Speech at AEA(S) 2020 Lo-Hei Celebration
Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Manpower Ms Low Yen Ling, Holiday Inn Atrium Singapore
Ms K Jayaprema, President of Association of Employment Agencies (Singapore)
Excellencies and dignitaries from the various embassies,
Friends from CDE, FAST and HOME
Friends from the recruitment industry
Employers and domestic helpers
Ladies and gentlemen.
- A joyous and prosperous Lunar New Year to everyone. I thank AEA(S) for inviting me to your annual Lo-Hei Luncheon and awards ceremony for exemplary FDWs and employers.
- The Lunar New Year is a time for family and friends where we catch up and enjoy the company of loved ones. To our FDW friends here today who have become part of many Singaporean families, we are delighted to celebrate this special occasion with you.
Recognising contributions of FDWs
- FDWs play an important role in supporting our households. They take care of our young and old, and ensure our house is in order.
- The FDWs in our midst today have done these and more. They have gone on to build strong and lasting relationships with their employers and employers’ families.
Building good FDW-employer relationships
- It is not easy to build lasting relationships. Every relationship has its own unique challenges, and the relationship between a FDW and her employer is no exception. For a good FDW-employer relationship, mutual understanding and respect are absolutely necessary. Both parties also need to invest time and effort in nurturing the relationship.
- Take for example Nan Khu Kiang and Mdm Lim. When Nan first came to Singapore seven years ago, she could not speak English. She was also not used to living in a high-rise building and modern city. Initially, Mdm Lim had thought of letting Nan go after they went through a challenging adjustment period. However, she eventually decided to give Nan a chance and continued with her employment. Mdm Lim guided Nan through her daily duties patiently while Nan worked hard at her English. Today, Nan is Mdm Lim’s trusted aide and helps take care of her wheelchair-bound husband. As Nan continues to learn and grow in her work here, she is also happy to be able to support her family back in Myanmar.
- This is just one example of how patience and perseverance can enhance the FDW-employer relationship. There are many instances where these relationships go beyond work.
Going beyond employer-employee relationship
- This is the case for Jacintha, who has lived and worked with four generations of the Kum family! In the words of the Kum family, Jacintha has been a “pillar of support” for them through thick and thin. During some of their most trying periods, she rallied behind them and took care of everyone who needed her support.
- There is also Tasiri, who received her employer, Mdm Ng’s unstinting emotional and financial support when her family back home was in distress. Mdm Ng provided financial aid for her father’s medical treatment and was a huge source of comfort and strength when Tasiri’s mother passed away. Another employer, Mdm Ho gathered donations from her relatives and friends for her FDW, Arliza, to rebuild Arliza’s home in the Philippines after it was destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda in 2013. These acts of kindness are just a few of the many heartwarming stories we know - of employers and FDWs who have become like family to each other.
- To nurture a long-lasting and positive FDW-employer relationship, time and effort is needed from both parties to build a strong foundation of mutual respect, trust and understanding. Employment agencies (EA) can also play a part in this by helping foster a good match between the needs and preferences of the employer and her household, and the abilities and disposition of the FDW.
Facilitating good matches
- Last year, the Ministry of Manpower announced a series of measures to support employers in finding FDWs who are a good match for them. Since October 2019, we have expanded the avenues for dispute resolution services between employers and FDWs. In the next two years, we will provide more information to help employers and EAs find better matches, and also introduce a new service fee refund policy for employers. We will be working closely with the EA industry to ensure a smooth rollout of these measures.
- We urge EAs to make full use of the new measures to improve your matching process and quality. We hope you will reap the benefits of these developments and see more lasting employment relationships, greater customer satisfaction, and more prospective clients. EAs like Patience Employment Agency and Status Employment Agency that have strong matching outcomes are in a healthy position to adjust to the new service fee refund policy.
- With your support, I am sure we can see more FDWs completing their contracts, or even better, renewing their contracts with their employers for many more years to come.
- I would like to thank AEA(S) for organising the awards ceremony. Congratulations once again to all the nominees and winners. Your stories inspire helpers and employers towards nurturing and building good relationships that exemplify love, trust and respect, which will ultimately, make our lives and work more fulfilling and meaningful.
- I wish everyone a Happy Lunar New Year. 祝大家新年快乐，心想事成，合家欢乐.