Forum: Cost sharing of transfer maids should be based on 24 months

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