SINGAPORE: From Jan 1 next year, employers will no longer be allowed to keep any money belonging to their maids, including paid salaries.
In a press release on Sunday (Oct 7), the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said it is introducing this Work Permit condition to protect both employers and foreign domestic workers (FDW) from money-related disputes.
Earlier this year, the Centre for Domestic Employees had suggested that employers should not be allowed to keep any money belonging to their maids.
Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Manpower Low Yen Ling said: “We are aware that employers safe-keep their foreign domestic workers’ money for various reasons, including doing so at the request of their FDWs.
“However, such arrangements may inadvertently lead to disputes. By not allowing employers to safe-keep salaries, MOM seeks to protect the interests of both the employers and FDWs.”
MOM said the practice of employers safekeeping their maids' money poses inconveniences and risks to both parties.
Foreign domestic workers who have no direct access to their money will have to approach their employers whenever they need the money.
On the other hand, employers will have to deal with the inconvenience of tracking the correct amount of money to be returned.
Other risks include employers not having proper documentation and facing claims lodged by their helpers who may not be comfortable to ask for the return of her money.
MOM said the law requires employers to pay their foreign domestic workers’ salaries in full and on time.
For ease of transaction and maintenance of proper salary records, employers are encouraged to pay the salaries of their foreign helpers electronically.
Employers can help their new maids apply for a bank account, such as the POSB Payroll Account, during the Work Permit issuance process.