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Performance Bond by Indonesian Embassy unnecessary

  • The Straits Times (15 May 2018): Forfeiture of bond will be last resort

Performance Bond by Indonesian Embassy unnecessary
-The Straits Times, 19 May 20018

  1. We refer to the letter (“Forfeiture of bond will be last resort”; May 15).
  2. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has made it clear to the Indonesian Embassy and the Indonesian Ministry of Manpower that the Performance Bond requirement is unnecessary given Singapore’s comprehensive regulatory framework to protect all foreign domestic workers (FDWs).
  3. It remains unclear if all conditions for forfeiting the Indonesian Embassy Performance Bond will be spelt out clearly in the Performance Bond guarantee terms and conditions, and whether there will be neutrality during the dispute resolution.
  4. The Indonesian Embassy cited the number of FDW cases it handled. However, the vast majority were never referred to the MOM for follow-up.
  5. In 2017, it referred 64 FDWs with employment issues. Every case referred was carefully looked into. In six cases, there were breaches of our employment regulations and enforcement action were duly taken against the errant employers and one employment agency. Two cases are under investigation. No breaches were found in the remaining cases.
  6. Between January and April 2018, there were 40 referrals from the Indonesian Embassy. There was no breach of the law by employers in 31 cases, while nine are under investigation.
  7. MOM takes a serious view of any violation of our laws and regulations that protect the well-being of FDWs, regardless of nationality. We urge the Indonesian Embassy to refer to MOM all FDW cases which require follow-up.
  8. We are also taking proactive steps to educate FDWs on the protection available to them. All new FDWs must attend the mandatory Settling-In-Programme. In addition, there are various channels of assistance such as the MOM FDW hotline at 1800 339 5505. They can also seek assistance from NGOs like the Centre for Domestic Employees (CDE) and Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (FAST).

Forfeiture of bond will be last resort
- The Straits Times, 15 May 2018

  1. We refer to the report on the performance bond on employers who hire Indonesian foreign domestic workers in Singapore (New bond for hiring Indonesian maids unnecessary, says MOM; May 9).
  2. Despite efforts taken by the Indonesian Embassy, the number of cases of misconduct and abuse by employers of Indonesian foreign domestic workers has not reduced.
  3. Last year, the embassy handled 1,579 such cases, including salaries not being paid for months and even years, sexual and/or physical abuse, foreign domestic workers working up to 19 to 20 hours a day and the restriction of religious prayers.
  4. As of May 10, the embassy has seen 571 domestic workers seeking help for various reasons.
  5. As part of continual efforts to ensure the well-being of foreign domestic workers, the embassy implemented a performance bond on employers of domestic workers, working with employment agencies and the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to enable its effective implementation.
  6. The performance bond policy will be attached to the employment contract issued by the embassy.
  7. The signing of the contract takes into account the consent of all parties involved. The embassy's premium on the performance bond is not more than $75 for a two-year period and the amount may slightly vary, depending on the insurance agencies. This amounts to as little as $3 a month.
  8. The embassy will not recklessly forfeit the bond, should there be any breaches of the contract.
  9. We will facilitate mediation and, for cases that involve the police or MOM, this will take place after a decision has been made or a verdict issued either by the court, the police or MOM.
  10. Forfeiture of the performance bond will only be the last resort, if the employer involved remains uncooperative after mediation.
  11. The embassy remains open to any clarification needed to help employers better understand the policy.
  12. We would like to thank all stakeholders involved in the effort to better protect our migrant workers.