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Written Answer by Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister for Manpower, to PQ on Adequacy of Food for Migrant Workers

NOTICE PAPER NO. 179 OF 2020 FOR THE SITTING ON OR AFTER 4 JANUARY 2021

QUESTION NO. 278 FOR WRITTEN ANSWER

MP: Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang 

To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) whether studies have been or are being done to look into whether migrant workers who are unable to go for meal breaks outside of their worksite during working hours are receiving adequate and proper food; and (b) whether any enforcement actions have been taken against employers who do not provide adequate food for this group of workers.

Answer:

1. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) agrees that it is important that migrant workers receive adequate food. There is a range of practices for migrant workers taking their lunch at worksites; they could cook and bring their meal, purchase cooked meals at the worksite canteen, or be given a catered packed lunch by their employers. 

2. MOM actively puts out its feelers on the ground to look after the welfare of migrant workers. These include i) deploying Forward Assurance and Support Teams (FAST) to dormitories regularly to engage the migrant workers about their overall welfare; ii) working with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that engage with migrant workers; and iii) providing a mobile application “FWMOMCare” for migrant workers to report issues, such as salary disputes and healthcare concerns, to MOM.

3. MOM has not picked up many complaints about food adequacy. The occasional feedback received about food, such as the food not meeting the workers’ cultural or dietary needs, are quickly resolved when MOM brings the matter to the
attention of the employer.

4. MOM will continue to get feedback from migrant workers and stakeholders. Migrant workers who face issues with access to adequate and proper food or other well-being concerns should report their cases to MOM. MOM will address the issues raised with employers. In serious cases, MOM will take appropriate enforcement action.