Speech by Minister of State for Manpower Ms Gan Siow Huang at the Launch of the Alliance of Domestic Employees Outreach
Ms Gan Siow Huang, Minister of State for Manpower, 7 Armenian Street, Bible House
- Good afternoon Reverend Ezekiel Tan, President, Hope Initiative Alliance (HIA); distinguished guests; our migrant domestic workers (MDWs), ladies and gentlemen.
- I am delighted to join all of you today for the launch of the Alliance of Domestic Employees Outreach (or ADEO) - a new movement which aims to serve the migrant domestic worker community in Singapore.
- This initiative is indeed timely as we will soon commemorate the International Migrants’ Day (IMD), an occasion where we acknowledge the invaluable contributions of our migrant workers. It is also an opportune time for us to take stock of how we have supported the well-being of our migrant domestic workers.
- It has been close to two years since the COVID-19 pandemic struck the world, the region and Singapore. It has been a challenging period for all of us. For the migrant domestic workers, many of them have not been able to go home and keep in touch with their families. They must be missing home. With the various safe management measures that are necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19, many of our migrant domestic workers have had to adjust to changes in their work and workload, arising from work-from-home arrangements of their employers, and also home-based learning of the household members whom they are taking care of. All these changes have an impact on the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of our MDWs.
- This is where the Community and the NGO partners play an important role in the ecosystem, in the support of migrant domestic workers.
- The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is therefore working closely with the various NGOs and community partners on a range of initiatives to support migrant domestic workers. These include interviewing first-time migrant domestic workers to see how well they are adapting into their new work environment; setting up recreational spaces for migrant domestic workers to unwind on their rest days; as well as providing counselling and mediation services to help migrant domestic workers resolve disputes or misunderstandings they are facing. Many of these are fronted by volunteers under the good stewardship of the NGOs that are here today.
- These programmes complement MOM’s other efforts to strengthen the support for our migrant domestic workers to improve and uplift their well-being. Some of the initiatives we have announced recently include requiring employment agencies to conduct at least one post-placement check within the first three months of a domestic worker’s deployment; and by the end of 2022, we will require employers to provide their migrant domestic workers with at least one rest day a month that cannot be compensated away.
- With the launch of ADEO, I am heartened to know that our MDWs can also receive focused and holistic care. Programmes such as counselling and case management; mental wellness programmes; skills development; and recreational activities organised by ADEO will go a long way in complementing the work that many of our NGOs and organisations are doing. We need the scale, capacity, and the quality, and I’m so glad that this alliance has come up timely.
- Together with all our NGO partners, MOM will continue in our efforts to strengthen the ecosystem of support for our migrant domestic workers. We encourage NGOs such as ADEO, to work closely with MOM and with our community partners. By doing so, we can leverage on each other’s capabilities and strengths to achieve even more.
- Let me end by saying a whole-hearted thank you to all of you. It takes a whole-of-society effort to help and care for our migrant domestic workers. Together, we can build a culture of respect and care for migrant domestic workers in our homes and in our communities. We look forward to working closely with HIA, ADEO and your network of partners to support our migrant domestic workers. Together, we can make a positive impact.
- Thank you.