The Employment of Foreign Manpower Regulations state clearly the roles and responsibilities of the employer and the foreign domestic worker (FDW) ("Stem misuse of maids" by Mr N. Nagesh, Nov 26; "Maids should be assigned only jobs they are employed for" by the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training, Forum Online, Nov 29; and "More can be done to help new maids coming to Singapore" by Ms Shamim Moledina, Forum Online, Dec 1).
An employer has to ensure that the FDW performs only household and domestic duties, and is allowed to work for her employer only at the address stated on her work permit.
These regulations are made known to both employers and FDWs in many of our communication materials and touch points.
First-time employers and FDWs are informed of the consequences of illegal deployment, illegal employment and false declaration when they attend the mandatory Employer Orientation Programme (EOP) and the Settling-in-Programme.
We constantly review our programme pedagogy and, this year, worked with the EOP training providers to incorporate content beyond legislative requirements to encourage FDW employers to adopt good employment practices.
Those who attempt to circumvent the work pass system and provide false information to apply for work permits for their FDWs can be fined up to $20,000, and/or face imprisonment not exceeding two years.
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will check on errant practices when we conduct selective interviews for first-time FDWs. Many of the collaterals and handbooks distributed to FDWs also include helplines and channels where they can report errant practices to MOM for further investigations.
For employers who had engaged the services of an employment agency (EA), the employment agent will also highlight the legal responsibilities of the employer and other good practices.
MOM also stipulates in the Employment Agencies Act that Singapore EAs are allowed to collect no more than one month of the worker's salary for each year of service, capped at two months' salary. Debts paid overseas and the regulation of EAs in foreign countries fall under the jurisdiction of the foreign government.
Employers who fail to ensure that their FDWs are performing only domestic work at the registered work permit address may face a financial penalty of up to $10,000.
Those who attempt to circumvent the work pass system and provide false information to apply for work permits for their FDWs can be fined up to $20,000, and/or face imprisonment not exceeding two years under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA).
MOM takes a stern view of errant practices in the employment of FDWs. Members of the public who know of employers who contravene the EFMA should notify MOM on (65) 6438-5122 or e-mail email@example.com. All information will be kept strictly confidential.
Foreign Manpower Management Division
Ministry of Manpower