MOM needs to provide details on issue of safekeeping maid's salary

It is disappointing that despite the many letters on the Ministry of Manpower's (MOM) ruling on maids' salaries, there has been no response from the ministry (Employers cannot safekeep their maids' money from Jan, Oct 8; Allow agreement to be signed if maids ask employers to keep salaries, by Mr Tay Yong Hung, Oct 13; Employers will not be able to protect maids under new law, by Madam Sharen Lim, Oct 20).

In my letter, I raised several points.

First, there are thousands of maids who have trusted their employers to safekeep their money instead of the bank.

Many of them are grateful to their employers because they managed to marry their children off in style, pay off their education loans and send money to their aged parents.

Some even started their own businesses.

All these were a result of the mutual trust between maids and their employers.

Unfortunately, MOM's report highlighted only 600 unfortunate cases and painted the thousands of good employers as bullies poised to swindle their maids of their money and disrespect their right to manage their own money.

Even highly educated businessmen sometimes cannot resist temptations to overspend.

Cases of maids emptying their bank accounts and going to moneylenders for more are not uncommon.

Why is MOM not protecting the employers?

Instead of penalising unlicensed moneylenders, MOM is imposing fines on employers.

Second, why are employers required to open accounts only with DBS?

What about the other banks that have branches in the maids' home countries and can easily transfer their Singapore dollars over?

What happens to those who are already depositing their maids' salaries into banks other than DBS?

Are they in violation of the new ruling?

We are now in mid-November but we still do not have details of the law applicable under this new ruling.

Employers hire maids to help out with their families.

Many maids are almost considered family.

But with these rulings, employers may now become potential criminals.

I hope MOM withdraws this new ruling.

Let the good relationship and trust between employers and maids continue.

Tay Yong Hung

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 14, 2018, with the headline 'MOM needs to provide details on issue of safekeeping maid's salary'. Print Edition | Subscribe