Help for foreign domestic workers to receive salaries through e-payment

(From left) CDE Chairman Yeo Guay Kwang with Mya Mya That and Nae Jae May, both domestic workers from Myanmar, at the launch of new satellite offices and collaboration with DBS.
(From left) CDE Chairman Yeo Guay Kwang with Mya Mya That and Nae Jae May, both domestic workers from Myanmar, at the launch of new satellite offices and collaboration with DBS.PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Foreign domestic workers who wish to receive their wages via electronic payments can now get help to do so at one of three centres run by the Centre for Domestic Employees (CDE).

They can approach the CDE to set up a special POSB account - called the POSB Payroll Account (FDW) - that does not require an initial deposit, or call for maintaining a monthly minimum amount in their accounts.

This initiative is an extension of a three-month trial that ran between May and July this year.

E-payments will help reduce instances of salary disputes between foreign domestic workers and their employers, said CDE chairman Yeo Guat Kwang, speaking yesterday at an event to celebrate International Migrants Day.

"In these cases, there is often a dispute over the records of how much (the workers) have received or whether their employer has paid them," he noted. "Using electronic modes of payment, there will be a proper record to reduce some of these unnecessary disputes."

There are about 240,000 foreign domestic workers employed in Singapore.

Salary disputes are among the top three issues most commonly raised by foreign domestic workers here, according to a report released by the CDE in January. The other two are requests for transfer of employer and physical abuse.

REDUCING DISPUTES

There is often a dispute over the records of how much (the workers) have received or whether their employer has paid them. Using electronic modes of payment, there will be a proper record to reduce some of these unnecessary disputes.

CENTRE FOR DOMESTIC EMPLOYEES (CDE) CHAIRMAN YEO GUAT KWANG

Mr Yeo noted that a provision under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act allows for domestic workers to request that their employers pay them through electronic means.

One foreign domestic worker, Filipina Lalaine Ortigas, whose employers have been paying her salary electronically since 2013, said she no longer encounters late payments.

"With e-banking, you don't have to worry about when your salary comes in," said the 32-year-old.

At the CDE's offices at City Plaza and Peninsula Plaza yesterday, about 1,000 domestic workers received gifts including ez-link cards and snacks as part of International Migrants Day celebrations.

Separately, the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (Fast) held early Christmas celebrations for about 600 foreign domestic workers yesterday.

The workers were treated to lunch, as well as musical performances and make-up demonstrations, at the Fast clubhouse at the Singapore Manufacturing Federation building in Jalan Bukit Merah.

Zhaki Abdullah

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 18, 2017, with the headline 'Help for foreign domestic workers to receive salaries through e-payment'. Print Edition | Subscribe