Written Answer by Minister for Manpower Mrs Josephine Teo on Resolving Challenges Faced by MDWs in Singapore
NOTICE PAPER NO. 349 OF 2021 FOR THE SITTING ON 05 APRIL 2021
QUESTION NO. 887 FOR WRITTEN ANSWER TO QUESTION FOR ORAL ANSWER NOT ANSWERED BY END OF QUESTION TIME
MP: Mr Yip Hon Weng
To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) how is the Ministry working with foreign domestic workers (FDWs) and non-government organisations to resolve the challenges FDWs face working in Singapore, including that of legislating leave for FDWs; and (b) how does the Ministry reach out to employers of FDWs to better understand their issues with managing their FDWs.
- Since 2004, the Ministry of Manpower has put in place the Employer Orientation Programme (EOP) for first-time employers of migrant domestic workers (MDWs). It educates employers on their responsibilities of care towards their MDWs, as well as how to manage their relationships with them. The Settling-in-Programme (SIP) for first-time MDWs in Singapore was also launched in 2012. It educates MDWs on their conditions of employment, how to work safely, relationship and stress management. These programmes help to reduce potential challenges MDW and their employers may face during the employment period.
- In addition to the upstream education measures, the Ministry also ensures that MDWs are provided with information on helplines they can call, operated by MOM and non-government organisations (NGOs). We regularly reach out to employers, NGOs representing MDWs, and employment agencies to seek feedback on ground issues. In 2018, for example, employers and Employment Agencies highlighted miscommunications between MDWs and their employers as one of the reasons for early termination of contracts. This led MOM to work with the Centre for Domestic Employees (CDE) and the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (FAST) to provide free dispute resolution services to help employers and MDWs resolve their disputes amicably, thus promoting contract completion.
- As mentioned previously during my Committee of Supply speech on 3 March, MOM is reviewing measures to better support and protect MDWs. This includes the policy on rest days. Similar to the stakeholder consultations conducted in the past, we will also conduct consultations to solicit views on this matter.