the Employment Act because it is not practical to regulate specific aspects of domestic work, such as hours of work and work on public holidays.
When you hire a first-time or transfer FDW, your employment agency needs to arrange for you and her to sign a safety agreement. The aim of the agreement is to ensure that both of you understand MOM’s restrictions for cleaning the exterior of windows.
You do not need to sign a safety agreement if you are renewing your existing FDW's contract.
The safety agreement lists the restrictions on cleaning the exterior of windows. States that your requirements for cleaning windows will comply with our regulations. Includes the FDW’s acknowledgment of your requirement on window cleaning.
To ensure that your FDW fully understands the agreement, the copy she signs will be in her native language. The agreement will be signed by three parties: you, the employment agency and the FDW. You should each keep a copy of the agreement.
8. FDW agent and placement fee
The term ‘placement fee’ initially includes the cost of medical check-up, document processing and charges by source country training centre, unlike currently, Placement Fee includes fees by imposed by overseas recruitment agencies and middlemen. On top of placement fee, Spore agency will charge employer a one-time agency fee of $800 to $2000 depending on agency and nationality of maid. It appears that this non-refundable agency fee doesn't include maid's insurance, SIP, work permit, MOM medical check up, etc.
Sg maid agencies expect all employers to bear the placement fee for maid in advance, therefore, fresh maid repays employer the $3400 placement fee in instalments, means she typically works but gets nothing for the first 7 - 8 months. FDW can opt to be paid no-off day compensation at about $20 per week.
It is extremely unfair to make employers absorb the cost of FDW's placement fees ie maid loan. Also, the maid agency fee should be capped at FDW's one month salary (applies to both employer and FDW) but MOM gave EA (maid agency) the free-hand to do anything they like. Nothing has been done to stop maid agencies from taking easy money from the employers.
If maid wants a job in Spore, she should be fully responsible for her loan, otherwise, don't come! There's no such thing as Free Lunch! By making Employers foot their placement fee (eg Philippines as a source country), it is encouraging maids to job hop, show no job commitment, come to Spore as princesses and give us more problems, can anytime say bye-bye because there's nothing .... no loan to tie them down. If maids want to save money, eliminate middlemen and maid agencies, as well as getting source govt to be involved .... they just want to load their pockets with money from the easiest targets --> Spore employers because we don't have a caring govt. MOM is extremely pro-maid and pro-agency, hasn't failed to support source countries' demand (requirement). MOM endorses whatever EAs did or source country demanded. If Philippines is determined to squeeze more money from FDW's Employers and make us look like idiots or ATM machines, I hope Filipino FDWs can vacate Spore, stopping trying to get employers to foot your loan. Employers don't want prideful FDWs, expensive, stubborn and untrainable to remain here as live-in FDWs.
-Philippine govt wants employers to bear domestic workers' placement fees, Straits Times, 19 Jun 2013
- Indonesia maid placement fee structure, Oct 2012
-Fewer maids from Manila, Straits Times/AsiaOne, 17 Aug 2015
If Phil govt thought Sporeans have pockets full of cash to employ your citizens, I am sure you'll discover we are not rich, most salaried Employers employed maids due to necessity. Since it is a necessity, we wouldn't want to pay more and take in more risks. Wake up, Spore doesn't have gold mines for you to dig! You dare to employ fresh Filipinos? We looked like paid higher by the companies that employed us but have you forgotten to factor in the living in costs and Sg high cost of living, including our children's?
When you get a FDW who learns to adapt and 'tolerate' life as a maid, it means this woman needs a job. Her willingness to compromise, co-operate and be a good helper is what I'm looking for. Nowadays, I think it is hard to get a submissive and trainable maid whom you can order around.
In case you're still in slumberland, there's no way you can force a maid to stay and work 2 good years with you. MOM (via SIP course) has trained FDWs how to runaway from their contractual duties. Maids leverage on several ways to break their contracts and get a transfer. She can refuse to work (boycott), laze around or adopt a poor working attitude and deliberately break/destroy your things. A recalcitrant maid can also feigns unstable behaviour or simply hop into a cab and seek sanctuary at her embassy, HOME or agency.
9. FDW mandatory off day
MOM: A well-rested FDW is more productive. You should ensure that she has sufficient rest, especially during the night. Rest days should also be catered for, as agreed between yourself and the worker.
MOM: Domestic workers, both foreign and local, are not covered by the Employment Act.
It is not practical to regulate specific aspects of domestic work, i.e. hours of work, work on a rest day and on public holidays.
To give employers and FDWs greater flexibility, employers may compensate their FDWs if there is mutual written agreement between both parties for the FDWs to work on their rest days. The compensation should be at least one day’s salary or a replacement rest day taken within the same calendar month.
