Amelia Tan & Goh Shi Ting – Straits Times
Singapore. New Indonesian maids here will no longer be allowed to clean out-facing windows or hang laundry outside high-rise homes.
This rule, released by the Indonesian government yesterday to The Straits Times, is part of a contract new maids and their employers will now have to sign before the maids can work here.
It is effective from today.
Maid agencies and worker welfare groups said such a clause signals employers to take the maids’ safety seriously.
Lawyers, however, said that while the contract may be binding to the signed parties, the rule would be difficult to enforce as no one could monitor what maids do.
Responding to this development, the Ministry of Manpower yesterday said that employers should consider this rule when hiring Indonesian maids.
It said that there is already a standard employment contract for all foreign maids in Singapore, and that it exercises “rigorous enforcement” when lapses in safety put lives at risk.
The new clause is part of a document that includes other clauses, such as on insurance and salary, and was formerly applicable only to maids renewing their contracts. The document was introduced by the Indonesian government about three years ago.
Indonesia Embassy Counsellor Sukmo Yuwono said he hoped applying the clause to new maids would reduce the number of maid deaths from falling. This year, eight have died while cleaning windows, or putting laundry out to dry.
John Gee, an executive committee member of Transient Workers Count Too, a worker welfare group, said that although the Singapore Government was not obliged to enforce the agreement, it was still a step in the right direction.
There are about 103,000 Indonesian maids in Singapore.
Reprinted courtesy of Straits Times