Coronavirus: Foreign maids entering Singapore to be issued stay-home notice; affected employers to get support

All employers and employment agencies planning for their foreign domestic workers to enter Singapore will also need to obtain MOM's approval before the workers commence their journey. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - All foreign domestic workers entering Singapore will be served a 14-day stay-home notice, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said on Sunday (March 15).

All employers and employment agencies planning for their foreign domestic workers to enter Singapore will also need to obtain the MOM's approval before the workers commence their journey.

These measures, taken in view of the rapid spread of Covid-19 worldwide, would affect both new and returning workers.

They would take effect from 11.59pm on Monday.

"The new measures take into consideration that FDWs live with families and many look after young children and the elderly," said the MOM.

It said all new incoming foreign domestic workers must serve their stay-home notices at an alternative accommodation (dormitories, hostels or hotels) before they can be deployed for employment.

For domestic workers returning from overseas, their employers can arrange for them to serve the notice in the employer's residential address, or alternative accommodation.

On the entry approval for the domestic workers, the MOM said the application can be done online.

The applicant - either the employer or the employment agency - will be responsible for ensuring that the domestic worker complies with the stay-home notice.

They also have to ensure that the worker has access to a local mobile phone and remains contactable by the MOM during the 14-day period.

The ministry said that employers and agencies should ask the domestic worker not to make travel plans until approval is obtained.

"The employment agencies or employers will be required to send the MOM approval letter to the FDWs, who will need to show it to the airline staff during check-in and at the ICA checkpoint upon arrival in Singapore," said the MOM.

It also said that it is the collective responsibility of all involved to ensure that the new requirements are complied with.

"Enforcement action, including revocation of work passes and suspension of work pass privileges, will be taken if the requirements are not complied with," the MOM added.

"Demerit points will also be imposed on agencies whose actions result in violation of the requirements by the FDWs."

Employers of domestic workers who do not serve their stay-home notices at the employer's registered residential addresses can apply to tap a support package from the MOM.

This package will allow eligible employers who are Singapore citizens or permanent residents to get $60 support daily per affected domestic worker and have their levy waived during the stay-home notice period.

More details on the application process will be made known at a later stage.

The MOM said: "Prospective employers should factor in the new requirements, including cost implications, in their hiring decisions.

"They should also consider renewing their existing FDW's contract or hire a transfer FDW instead."

It also strongly encouraged domestic workers to spend their rest day at home, and urged employers to work out the appropriate arrangements to facilitate this.

The MOM added that employers should work with foreign domestic workers to come to a mutual agreement for workers to postpone plans, if any, to travel back home until the coronavirus outbreak stabilises.

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