Forum: Tougher rules in store for maid agencies

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) thanks the various writers for their feedback on the hiring of foreign domestic workers (FDWs). (Hold maid agencies responsible for poor matching service, March 10; Transparency needed from FDW employment agencies, March 5; Agency charges same amount for new and transfer maids, Feb 20).

While FDWs and their employers are key partners in ensuring good employment outcomes, employment agencies (EAs) also play a critical role in ensuring that employers find FDWs who are a good match for their needs.

The MOM has, on its website, an EA directory that allows employers to shortlist and compare different EAs based on attributes such as retention rate and quality of service.

The MOM will roll out an improved directory in the coming quarter which will feature better search capabilities, information such as the EA's service policies, retention rate and niche services.

It will also have user ratings submitted by previous customers.

At the same time, the MOM will also enable EAs to take greater ownership of matching outcomes for FDWs and their employers.

From October, EAs and employers will be able to access more information on the previous work experiences of an FDW.

This will help EAs and employers select FDWs who can better meet their household needs.

And from October next year, all EAs will have to provide employers with an option of a refund of at least 50 per cent of the service fee charged by the EA if an FDW's employment ends within the first six months.

There is also a cap on the amount of fees that EAs can charge FDWs.

EAs must also refund at least 50 per cent of the fees collected from FDWs if they are terminated from employment within the first six months.

As a regulator, the MOM strives to meet the needs and interests of EAs, employers and FDWs.

At the same time, we will not hesitate to take stern enforcement actions against errant EAs.

Jeanette Har

Director, Well-Being Department

Ministry of Manpower

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