New Rule Makes Maid Agent Fees More Transparent

A new requirement by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will make agent fees for maids more transparent, and possibly prevent employers from being short-changed. 

Introduced last week, agents must now inform MOM how much they are charging maids for a two-year contract when applying for work permits online.

When permits are approved, employers get a copy of the in-principle approval with the fee stated. They can compare it with the service agreements they receive from the agents – which should state the same amount if agents follow MOM's recommended format. A sample of the format can be found on MOM’s website. 

The move increases transparency by providing employers and maids more information on employment terms. While agencies are generally law abiding, MOM investigates reports of overcharging.

The fee that maids have to pay agents is legally capped at two months' salary for a two-year contract. Employers usually pay this in advance for their maids and later deduct it from the maids’ salaries.

Previously, agents could combine the fees they charge employers and maids together with the fees to their foreign counterparts. But the practice clouds how much agents are charging the maids, said Ms K. Jayaprema, president of the Association of Employment Agencies of Singapore.

"The association is also trying to push for agents to declare how much they are paying the foreign suppliers," she added. 

How else can we improve the transparency between maids, employers and agencies? Share your thoughts with us!

Source: “New rule ensures more transparent maid agent fees” (The Straits Times, 20 Dec 2015)

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