The introduction of the new performance bond by the Indonesian Embassy calls for the relevant agencies to work on an amicable solution so that the interests of foreign domestic workers are not compromised (Performance bond can hurt Indonesian maid's prospects, by Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training; May 12).
In 1996, the Philippines government imposed a ban on their citizens coming to Singapore to work as foreign domestic workers.
Subsequently, the ban was lifted when the Philippines government introduced a $2,000 performance bond on employers wishing to employ foreign domestic workers from the Philippines. At the same time, employment agencies were made to commit a performance bond of $5,000 with its embassy.
In a way, both employers and employment agencies were held responsible for breaches through the respective performance bonds.
The bond was imposed primarily to ensure that the salaries of domestic workers were paid. The terms and conditions were clear and specific.
The arrangement has worked well all these years, without much outcry from employers or employment agencies.
From my understanding, no bond has been recalled since its imposition.
In the case of the Indonesian performance bond, the $6000 imposed on new foreign domestic workers and renewals is a huge burden on employers.
The terms and conditions are harsh and do not take into consideration the ability of employers to pay up if the bond is recalled.
Although the Indonesian Embassy subsequently clarified that there will be avenues for mediation, no further details have been provided (Forfeiture of bond will be last resort; May 15).
It appears that the decision is unilateral and there is little employers can do about it.
The Ministry of Manpower is right to raise their concern in the interest of employers and foreign domestic workers.
I sincerely urge the embassy and the relevant authorities to work out a solution instead of adding this unnecessary burden on to employers.
Chia Keng Wah