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Maid Levy: When It Ends

Sunday Times (23 December 2007) : Maid Levy: When It Ends


Sunday Times (09 December 2007) : Let Maid Who Quit Pay Levy


Maid levy: When It Ends
- Sunday Times, 23 December 2007

Please refer to Ms Chia Lai Peng's letter, “Let maid who quit pay levy” (Sunday Times, 9 Dec 2007).

2.   When a foreign domestic worker (FDW) resigns, the employer can cancel her work permit and immediately cease paying the levy. However, if an employer agrees to an FDW's request for a transfer, he will remain the employer under the law, until the change has been effected. Hence, he is still liable to pay the levy. It should be noted that when an employer agrees to allow the FDW to transfer, rather than be sent home, he already saves on the cost of repatriating the FDW.

3.   Under the work permit conditions, employers are responsible for the upkeep of their FDW until the work permit has been cancelled. This ensures that an employer who brings a foreign worker into Singapore takes personal responsibility for the worker's well-being and prompt repatriation when the contract ends.


Let Maid Who Quit Pay Levy
- Sunday Times, 09 December 2007

I came back from work one day to find a resignation note from my foreign domestic worker (FDW).

In the note, she admitted that she had made a mistake in her childcare duties that morning, and was too ashamed to stay on.

I gave her an opportunity to explain what happened and time to reconsider her resignation, but she asked to return to the employment agency.

We granted her that request and took her there.

I have since written to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to ask that my maid be made responsible for paying her levy during the period she is not working in my home and waiting to be transferred to the next employer; and that she be responsible for paying for her own upkeep at the employment agency.

Since my maid has chosen to resign, MOM's regulations for employers to pay levy till their maids are transferred have penalised me for an issue not within my control, and for a decision I did not make.

Furthermore, although I was happy for my maid to stay in my home while waiting to be transferred, she had asked to return to the agency.

I suggested that since she may not be able to pay back the levy and living expenses immediately, I was happy to wait for a few months for the money to be paid back via the employment agency.

In response, MOM gave me a list of situations where I could apply for a waiver of the FDW levy, such as when the FDW is on home leave, or vacation leave, or under police custody or is housed at an embassy. However, these points do not apply to my situation.

Why should employers be penalised when their maids choose to resign, even when the employers are not at fault and have compiled with MOM's labour regulations?

Paying for the levy and upkeep may have been fair if the employer has terminated the maid's contract prematurely, but MOM's policy does not seem to take into consideration that a maid may resign on her own free will.

Can the authorities explain the rationale behind this policy?