Move away from paying domestic worker salary in cash

The Centre for Domestic Employees (CDE) noted that the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) had issued a response to several letters in the Forum page on the safekeeping of foreign domestic workers' salaries (New rule protects both employers and domestic workers; Nov 19).

In its response, MOM stated that the new rule to disallow employers to safekeep the salary of their foreign domestic workers (FDWs) does not prevent them from paying their FDWs in cash, as long as employers maintain proper salary payment records.

CDE would like to urge employers and FDWs to shift away from cash payments of salary, because disputes can arise due to factors such as illegible handwriting, unrecorded verbal agreements that may involve salary deductions, and the inability of the FDW to understand the written records.

FDWs have the right to request electronic payment of salary just like any worker, as legislated under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act.

Once the FDW requests it, employers must help them to open a bank account in Singapore.

This will safeguard the interests of both parties by minimising salary disputes because it creates an electronic trail of salary records.

To eliminate the need for an initial deposit and charges for fall-below balances, CDE has partnered with POSB on a payroll account for FDWs so that there are no barriers to the setting up of a bank account for FDWs.

More information can be found on CDE's website (www.cde.org.sg/payrollfdw), or through CDE's 24-hour helpline 1800-2255-233.

Lastly, CDE reiterates its call that the Government should consider mandating that all salaries should be transferred electronically.

Yeo Guat Kwang

Chairman, Centre for Domestic Employees