SINGAPORE: The Centre for Domestic Employees (CDE) is looking into issues related to salary payments, training competency and insurance coverage surrounding foreign domestic workers, chairman Yeo Guat Kwang said on Sunday (Apr 23).
Speaking on the sidelines of a cooking competition promoting bonding between workers and their employers, Mr Yeo said the CDE is looking into the possibility of implementing electronic salary payments, reviewing insurance payouts for employees and standardising skill qualifications.
"More than half the cases we've received are salary-related," Mr Yeo said. "So we’re going to urge the Government to seriously consider making e-payments mandatory."
He added that the centre is working with a local bank to waive charges related to e-payments after employers cited such costs as a key concern.
"Today many of the employers pay their workers by cash. And when we receive any complaints or encounter cases regarding a salary dispute, sometimes it’s quite hard for us to establish any evidence as there is no documentation to confirm such a dispute between (the parties)," Mr Yeo added. "With the e-payment, all the transactions will be properly recorded - I think it will help."
The centre is also looking into standardising training standards, in line with the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) national credential system.
"Now employment agencies claim that the domestic workers who come to Singapore have already gone through certain training," Mr Yeo said. "But we have found that because of the lack of standards, not many of them really have the skills. It’s important for us to ensure that all the domestic workers that come into Singapore will be certified with these skillsets."
"This will also help to reduce the disputes arising from the maids or domestic workers not being able to perform their job competently," he added.
Mr Yeo said that the centre is planning to come up with pre-departure videos to ensure that employees are informed about Singapore's laws, and will issue guides to promote better employer-employee relationships.
CDE was set up by the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) last January with the aim of advocating for the fair treatment of foreign domestic workers.
There are currently about 237,000 foreign domestic workers employed in Singapore, with a projected 300,000 workers expected to be needed by 2030, according to Mr Yeo.
More details on to CDE's efforts to enhance employment practices will be announced next month.