Coronavirus outbreak

New and returning maids to get stay-home notice

All foreign domestic workers (FDWs) entering Singapore will be served a 14-day stay-home notice, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said yesterday.

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

These measures, taken in view of the rapid spread of the coronavirus worldwide, will affect both new and returning workers. They will take effect from 11.59pm today.

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

The ministry added that all new incoming FDWs must serve their stay-home notices at 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 at the employer's residential address, or alternative accommodation.

On the entry approval for the domestic workers, 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.

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

All FDWs will have to show an MOM approval letter to checkpoint officials in order to enter Singapore.

MOM said enforcement action, including revocation of work passes and issuing of demerit points to agencies, will be taken against those who flout the new requirements.

Eligible 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 ministry.

More details will be made known at a later stage.

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

Toh Ting Wei

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 16, 2020, with the headline 'New and returning maids to get stay-home notice'. Print Edition | Subscribe