SINGAPORE - Two employment agencies have been taken to task by the Manpower Ministry since 2016 for failing to state their refund policies for salaries paid in advance by employers of domestic workers.
Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Manpower Low Yen Ling said this in Parliament on Monday (Feb 11), noting that the law requires employment agencies to disclose their refund policies so as to protect both employers and domestic workers.
Such advance salary payments come about when foreign domestic workers incur expenses in their home countries when seeking opportunities to work overseas. Employment agencies facilitate this repayment, and the amount is typically paid through advance wages.
Mr Murali Pillai (Bukit Batok) had asked what safeguards can be provided to employers who are required to make advance payment of their workers' monthly salaries in order to settle their loans or outstanding dues.
Said Ms Low: "In the event that the employer terminates the foreign domestic worker employment contract early and sends the (worker) back to the employment agency, or (if the worker) commits an offence and has to be repatriated, the (agency) would usually refund any outstanding advance salary payment made by the employer."
She also told Mr Murali the ministry will weigh the pros and cons of having employment agencies issue a bond so that if such a situation happens, the family can recoup their losses.
She added that employers have avenues for recourse, and that the MOM has set limits on what agencies can charge foreign domestic workers, which may manifest as advance salary payments.
Companies that flout this rule may be prosecuted or have their licence revoked.