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MOM's Response to Deutsche Welle Article on FDWs

The article “Singapore domestic workers suffer exploitation and abuse” in Deutsche Welle (DW) grossly misrepresents the employment conditions of foreign domestic workers (FDWs) who choose to work in Singapore. Besides making sweeping statements based on a sole FDW abuse case, the article also cites a research study which the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) had categorically disputed as misleading (see link). 

In an independent survey commissioned by MOM in 2015, more than 97 per cent of FDWs in Singapore expressed high levels of satisfaction working here, and close to 80 per cent wanted to continue working here.    

Singapore’s laws and regulations, which are reviewed regularly, provide comprehensive protection to FDWs working here. They cover employers’ responsibility to ensure adequate food, accommodation, mandatory rest days, prompt salary payment and safe working conditions, and impose a cap on the recruitment fee that can be collected by employment agencies in Singapore. In addition, Singapore has a clear record of strict enforcement against abuses and exploitation of FDWs.  We take all cases of abuse seriously and thoroughly investigate all complaints. Anyone who abuses an FDW faces 1.5 times the maximum punishment under the Penal Code and will be debarred from hiring FDWs in future.

MOM also educates FDWs on their rights and responsibilities as well as the various channels of help they can turn to, through multiple platforms such as the Settling-In Programme which is mandatory for all first-time FDWs. We also conduct First-time Interviews with FDWs to ascertain that they are settling in well.

The situation for FDWs in Singapore is definitely far from the grim picture depicted in the DW article.