The Ministry of Manpower understands that the weekly rest day is a new requirement and there may be questions on how employers can implement it. Therefore, MOM has produced a special rest day edition of the employer newsletter InFOCUS, and also a special guide entitled FDW Weekly Rest Day: A Guide for Employers
With such a policy, MOM has added additional stress and liabilities to Employers since Jan 2013. MOM, FDWs and maid agencies have nothing to lose nor any responsibility to bear so they can continue to sit comfortably to count money collected.
It doesn't mean I don't agree FDWs should take off days to mix with her girlfriends, get good influence, attend courses or get good tips on how to cope with loneliness and work well with an employer from different culture/background. It is the problems that maid would cause and bring back after her weekly rest day.
10. Live in FDW
I am not keen to have a FDW living in my house, bear her live-in costs (eg insurance, food and lodging) and nonsense! Really don't understand why MOM insists employers must pay for a live-in maid. Why maids cannot receive a monthly salary like local cleaners and bear their meals, transport, accommodation, etc? Why can't we house FDWs in nearby boarding house? Maid can go off, leave my house once I get home (after work). Don't tell me what she did outside, don't ask me to monitor and leave me alone! Don't make me be responsible for a stranger-human being. Just give me a FDW who can ensure the daily chores assigned are well done, my girl well protected and taken good care of. Let FDW has plenty off time for herself at her own costs and risks. Let FDW stay in cheap boarding house, share room with her own kind and enjoy freedom. MOM can implement a security system to track FDW's clock in/out time from her boarding house and employer's house. If FDWs didn't get 8 hours sleep everyday, they should be held responsible for failing to carry out their main domestic duties at employers' house. She has to bear the consequences as an working adult! FDW is not a child! Employers are not FDWs' guardian and shouldn't be held responsible for maids' problems/misbehave.
Most people need a FDW not solely for childcare or cleaning, it could be dual functions. It doesn't make sense for them to hire a local babysitter and a part-time cleaner although the costs is lesser than a live-in FDW. A live-in, inexperience FDW cost S$1500 to $1700, is this cheaper than to hire a local babysitter (S$700 to $800) and a part-time cleaner (about S$16 per day per 4 hrs of work x 4 weeks)? It is a necessity and the flexibility, that is working hours to fit employers so to some people, a maid is hired... an ideal option.
Most employers are not trying to be nasty, unkind, stingy or inhumane. We're just trying to protect ourselves. Nobody in Singapore will protect employers, except ourselves! We are forced to learn to protect ourselves and not to over indulge a maid. Before maid start to demand this and that, she should ask herself what sort of quality work she provided? How's her working attitude? Does she really deserve the perks .... as a reward not entitlement? Most employee would want a reward for good performance, eg You or Me. A good appraisal, reward or salary increment shows our work in the company is recognised or appreciated by our superiors.
11. FDW's insurance
For medical insurance policies taken up or renewed on/or after 1 January 2010, the insurance coverage must be at least $15,000 per year for each FDW’s inpatient care and day surgery during her stay in Singapore. This is in line with the employers' existing responsibility for the upkeep and well-being of their FDWs, including the provision of medical treatment.
Personal accident insurance
It is compulsory for employers to take up a Personal Accident Insurance policy for their FDWs before they can employ the FDW. The minimum sum assured should be $40,000. Any compensation payable should be made to her or her beneficiaries.
Why insurance is not part of FDW's own cost which include repatriation, a one-way ticket for pregnant FDW or those maids who has violated MOM's work permit conditions? FDW should pay for her own insurance so that each time the maid is transferred to another employer, it will be tagged to her name and not employer's, thus, new employer is not required to buy new policy. Nowadays, it is so hard to find a maid who comes with the right mindset and will provide reasonable service for 2 years. Maybe employer pays for fresh maid's insurance but the policy showed only maid's name, thus, employer is no longer being held responsible? Also, make sure hospitals know the basic FDw insurance policy and do not purposely order the most expensive procedures and medicine.
This is provided that your Foreign Maid Insurance policy is taken up for a term of 26 months and is cancelled within 180 days. The day your maid's work permit is terminated is the day your refund is calculated, not the day you sent her back to her agency. If your maid wants a transfer after working 6 months with you, you will get back nothing.
If the policy is cancelled (NTUC Income):
• Within 3 months from the commencement of the Period of Insurance, the refund shall be 70% subject to no claim made under the Policy;
• Within 6 months from the commencement of the Period of Insurance, the refund shall be 30% subject to no claim made under the Policy;
• Within 12 months from the commencement of the Period of Insurance, the refund shall be 15% subject to no claim made under the Policy;
• After 12 months from the commencement of the Period of Insurance, there will be no refund or endorsement to be issued.
