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MOM 'recommends' employers of transferred maids to share cost of stay-home notice, COVID-19 tests

MOM 'recommends' employers of transferred maids to share cost of stay-home notice, COVID-19 tests

A domestic worker with an elderly person in Singapore. (File photo: TODAY/Illi Nadhirah Mansor)

SINGAPORE: Employers who hire transferred foreign domestic workers are encouraged to bear a portion of the costs incurred when they entered Singapore, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said on Wednesday (Sep 8).

The recommendation from the ministry applies to transfers that occur within 12 months of the end of their stay-home notice.

Employers who hire maids from overseas are required to pay for the cost of their stay-home notice and related COVID-19 tests in full. Employers are not allowed to pass any of these costs on to the domestic workers.

This has created a differential in hiring costs between employers who hire maids from overseas and those who hire maids who are already in Singapore, MOM said.

“While most migrant domestic workers settle in well and complete their term of employment, there are instances where the employment contract is terminated prematurely, either at the employer’s initiative or on the migrant domestic worker’s request to transfer to another employer. The employer would have incurred upfront stay-home-notice-related costs in these situations,” MOM said in a media release.

“If the change of employers occurs within 12 months, MOM recommends the new employer to share a portion of the stay-home notice and related COVID-19 tests costs incurred by the current employer for the migrant domestic worker’s entry into Singapore.”

The ministry called on employment agencies to assist current and prospective employers in reaching agreements for the sharing of costs.

The criteria for costs to be shared are: That the maid transferred within 12 months of the completion of her stay-home notice; that her current employer does not demand or receive more than what they paid for the stay-home notice and testing; and that both current and new employers sign a written agreement which must be retained for one year from the agreement date and provided to MOM upon request.

Employers are not permitted to share any other costs related to the hiring of maids, such as employment agency fees and insurance premiums, MOM added.

Employment agencies will be required to inform current and prospective employers about MOM’s cost-sharing criteria and guidelines, the ministry said.

GUIDELINES ON COST-SHARING

MOM recommended that the costs be divided based on how long the maid worked for their current employer.

“For employers who agree to share costs, MOM advises that the current employer bears the costs proportionate to the duration that the migrant domestic worker worked for him/her within the 12-month period,” the ministry said.

MOM provided two examples of how costs can be shared:

“Any arrangement for the sharing of stay-home notice and related COVID-19 tests costs should be discussed and agreed upon before the employer gives consent for the migrant domestic worker to transfer,” MOM said.

MOM added that the implementation of a service fee refund policy for employers to improve matching between employers and foreign domestic workers has been deferred to early 2022.

"More time is needed to incorporate feedback on the policy from stakeholders", the ministry said.

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Source: CNA/kg(ac)

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