MOM starts house visit scheme to ensure welfare of maids
Maids in Singapore are getting more support to ensure employers are treating them right, with officers appointed by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) making house visits to check on them.
Under the new initiative, which started on April 5, the officers meet maids and employers at their homes and highlight safe working conditions as well as the channels through which maids can get help if they need it.
They also check on the maids' living and working conditions during the visits.
MOM said it aims to visit about 200 homes a month.
The move comes after a spate of high-profile cases of domestic helpers being abused, in one case leading to a maid's death.
In February, housewife Gaiyathiri Murugayan pleaded guilty to starving and torturing her Myanmar maid Piang Ngaih Don, 24, leading to her death.
A spokesman for MOM said the officers are trained to look out for non-verbal cues that could point to violations or unfair working conditions, which the ministry would then follow up with.
In the event of abuse, the police will be alerted.
Along with household visits, MOM will work with the Centre for Domestic Employees (CDE) to conduct more in-person interviews with first-time maids, during which they can raise their concerns and other issues.
Representatives of MOM and CDE said the home visits and interviews would strengthen the ecosystem of support for maids.
Mr Tan Shu Xiang, director of engagement at MOM's foreign manpower management division, said: "It's important we take good care of our migrant domestic workers while they are working in Singapore. And this requires all our stakeholders - the employers, employment agencies, MOM, our community partners like CDE - to work closely together so as to create a strong system of support.
"MOM is looking into reviewing all the safeguards against abuse and we're looking into a comprehensive set of measures. Even as the review is in progress, we have introduced the house visits so that we can make sure we support our migrant domestic workers."