SINGAPORE: A foreign domestic helper took to social media asking how many months of salary deductions an agency could make.
Well, according to the Manpower Ministry (MOM), “Singapore employment agencies (EAs) are allowed to collect no more than 1 month of a worker’s fixed-monthly salary for each year of service, capped at 2 months’ salary. This fee cap is in place to protect vulnerable workers who may not have bargaining powers. Foreign workers can refer to the in-principle approval (IPA) letter that MOM issues to them before their arrival in Singapore. The IPA letter includes details such as a worker’s fixed-monthly salary and fees paid to the Singapore EA”.
“It is an offence for an EA to charge excessive agency fees. Workers who are being overcharged can contact MOM for assistance. All information will be kept strictly confidential,” the MOM added.
Earlier this year, another Filipino transfer helper asked her employer why she did the paperwork herself for the transfer when she could have used an agency to help with the transfer. In an anonymous post, the employer wrote: “Today, she asked who is her agency as she is curious. So I told her that she has no agency as she is a transfer helper and I did all the paperwork myself. I told her going through agency will cost me agency fees + agency will need to deduct her salary 1-2 months”. She added that the maid was previously employed by her cousin and had been working for her for five months.