Allow agreement to be signed if maids ask employers to keep salaries

The 600 complaints a year regarding maids' salary issues was cited by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) as one of the reasons for the new work permit condition that kicks in next year.

Under the change, employers will no longer be allowed to safekeep money belonging to their maids (Employers cannot safekeep their maids' money from Jan; Oct 8).

There are about 250,000 foreign domestic workers in Singapore. That means there are no salary disputes for 249,400 of the cases.

Why penalise these 249,400 employers and upset these foreign domestic workers just because of 600 cases of disputes?

The three problems that resulted from safekeeping arrangements between employers and maids are weak reasons for introducing the new condition (Trouble with safekeeping arrangements; Oct 9).

First, if an employer is unable to pay the maid the amount owed, it means that he just does not have the money to put in the bank.

Second, how many of the 250,000 maids were not paid because their employers went into a coma, had a heart attack or died?

Third, improper record-keeping is the easiest problem to rectify as maids' salaries are fixed without any variations. If employers are unable to do so, they should be sent for financial literacy classes.

Why is MOM now passing the responsibility on to the police and judiciary? By turning this into a chargeable offence, more taxpayers' money will be used to resolve such cases.

Also, are employers expected to open accounts only with POSB? Why is there a special commercial arrangement with POSB?

I find that MOM has ignored the legitimate questions of employers who have been asked by their foreign domestic workers to safekeep their salaries.

I strongly urge MOM to withdraw this new ruling and make employers and employees sign an agreement if the maid asks the employers to keep their salaries.

Tay Yong Hung

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 13, 2018, with the headline 'Allow agreement to be signed if maids ask employers to keep salaries'. Print Edition | Subscribe