On 17 May 2018, the Ministry of Manpower (“MOM”) charged a 36-year-old employer, Belinda Huber (“the accused”), in the State Courts for failing to provide safe working conditions for her foreign domestic worker (“FDW”).
The accused contravened the Work Permit Conditions1 and committed an offence under section 22(1)(a) of the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act.
If convicted, the accused can be fined up to $10,000 or imprisoned for up to 12 months or to both. She will also be barred from employing an FDW in the future.
Employer Disregarded FDW’s Personal Safety
Investigations revealed that between early June and 4 July 2017, the accused instructed her FDW, on four different occasions, to clean the glass ceiling, located at the second level of the accused’s house. To perform the assigned task, the FDW had to stand on the glass ceiling which extended over the porch area of the house.
By instructing the FDW to perform such dangerous acts, the accused endangered the FDW’s life.
MOM stopped the FDW from working for the accused and also imposed an interim employment ban while investigations were ongoing. The FDW is currently working for a new employer.
The case has been adjourned to 21 June 2018 for a Further Mention.
Employers Have to Supervise FDWs Closely
An FDW employer has a legal obligation to provide safe working conditions and ensure that the FDW carries out her task in accordance with safe work practices as stipulated by MOM. This includes supervising the FDW to ensure that the FDW practises workplace safety and is not placed in situations which endanger her life.
MOM urges FDWs who need help on work safety and/or well-being issues to call the MOM FDW Helpline at 1800 339 5505, or the Centre for Domestic Employees (CDE) at 1800 2255 233. In addition, anyone with information on suspected offences involving FDWs can write in to MOM at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 6438 5122 to report the matter.
1. Under Fourth Schedule, Part I of the Employment of Foreign Manpower (Work Passes) Regulations 2012, Condition 2 of the Conditions to be Complied with by Employer of Foreign Employee who is Domestic Worker issued with Work Permit reads, “The employer shall provide safe working conditions and take such measures as are necessary to ensure the safety and health of the foreign employee at work.”
Source information taken from https://www.mom.gov.sg/newsroom/press-releases/2018/0517-employer-charged-for-failing-to-ensure-safety-of-fdw