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FDWs not allowed to ‘moonlight’

  • Lianhe Zaobao (14 March 2012) : FDWs not allowed to ‘moonlight’
  • Lianhe Zaobao (13 March 2012) : Some questions concerning the weekly rest day for FDWs

FDWs not allowed to ‘moonlight’
- Lianhe Zaobao, 14 March 2012

We refer to Lian Xia’s questions regarding the weekly rest day for foreign domestic workers (FDWs) (ZB, 13 Mar).

FDWs are not allowed to work for anyone except her employer at all times, including their rest days. According to the Work Permit Conditions, FDWs can only work for the employer specified on their work permits. An FDW is deemed to be moonlighting if she holds a second job besides working for her employer, including being self-employed. FDWs who moonlight may be fined up to $5,000, or jailed up to 12 months, or both.

Since January 2010, MOM has already removed employers’ liability if the FDW breaches Work Permit conditions that relate to her own behaviour. MOM does not forfeit employers’ security bonds if the FDW violates her own Work Permit conditions, for instance if she moonlights. In reality, MOM forfeits very few security bonds each year. We are currently reviewing the employers’ obligations for medical and repatriation costs for exceptional circumstances that they have little or no control over.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) had consulted employers of foreign domestic workers (FDWs) and other key stakeholders during our extensive feedback and consultation exercise on the review of the FDW management framework since June 2011. We incorporated some of these suggestions in the announced proposal on weekly rest days for FDWs, including the flexibility of mutually agreeing when the rest day should fall on, or compensation with a day’s wage.

Some questions concerning the weekly rest day for FDWs
- Lianhe Zaobao, 13 March 2012 

Last Tuesday, the Government announced that FDWs will get a weekly rest day from 1 Jan 2013 onwards. I hope to get some clarification from the Government on the following:

1.   Are FDWs allowed to take on work outside during their rest days? I heard from my FDW that many of her friends make $8 to $10 per hour doing work on their rest days, which is a sizeable amount for them and which exceeds the amount that employers pay them to work on their rest days.

2.   If FDWs are found working on their rest days, who will bear the losses incurred by the employer? Can employers sign a contract with their FDW to cover them against the loss of their agency fees and insurance fees should this occur?

3.   If MOM allows FDWs to work on their rest days, who is responsible if they get injured while working for another party?

I feel that MOM should consider the feelings of employers and formulate reasonable regulations that meet the needs of both employers and FDWs before implementing new rules.