Safeguards to ensure well-being of foreign domestic helpers

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) takes the well-being of foreign domestic workers (FDWs) seriously. Many of the suggestions raised by Mrs Sakina Yusuf Kagda ("Regular monitoring of maid welfare needed"; Forum Online, Feb 12) are already in place.

We have strict laws clearly laying out the responsibilities of employers and employment agencies towards the well-being of FDWs, such as ensuring they have adequate food and rest. MOM takes allegations of FDWs' mistreatment seriously and thoroughly investigates such reports. Anyone who has violated our laws is taken to task and penalties include fines, jail terms and permanently barring such employers from hiring FDWs.

Beyond legal protection, we make it mandatory for all new FDWs to attend a Settling-In Programme where they are educated on their rights and responsibilities. They are also informed of various assistance channels, including a dedicated MOM FDW hotline.

Even after their deployment to households, MOM continues to engage FDWs through various outreach efforts such as roadshows and newsletters. We also conduct one-on-one interviews with close to 3,000 first-time FDWs each year to ensure they are settling in well.

Our surveys consistently show that more than nine in 10 of FDWs are satisfied working in Singapore and eight in 10 would recommend their friends or relatives to work here.

We assure Mrs Kagda and members of the public that MOM remains committed to ensuring the welfare and dignity of all workers in Singapore.

Anyone with information on suspected offences involving FDWs, such as mistreatment, can also write in to mom_fmmd@mom.gov.sg or call MOM on (65) 6438-5122.

Kevin Teoh

Divisional Director

Foreign Manpower Management Division

Ministry of Manpower