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MOM Study Finds High Satisfaction Level Among Migrant Domestic Workers and their Employers

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) released findings of the Migrant Domestic Workers (MDWs) and MDW Employers Study 2021 today. The study, which is in its third run, aims to gain insight into the employment experiences of MDWs and MDW employers in Singapore, and their awareness of their employment rights and responsibilities. It was conducted in the second half of 2021, with close to 2,000 MDWs and MDW employers surveyed.

Main Findings

2 The majority of MDWs and MDW employers surveyed were satisfied1 with their employment relationships. The overall satisfaction levels continued to improve from the previous studies done in 2015 and 20162.

  • Over 99% of the MDWs surveyed (versus 97% in 2015) were satisfied with working and living in Singapore, and would recommend their family or friends to work in Singapore as an MDW. MDWs surveyed also reported high levels of satisfaction across various areas of well-being, such as their accommodation (99% in 2021 versus 94% in 2015), emotional support (99% in 2021 versus 93% in 2015) and sufficiency of food provided (99% in 2021 versus 97% in 2015). More than 93% of the MDWs had at least one rest day a month in 2021, although this was a slight decline compared to the previous study (versus 98% in 2015). The decline could have been due to the COVID-19 pandemic, where more MDWs may have preferred to stay home on their rest days to minimise infection. Around 99% of MDWs surveyed also indicated that they had received their salaries on time (versus 97% in 2015), with more than 80% of MDWs expressing intentions to continue working in Singapore (versus 78% in 2015)
  • Similarly, 85% of MDW employers surveyed were satisfied with their current MDWs (versus 75% in 2016), with 70% of them intending to renew their MDW’s contract upon expiry (versus 66% in 2016). Most employers hired their MDWs through employment agencies, to do general household chores. MDW employers also indicated they would like employment agencies to offer better replacement and refund policies, better matching and training of MDWs and shorter hiring duration.

3 Overall, the level of awareness by MDWs and MDW employers of their employment rights and responsibilities remained high. This included the awareness of MDWs’ basic rights and their employers’ obligations, such as the requirement that MDW’s medical fees be borne by the employer and that MDWs are not allowed to work for multiple employers at any given time.

Further Strengthening Harmonious Relationships 

4 “The Ministry of Manpower has strengthened measures over the years to better support our MDWs and their employers, and we will certainly keep doing more. These include the implementation of mandatory post-placement checks by employment agencies, service fee refund policy to nudge employment agencies to take greater ownership of matching outcomes, and the introduction of a mandatory monthly rest day for MDWs which cannot be compensated away by the end of this year,” said Minister of State for Manpower, Ms Gan Siow Huang. “We are also exploring ways to expand our touchpoints and connect better with both MDWs and their employers, like using new digital platforms. I would also like to thank our partners, including Non-Governmental Organisations and the Association of Employment Agencies Singapore, for their dedication in supporting our MDWs and their employers.”

5 “The Centre for Domestic Employees (CDE) is heartened that the study positively reflects MDWs’ satisfaction towards working in Singapore, and that employers are treating them fairly and with respect. Since 2017, CDE has also been conducting regular interviews with MDWs to assess how well they are settling into their new working and living environments. Most MDWs have indicated that they are adapting well with their employers,” added Mr Yeo Guat Kwang, Chairman, Centre for Domestic Employees. “CDE will continue to work with MOM and our stakeholders to better care for our MDWs’ well-being, and help strengthen harmonious relationships between MDWs and their employers.”


  1. MOM applied a six-point scale for the survey. The scale of 1 to 3, 4 and 5 to 6 was mapped to “Not satisfied”, “Neutral” and “Satisfied”, respectively.
  2. MOM conducted two studies, the Foreign Domestic Worker study in 2015, and the Foreign Domestic Worker Employer Study in 2016.