New Measures to Strengthen Support For Migrant Domestic Workers
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will be implementing several new initiatives to strengthen support for Migrant Domestic Workers (MDW) and their well-being. This follows a review by MOM, which included consultations with stakeholders such as employers of MDWs, employment agencies, NGOs and doctors.
2 The measures were developed with two broad objectives. First, we want to help both MDWs and employers settle smoothly into a mutually beneficial working relationship. We recognise that MDWs may face challenges in adjusting to work and life in Singapore. Similarly, employers may also face difficulties in accommodating a new person into their household. Second, we seek to detect signs of abuse more quickly by enhancing current touchpoints, and helping MDWs build a wider network of support beyond their households.
3 The various measures, to be implemented progressively, include:
- Enhancing the six-monthly medical examination (6ME) for MDWs, to better pick up any signs of abuse. Doctors will be required to record MDWs’ body-mass index, and check for signs of suspicious and unexplained injuries. They will need to submit these records to MOM for follow up if necessary. This enhanced process will be implemented by the third quarter of 2021.
- Implementing post-placement checks by employment agencies (EAs). As the intermediary that facilitates matches between MDWs and employers, EAs play an important role in helping both parties build strong relationships. We will require EAs to conduct post-placement checks to ensure that MDWs and employers are adjusting well, and offer support if needed. This will be implemented in the fourth quarter of 2021.
- Interviewing MDWs twice in their first year of work, up from once currently. This will provide MDWs and their employers with more opportunities to raise and resolve issues, and settle into their working relationship. This builds upon the earlier announced expansion of such interviews to cover all first-time MDWs by the end of this year. To facilitate these in-person interviews, MOM will set up three neighbourhood centres in partnership with the Centre for Domestic Employees. The first neighbourhood centre is targeted to be operational by the first quarter of 2022.
- Implementing mandatory rest day for MDWs. Employers will be required to provide their MDWs with at least one rest day a month that cannot be compensated away. This will provide more opportunities for MDWs to form a network of support outside the household, as well as rest and recharge from work. We understand that some employers may need time to adjust to the new rest day arrangements. Hence, the mandatory rest day policy will take effect in end-2022.
4 MOM will share more details on the various initiatives in due course. Taking care of our migrant domestic workers will require a whole-of-society effort. We would like to encourage everyone to play a part in building a culture of respect and care for MDWs, in our homes and our communities.