Domestic workers are a blessing.
They perform nearly all the household chores and take care of young, pesky children, all for a sum of money that’s way lower than a market rate 9 to 5 job here. And keep in mind that they are away from their loved ones, and working 24/7 in a foreign land.
So if I had one, I would definitely appreciate her effort.
However, not all people think that way.
Take this woman for example. She didn’t pay her maid’s salary for not one month, not two months, but one whole year.
On 13 September 2017, a Singaporean woman was fined S$15,000 after being arrested for not paying her maid’s salary for a year. She’s also disallowed from hiring any foreign domestic workers in the future.
According to the Ministry of Manpower, the woman, Li Jun, had failed to pay her maid’s monthly salary of S$420 for twelve consecutive months, spanning from March 2016 to February 2017. In total, it came up to about S$5,700.
She has pleaded guilty to three of thirteen charges. The remaining ten will be taken into consideration for the purpose of sentencing.
The victimized domestic worker has been reimbursed in full last Thursday, on 7 September 2017.
Ms Jeanette Har, director of well-being department at MOM’S foreign manpower management division, has this to say.
“The FDWs rely on their monthly salary to support their families back home and we should not deprive them of their salaries.”
The MOM advised employers to avoid keeping the workers’ salaries on their behalf, or making it a condition in their employment contract.
This wasn’t the first time something like this happened either. Back in 2015, there was a similar case.
How can other domestic workers out there avoid such treatment?
According to MOM, “the foreign domestic worker (FDW) can make her claim to the Foreign Manpower Management Division (Well-Being Branch). She can also opt to call their FDW helpline at 1800 339 5505 (or +65 6339 5505 for overseas callers).”
“The department will help her to recover her salary through conciliation.”
“Failure to pay an FDW’s salary is an offence. To minimise disputes, employers should pay an FDW’s salary within 1 week after the end of the month worked and keep records of salary payment.”
Honestly, a $15,000 fine for $5,700 worth of salaries? Not worth it, man.
While this bit isn’t related to the domestic sector, I feel that it’s a pretty sharp driving point in regards to the issue at hand.
One of our colleagues actually received a warrant for a $10 ERP fine. He chose to ignore it, and the 5 more after that.
While tolerant, they couldn’t turn a blind eye any longer.
He ended up being fined $2,000 for the initial $10 composition sum. #notworthit
Moral of the story?
Do the right thing. Unless your life is at risk. Then head the other way.
That’s what my teacher taught me.
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