SINGAPORE: Staring next year, all operators of factory-converted dormitories (FCDs) will have to meet four new conditions when seeking approval to use their industrial premises to house foreign workers, announced the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).
In a press release on Wednesday (Aug 24), MOM said the new rules follow consultations with industry stakeholders and calls earlier this month to operators to raise housing standards. These will take effect from Jan 1, 2017.
“FCD operators, like other dormitory operators, have a legal obligation to ensure that they provide some 80,000 or so foreign workers with a safe and secure living environment,” said MOM.
The four new conditions imposed will add on to the existing ones. They are:
- The provision of a feedback channel for workers to report issues related to the housing conditions of the FCD;
- The provision of a personal locker for each worker;
- The provision of at least one sick bay in the FCD. Alternatively, the operator can develop a contingency plan to deal with cases of infectious diseases;
- And the provision of Wi-Fi within the FCD.
Documentary proof will be need to show all conditions have been met, said MOM. FCD operators will also need to adhere to these conditions at all times during their operation.
MOM said it will conduct regular inspections and take enforcement action against operators who fail to meet the conditions.
Speaking at a seminar covering good and bad practices observed during MOM’s inspections at FCDs over the past year, Minister of State for Manpower Teo Ser Luck said of the additional conditions: "It’s not to try to add cost to the operators, but it’s really for the long-term benefit for the operators as well, because if you take care of the well-being of these workers, they will work harder, they will be happier, and they wouldn’t have medical problems or any social issues. That’s exactly what we’re looking for on a long-term basis."
At the seminar, Mr Teo – who oversees foreign manpower management matters – also announced that MOM is planning to introduce a dormitory awards initiative to commend exemplary FCDs and purpose-built dormitories. More details on the award will be revealed in due course, said MOM.