The suggestion by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) for employers of transfer maids to share the costs of the stay-home notice (SHN) and related Covid-19 tests incurred by their current employers is laudable (MOM suggests employers who hire transfer maids share SHN, test costs, Sept 9).
However, the criteria MOM listed - that the transfer must occur within 12 months of the SHN completion date and that the pro-rated cost sharing be based on 12 months only - are rather puzzling.
I believe that almost all potential employers of new migrant domestic workers paid the SHN and related costs upfront on the assumption that the maid would complete her 24-month contract before leaving.
Hence, it would be more equitable for the current employer to pro-rate the cost sharing based on 24 months instead, and to allow cost sharing for any transfer occurring within the 24-month contract period.
So if, for example, the transfer occurs after the first six months, the current employer would not pay half the costs, but only a quarter of the costs, while the new employer would pay the remaining three-quarters.
Bear in mind that an employer of a transfer maid would have a fresh 24-month contract with the maid, and he would otherwise have had to wait for months if he were to employ someone new.
Moreover, he has the benefit of meeting a transfer maid in person and interviewing her before deciding whether to employ her.
Ng Chee Kheon