Means if you've purchased a 2-year FDW insurance and FDW wants to terminate her contract after working for 5 months (based on policy date), you'll get $$policy$$ x 30%. If FDW leaves you after working for 12 months and 1 day or longer, you'll get zero refund value. FDW insurance premium is non-transferable to the new employer. Previously, the NTUC Income policy refund value was from 181 days (6 months) onwards = zero. Within 91 to 180 days = 40% of policy premium.
Some insurance companies offered cheaper 2-year premium, eg the refund policy for MSIG is "If you cancel the Policy, you will receive a refund of premium based on the Company's short period rates for the unexpired period of insurance, subject to a minimum charge of $50. There will be no refund if the Policy is cancelled after 180 days from the commencement date of the insurance". Compare the policy coverage if you are a DIY employer. If you are getting a FDW through an agency, you cannot choose which insurance company.
12. FDW starting pay
An inexperience maid shouldn’t be paid a salary that is higher or similar to those domestic helpers working Hong Kong. It is sending wrong message to maids that no experience, bad or unable to perform, Singapore welcomes them to mince us due to demand for maid by people who don’t really need a maid. Some hired FDWs thinking they are very cheap, something like an entitlement. Spore FDWs should be paid lower because they are not trained to carry out proper housework or pay FDW high salary does not equate to better performance and get appreciation from FDW.
Employers who have learnt the hard way will know what I meant. Those who had been very kind, accommodating and caring to their FDWs but were played out by them, how would you feel if you're the one breaking your bank and getting the headaches? FDWs nowadays get much higher salary, better welfare and more people to pity them but they are still not pleased. Look their Facebook comments and their expectation on job websites, some asked for live-out, knowing it is illegal for Spore FDWs. Why are maids so arrogant and demanding? Because expatriates (the westerners) spolit the market or activists brain-washed and fed FDWs with wrong info!
Is it correct to disregard the existing law in the host country? Showing no respect to the governing country is what a sensible human being should behave? Every country has its own terms and conditions yet FDWs are trying to bend them in order to suit them. Do you, as a full-time employee, tell your company or supervisor that you want this and that so that you'll feel happy with your job? Is this how you feel being treated like human, able to voice, bargain and inflict 'injury' on your employers? It is correct to ask your company tweak its policies to fit your needs? If you didn't ask your company to accommodate your unreasonable demands, what make maids so special, must be treated well and let them live far better than their employer? If FDWs cannot take 'hardship', stay in source country. Don't whine in Spore!
Overall maid's quality is horrible and working attitude sucks. I believe it's better to pay an inexperienced FDW a reasonable monthly salary of S$400 per month. MOM should send the right message that hardworking FDWs will be duly rewarded. Princess-attitude FDWs shouldn't be encouraged to fly over and work as domestic maids.
Read: "Cost to Employ a FDW"; "What maids did"; What Maids did? Part 5; Spore maids and my current FDW
13. FDW's half yearly medical
If MOM remains so interested to find out whether the FDW is pregnant or contracted HIV, shouldn't MOM do the policing and get FDWs to report to your appointed clinics during their off days? It is unfair to make Employers continue pay for FDW's half yearly medical check-up to satisfy MOM's requirement. It is also unfair that Employers need to face the implications of security bond and work permit terms when maid is tested pregnant. The costs and consequences should be paid by FDW, not us! We didn't order the maids to sleep around so why should employers pay for FDWs' sexual desires? If FDW gets pregnant, infected with AIDS or other diseases, maid should compensate her employer and ensure her loan (whatever she owes employer +interest) are paid by her family, am I right?
Early Aug 2015, I paid $29.96 for JA's half yearly medical. Different GP charges differently so do ask before you register at the counter. Show the clinic nurse the MOM notification letter so that she can advise you the actual cost after GST. That clinic kept increasing price. I remembered last year it was about $25. I intended to visit another clinic which is $5 cheaper but the waiting time was very long. Next time, I will just pay the fee, go home and then let my FDW wait for her turn. JA can meddle with her mobile phone ... kill time for that 2 hrs long wait.
Transfer an FDW to a new employer
To transfer a foreign domestic worker, both the current employer and the new employer need to complete certain steps.
If you are the new employer of the transfer FDW, you need to complete these tasks 30 days before her Work Permit expires:
1) Get written consent from the current employer by completing Part 5 of the Work Permit Application Form.
2) (If required) Ensure that the current employer has sent the FDW for her 6-monthly medical examination. Her next medical examination is due if the last one was done 5 months ago.
3) Apply for a new Work Permit for the FDW. The FDW can start working for you only after the new Work Permit is issued.
If you are the current employer, you need to:
1) Collect the FDW's current Work Permit card before starting the transfer to the new employer.
2) Continue to pay the levy up to the day before the new Work Permit is issued.
3) (If required) Send the FDW for her 6-monthly medical examination, if required. Her next medical examination is due if the last one was done more than 5 months ago.
