Having bank account, ATM card can protect maids from errant employers

The new ruling that employers cannot safekeep money belonging to their foreign domestic workers (FDWs), including paid salaries, is an excellent move (Employers cannot safekeep their maids' money from Jan; Oct 8).

Its objectives are to protect not only the maids but also the employers from money-related disputes.

While there are very good employers who treat their maids well, there are still a substantial number of unscrupulous employers who exploit the innocence and naivety of maids in every possible way.

Some lie to their maids that the maids' monthly salaries are being deposited into the employers' bank accounts. There is no way the maids can check if the employers are being honest, and will have to take what they are told at face value.

There are other employers who tell the maids that their monthly salaries are being deposited into the maids' bank accounts, but do not ever show the passbooks to confirm this. The maids, on their part, won't question the employers for fear of repatriation.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) shouldn't show any mercy to such employers.

I believe that every FDW should have a bank account into which the salary is paid by the employers at the end of every month without fail. And every FDW should possess an ATM card to check the salary deposits and to withdraw the money whenever necessary.

The MOM should insist that proof of this be submitted to it for verification.

The FDWs should also be empowered to make a report to the MOM if the salaries are not deposited into their bank accounts by the employers.

This is the only way to ensure that maids are paid promptly every month.

Pavithran Vidyadharan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 11, 2018, with the headline 'Having bank account, ATM card can protect maids from errant employers'. Print Edition | Subscribe