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Maid's prospective employer given past employer's contact only with consent

  • The Straits Times (20 Apr 2021): "Why were personal details given to maid's prospective employer?"


Maid's prospective employer given past employer's contact only with consent - The Straits Times, 30 Apr, 2021

We are sorry to hear about the experience of Ms Ivy Teo Siok Cheng (Why were personal details given to maid's prospective employer?, April 20).

Since 2010, employers have been able to share feedback on their former migrant domestic workers with other prospective employers, to help them make informed hiring decisions.

This practice is similar to how prospective employers may reach out to referees of job applicants.

It is up to employers to decide if they wish to be referees for their former helpers, and to give consent to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) for their contact information to be shared with other prospective employers. 

About 10,000 employers have done so. They may withdraw their consent any time by writing to MOM. 

Ms Teo indicated that she wanted to be a referee in 2011.

She had agreed then that MOM could provide her contact number and e-mail address to prospective employers of her former helper.

This month, upon receiving an application for the same helper, MOM provided Ms Teo's contact to the prospective employer.

MOM takes its responsibility of safeguarding personal data of its clients seriously.

We wish to assure employers that no personal data other than contact information is provided.

In Ms Teo's case, the prospective employer may have formed an impression of her former helper's work experience from another MOM e-service that helps prospective employers find better matches.

This e-service does not reveal the identity of the employers.

MOM has contacted Ms Teo to acknowledge her feedback and provide its explanation.

We have processed her request to withdraw from being a referee, and will introduce a new feature to limit the period of validity of the consent.

Saksama Djingga
Director, Customer Operations
Work Pass Division
Ministry of Manpower

Why were personal details given to maid's prospective employer? - The Straits Times, 20 Apr, 2021

I had a foreign domestic worker (FDW) under my employment 10 years back.

A prospective employer who wanted to employ her contacted me a few days ago to get feedback on the FDW.

I replied that I had employed the FDW 10 years ago and I could not recall anything about her.

Apparently the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) had furnished the prospective employer with my name and contact details without my permission. (She even had details like my housing type, household size and the period that the FDW was with me.)

I received a whole string of text messages from the prospective employer.

She was quite insistent that I should recall why the maid left my employment, as I had left negative feedback with MOM.

I replied repeatedly that I really could not recall the reasons.

I also received eight missed calls from MOM, which I believe were on the same matter. 

I feel harassed and very disturbed.

With the Personal Data Protection Act in place, is MOM allowed to furnish my personal details to prospective employers without my permission?

The prospective employer had forwarded me some information and an e-mail that she received from MOM, to prove that the FDW was under my employment, and that therefore I could not have forgotten what happened then.

There could have been more personal details that MOM might have given her without my knowledge.

Is MOM allowed to furnish such personal details so freely?

Ivy Teo Siok Cheng