Care arrangements can continue during probe of assisted co-living provider
We thank Ms Candice Foo Yee-Ling for her letter “Make allowance for innovative approaches to caring for seniors” (June 26) on the investigations by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) into Red Crowns Senior Living (RCSL) and its personnel for potential criminal offences.
The Government is supportive of private sector innovation of shared caregiving models that offer options for the elderly to age in community. However, these models must comply with the law. If there are innovative models that require a review of existing rules, the Government is prepared to work with companies on these models to better support the elderly.
Businesses cannot take it upon themselves to push the boundaries and break the law in the name of innovation. The Government must safeguard the well-being of migrant domestic workers (MDWs), and also protect the interests of their employers, many of whom are elderly in this case.
Employers bear legal responsibilities for the MDWs who are employed under their names. If they are mismanaged or care standards are compromised, employers are liable. Importantly, the employers are still liable if their MDWs were deployed to another household to work, sustained an injury, or were not provided sufficient food or rest. Employers who knowingly employed the MDWs but left RCSL to manage them may have been led to contravene the law.
The Government must also consider the interests of businesses which operate in compliance with our laws and rules. No business should be allowed to gain an unfair commercial advantage over others by circumventing our laws. By hiring MDWs illegally to provide caregiving services, RCSL circumvented the foreign worker quota policy and enjoyed lower levy rates. MDWs are strictly allowed to be employed only by individuals. Deploying them for commercial purposes subjects them to risks and potential exploitation.
RCSL’s clients are understandably concerned about the impact of the ongoing investigation on the elderlies’ care arrangements. MOM is engaging them and is committed to supporting them. Subject to various parties’ cooperation, MOM will allow current care arrangements to continue during this period.
For those who require assistance on their care needs, MOM is working out alternative care arrangements with the support of the Agency for Integrated Care.
Foreign Manpower Management Division
Ministry of Manpower
Make allowance for innovative approaches to caring for seniors – Straits Times, 26 Jun,
My family recently had to find suitable care for my 98-year-old mother, who had been living with us for decades. With her deteriorating physical condition, professional care was necessary.
After a long search, we found Red Crowns Senior Living, which offers assisted co-living for elderly tenants who rent units and share caregivers.
I was comforted to learn about its consultation with government departments and the measures taken to ensure the well-being of the domestic workers who live in the flat and look after the seniors. Under Red Crowns’ care for a year, my mother has seen an improved quality of life, together with new friendships fostered among the residents and caregivers.
I was thus perplexed to read the news story on the Manpower Ministry’s investigation of Red Crowns’ employment practices (Assisted co-living provider under probe for potential breach of law, June 14).
I was alarmed when the ministry contacted us, urging us to seek alternative care arrangements for my mother in case Red Crowns is forced to stop operating.
While it is necessary to address any employment or welfare concerns, I fear that the needs of the seniors under Red Crowns’ care may be neglected in the process.
Imposing statutory requirements with no allowance for innovative models may stifle the solutions needed in caring for our seniors. What is needed is earnest collaboration between the authorities and eldercare providers to ensure that proper employment standards are met and that the welfare of foreign domestic workers is looked after. This would foster an environment for forward-thinking approaches in an ageing society.
In tackling the challenges of ageing, the focus should not be on bureaucratic requirements, but on the needs of those most affected.
Candice Foo Yee-Ling