If the transfer is unsuccessful and the Work Permit is cancelled or expires, you must send the FDW home within 1 week after the Work Permit ends.
If the FDW's transfer is approved, both the new and the current employers will get an in-principle approval letter stating the transfer date. The transfer date is usually 1 week after the approval date.
As the new employer, you can request to change the transfer date if both you and the current employer agree to it. You can log in to WP Online to change the transfer date and extend the in-principle approval.
Winter: If you don't want to be a DIY employer, pay an agency to do all the necessary FDW transfer.
How do I check my FDW’s medical examination date?
MOM: You can log in to WP Online to check your foreign domestic worker (FDW)'s last 6-monthly medical examination (6ME) date, or if your worker is due for 6ME. Under Print Letters / Forms / Receipts, click 6-Monthly Medical Examination Notice.
* * * * * * * *
From $265 to previously $170 and now $60 as maid levy per month .... cheap so are you encouraged or tempted to employ a FDW?
From May 2015, levy concession for a foreign domestic worker is $60 per month. You can get levy concession if you hire a foreign domestic worker (FDW) to care for a child, elderly person, or person with disability living at the same registered address as you.
As an employer of an FDW, you may be eligible for the concessionary levy rate of $60 per month if you are under any of these schemes:
- Young child or grandchild scheme
- Aged person scheme
- Persons with disabilities scheme
For details, check out the Factsheet and FAQs on Enhanced FDW Levy Concession.
The levy concession for 1 FDW is granted based on 1 eligible person in the household.
You can apply for the concession for up to 2 FDWs (for 2 eligible persons in the household). The concessionary rate will take effect from the 1st of the following month after the application is approved.
* * * * * * * *
Winter: I hope MOM can issue a new law, that is Employers holding work permits (especially expatriates) cannot hire FDWs.... work permit holders deliberately spoil Spore domestic workers' market by offering unrealistic salary. If expat or work permit holders want to hire a maid, then the most suitable method is that they pay COE - Certificate of Employment, at a cost of $500 to 1000 per month, depending on their countries living standard of housemaids. Most of the western expat wives come to Spore with husbands earning high income, able to enjoy life as expat tai-tai, most live in landed property, no need to slog and fight for a job in Spore so why should Spore/Singaporeans subsidize their FDWs' employment?
Western Expats/Caucasians like to compare the employment terms of maids in western countries without realising the monthly salary of low to middle-income Singaporeans and our living standards vs maids' home countries. Expats as well as activists are uninterested to get the facts right - a low income earner (eg cleaner, security officer) could be drawing only S$800 per month, excluding living costs. All Spore FDWs had their living expenses, including accommodation and insurance paid by their employers. Thus, each could receive monthly salary, known as take home pay (savings) of at least S$450 per month. All living expenses paid by their employers so to employ a live-in maid, it cost at least S$1500 per month per maid. This figure is peanuts to expats and activists.
Read: Cost to employ a FDW
$450-600 is certainly not low compared to our low wage earners who probably get a 2 digit savings or zero. Sounds bad but do you care? Have you fought hard for the Sporean-low wage earners and needy families? Obviously NO because your interest is to portray FDWs are pathetic 'slaves' in a country whereby no slave should exist. FDWs get good terms and salary yet kept complaining not enough. Ironic!
Read: Who earn lesser than FDWs?
Expats and activists advocate human rights, misled maids to fight for lesser work but in return, get higher pay and benefits.... causing lots of headaches and financial losses to local employers. Read: "Activists" and "Expat's point of view"
If MOM can't bear to part with a rosy income in the form of FDW levy, thus, kept encouraging these cash rich people to employ 'cheap maids' (in their point of view), FDW-employers who are holding work permits and Permanent Residents whose combined household income are above S$8000, should pay S$500 to $1000/month as FDW levy. If they or any citizen who employ more than 2 maids in the same address, they must pay double for their second maid. Employing two maids do not mean one outgoing maid (returning home or seeking a transfer) and needed a new replacement. It meant those who wanted 2 maids to work in the same address. The reason for these employers to get 2 maids is mainly due to FDWs too affordable and they have the $power to be one of the desirable employers.
Those Employers who are unable to generate enough housework for their FDWs, gave lots of free time during working days are the ones who played a part to our miseries. They are the ones who don't really need a full-time maid, they can turn to other options but chose to employ maids and indirectly caused a surge in maid's demand and high salary. Due to their financial status 银弹攻击, they played the roles of angels and offered juicy perks. To them, it is no big deal to have extra mouth(s) in the house spending half of the time to do her/their personal things eg chit-chat, surf the net or watch TV. This gave wrong impression to some maids and thus, assumed such princess life is the norm or what they are entitled to these in Spore and employers who made them work too hard, eg 8 hours a day are labelled as slave drivers.