Indonesian maid bond: MOM says embassy referred only 64 cases with employment issues in 2017

Indonesian maid bond: MOM says embassy referred only 64 cases with employment issues in 2017

MOM responds after the Indonesian Embassy on Wednesday said that the bond was "urgently necessary" in order for it to better protect its workers, claiming that the 1,579 cases it handled last year was only the "tip of the iceberg".

SINGAPORE: The Indonesian Embassy referred 64 foreign domestic workers (FDWs) with employment issues to it last year, the Ministry of Manpower told Channel NewsAsia on Thursday (May 10).

The comments from the MOM came after the Indonesian Embassy said on Wednesday that it handled 1,579 cases last year from migrant workers citing issues such as sexual and physical abuse, salaries being delayed for several months, being made to work for up to 20 hours a day and not being allowed to perform prayers.

"Every case referred to MOM is looked into," an MOM spokesperson said.

Of the 64 cases referred to MOM last year, the authority found that employment regulations had been breached in six cases. Enforcement action were duly taken against the errant employers and one employment agency on those six cases, MOM said. 

Two cases are still under investigation, while no breaches were found in the remaining cases, it added.

"We urge the Indonesian Embassy to refer FDW cases that require the attention of MOM for follow-up," the MOM spokesperson added.

The ministry on Tuesday released an advisory to employers in which it called a new S$6,000 performance bond requirement by the Indonesian Embassy "unnecessary", given that Singapore already has a "comprehensive regulatory framework to protect all FDWs".

MOM also said that the conditions under which the Indonesian Embassy could forfeit the performance bond were not clear.

In response, the Indonesian Embassy on Wednesday said that the bond was "urgently necessary" in order for it to better protect its workers, claiming that the 1,579 cases it handled last year was only the "tip of the iceberg".

There are more than 120,000 Indonesian migrant workers in Singapore.

The embassy also listed several clauses under which the performance bond is bound to. It also clarified that the bond would not be automatically forfeited, and would only be done so as a "last resort" after previous attempts at mediation are exhausted.

On Thursday, MOM said that questions still remained over whether conditions for forfeiting the performance bond would be spelt out clearly in the documents that employers would be made to sign. 

"There are also no details on who will be mediating and whether there will be neutrality during the dispute resolution," it said.

Source: CNA/fs(aj)

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