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Most FDWs and FDW Employers are Generally Satisfied, According to 2010 MOM Study

11 August 2011

  1. A recent study revealed that most foreign domestic workers (FDWs) were generally satisfied with working in Singapore. The study, conducted at the end of 2010, involved face-to-face interviews, through translators if necessary, with over 900 FDWs across various ages, nationalities and work duration in Singapore. Another 450 FDW employers participated in an online survey1. The study sought to obtain an understanding of the employment experiences of both FDWs and FDW employers here, and their awareness of their employment rights and responsibilities.
  2. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is releasing the key study findings in tandem with the ongoing review of its FDW framework and policies. Some of these findings were shared with stakeholder groups recently in focus group discussions and a Townhall session involving FDW employers, Employment Agencies and NGOs which were held to seek suggestions on ways to improve the recruitment and selection process, as well as entry requirements.
  3. According to the study, 9 in 10 FDWs said they were satisfied with working in Singapore2, and 7 in 10 FDWs intend to continue working here after their contracts expire. Of these FDWs, almost 9 in 10 would like to continue working for their current employer.
  4. Most of the FDW employers surveyed were satisfied with their current FDWs. 3 in 4 FDW employers said they were satisfied with their current FDWs3. 6 in 10 employers intend to continue employing their current FDW after their existing contracts expire, while a further 3 in 10 said they were not sure at the time of the survey. Of the remaining 1 in 10 who had no intention of renewing their FDW's contract, about half cited the FDW's inability to meet their expectations as a reason.

    In-employment Experiences - Most FDWs had no well-being issues
  5. Most FDWs have not experienced any well-being issues in their current employment. Almost all said that they have sufficient food (99%) and adequate rest (97%) while slightly more than half of FDWs (53%) said they were given at least one rest day per month.
  6. When asked about the problems faced when they first came to Singapore, about 20% said they did not have problems adjusting to working and living in Singapore. 1 in 4 FDWs cited homesickness. 16% said that they had initial difficulties communicating with Singaporeans, and 11% said they were unable to cope with their work.
  7. 46% of FDWs said that they would first approach their employers or their employers' family members for help if they encounter problems, while about 20% would approach MOM. The rest said they would approach friends, relatives and employment agents (EAs).
  8. Most FDWs and employers exhibited a high level of awareness of their employment rights and responsibilities. A high proportion of FDWs were aware of their basic rights such as adequate rest and medical fees to be borne by employer, as well as their obligation under the work permit conditions to work only for their employer. Most employers were aware of their obligations under the work permit conditions, such as the prohibition of illegal deployment and unauthorised salary deductions, as well as their responsibility to pay for the FDW's upkeep and maintenance, such as food and medical.
  9. Most FDW employers also engaged the services of an EA to hire an FDW. More than 60% of these employers listed 'professionalism and good staff service' as one of the most important factors that they considered when selecting an EA.
  10. The key findings to this study can be found in the Annex.

    MOM encouraged by findings
  11. Commenting on the findings of the study, Mr Phua Boon Leng (潘文龙), MOM's Director of Well-Being Management, Foreign Manpower Management Division (人力部外劳管理署(福利监察)处长), said, "We are encouraged by these positive findings, as it shows that Employers and FDWs generally are happy with each other. We have put in place measures to improve the employment conditions and well-being of FDWs, including having a dedicated helpline, a regular newsletter, and random interviews with FDWs. However, there are areas for improvement, such as the critical role of EAs in providing a good match between the employer and FDW. As announced previously, MOM is currently conducting a review of the FDW framework, including the Entry Test and day off issues. We will take into consideration the survey findings, together with feedback we have received, during the review. MOM is also looking at how we can better reach out to and engage employers on FDW related issues. Stakeholders and members of the public can email their feedback to"]

1 Both the FDWs and FDW employers were randomly selected and interviewed by a professional survey firm engaged by MOM.
2 Based on FDWs who rated their satisfaction level as at least a '7' on a scale of '1' (extremely dissatisfied) to '10' (extremely satisfied).
3 Based on employers who rated their satisfaction level as at least a '7' on a scale of '1' (extremely dissatisfied) to '10' (extremely satisfied).