Employment agencies will offer a partial refund option if employers terminate the maid contract early
SINGAPORE: From June, employment agencies must offer employers an option for reimbursement of at least 50% of service fees paid by the employer, if a housekeeper’s employment is terminated within six first months of his employment.
This will encourage agencies to take “more ownership of achieving a good match” between migrant domestic workers and employers, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in a statement released Thursday, March 31.
The new refund policy will only apply to all service fees paid on or after June 1, MOM said.
Originally slated to be introduced in October 2021, the ministry announced in September last year that its implementation would be delayed to early 2022 to allow more time to incorporate stakeholder feedback on the policy.
The reimbursement option will apply to up to three housekeepers placed by an agency with the same employer, MOM said on Thursday, adding that employers can request a replacement housekeeper instead of a reimbursement if the agency offers such an option.
However, in certain circumstances, employment agencies will not be required to provide reimbursement, the ministry said.
These include whether there was no matching service provided by the agency, i.e. whether it was engaged by the employer only to perform the administrative work necessary for hiring housekeeper, or if the employer violates employment laws or commits an offense against the housekeeper. .
Agencies also won’t have to reimburse employers if the maid was hired as a carer and the need for care no longer exists, for example if the person being cared for has died or moved into care. alternate charging, MOM said.
Employers seeking reimbursement will have to notify employment agencies before the maid’s employment is terminated, the ministry said.
This will give the agency time to talk to both the housekeeper and the employer to understand the reasons for the dismissal, MOM explained, adding that it would allow the agency to provide better matches.
Under this new policy, the reimbursable amount includes all fees paid by the employer to the agency, with the exception of fees related to the entry and employment of housekeepers, fees imposed by the housekeeper’s home country government and the domestic helper’s placement loan.
“The Service Fee Reimbursement Policy is part of a series of measures to promote better matching of employers with (migrant domestic workers) who best meet their needs,” said Mr. Kevin Teoh, Commissioner of Employment Agencies and Division Director of MOM’s Foreign Labor Management Division. .
The measure was developed based on feedback from employers, employment agencies and non-governmental organisations, Mr Teoh added, noting the “crucial role” agencies play in facilitating a good match between employers and the maids.
Ms K Jayaprema, President of AEA(S), Association of Employment Agencies (Singapore), added: “The Service Fee Reimbursement Policy represents the shared responsibility of (employment agencies) and employers, and encourages both parties to clearly state job requirements so that candidates can be matched appropriately.”
Ms. Jayaprema added that the association is confident that this decision will reduce grievances and contract disputes between agencies and employers.
She noted that the association had also worked with MOM to develop and publish a set of best practices to help agencies “make better matches, improve transparency and clarity upfront to reduce conflicts downstream.”
The association will help guide agencies and employers to ensure “smooth implementation and adoption of the policy”, she added.