For the past two years, COVID-19 has been affecting a majority of our lives – the way we interact with others, how we work, etc. It even changed our perception about travelling during the pandemic which has affected all walks of life, including maid agency services here in Singapore.
In fact, the COVID-19 travel restrictions have led to a limited number of migrant domestic workers coming into Singapore. As a result, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) set out new rules to address the shortage of migrant domestic workers in Singapore while ensuring the safety and welfare of every migrant domestic worker on the island is met.
In this article, we will discuss the MOM’s set of guidelines that cover all of the COVID-19 safety details for maid agency services in Singapore.
In MOM’s earliest advisory on COVID-19 to migrant domestic workers, employers and employment agencies, helpers and confinement nannies must obtain an entry approval to enter Singapore. This entry application must be made by the employers and maid agency services using the SafeTravel portal under the Work Pass Holder General Lane.
As a condition to enter Singapore, pass holders who have obtained their entry approval are required to comply with the prevailing travel health control measures such as serving the Stay-Home Notice (SHN) and undergoing necessary COVID-19 tests.
This is to ensure that your potential helper is free of the virus and fit enough to work for your household. At the same time, this entry measure is set in place to control the spread of the virus from inbound travels.
General precautionary measures
The ministry continues to emphasise safety measures that employers and helpers can adopt to protect themselves and their households. This includes practising good personal hygiene such as the frequent washing of hands with soap, especially before handling food or eating, or after going to the washroom.
Not only that, but also covering one’s mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and disposing of the soiled tissue immediately. If anyone in the household feels unwell or develops symptoms, a visit to the doctor is highly recommended.
By doing so, you’re curbing the spread within your household while ensuring that everyone is healthy and doesn’t become a potential spreader at home.
Additional precautionary measures
As migrant domestic workers are required to care for young children, the elderly or those with illnesses or special needs, the MOM encourages employers and helpers to come up with additional precautionary measures to protect the vulnerable.
For instance, if you hire a helper to take care of your young children and elderly parents, you will need to discuss with your helper the additional precautionary measures. This includes encouraging your helper to spend their rest day at home and avoid gathering in public areas should they be out.
If your helper agrees to spend their rest day at home, you shouldn’t assign them to work. Meanwhile, if your helper decides to forgo their rest days, you must provide compensation in place of the rest day. Should your helper have errands to attend to on their rest day, encourage her to take their rest day on a weekday to avoid the crowd.
Transfer of helper’s employment
Due to the shortage of migrant domestic workers coming into the country, MOM has allowed employers and maid agency services to transfer their helpers to another employer. If the helper doesn’t have a new employer, the agency will then be responsible for providing accommodation, food, and medical insurance.
If the agency is not willing to take on the responsibilities, they are advised not to cancel the helper’s work permit until the agency has found a new employer. At the same time, the agency can advise employers to cancel the work permit and send their helpers home under the agency’s repatriation aid.
Should you cancel your helper’s work permit, you will remain responsible for your helper until she leaves Singapore. This includes the cost of her accommodation, food, and medical treatment. You should also pay for the cost of your helper’s flight home.
These guidelines set by the MOM doesn’t just ensure the welfare of migrant domestic workers but also help to guide employers in managing their helper’s employment. By maintaining open communication with your helper during this pandemic, you can avoid misunderstandings and legal confrontations.
Homekeeper can help with your household needs
If you’re looking to hire a helper with the help of a maid agency here in Singapore, Homekeeper is here to help with the process.
We can also help to process the necessary documents for you and your helper. On top of that, we provide maid pre-employment training to ensure that your helper meets your household needs. Reach out to us by calling (65) 6468 5220 or email email@example.com.