New rule to protect maids from high-rise falls

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New rule to protect maids from high-rise falls

Postby Taurus on Wed 02 May, 2012 8:07 am

AsiaOne

Indonesian maids who will be coming here to work will no longer be allowed to clean out-facing windows or hang laundry outside high-rise homes.

The new rule, which takes effect today, was released by the Indonesian government yesterday to The Straits Times. It will be part of a contract new maids and their employers have to sign before the maids can work in Singapore.

This clause signals employers to take the safety of maids seriously, said maid agencies and worker welfare groups.

However, lawyers said that rule would be difficult to enforce as no one could monitor what maids do.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) told The Straits Times yesterday that employers should consider this new rule when hiring Indonesian maids.

MOM said that there is already a standard employment contract for all foreign maids in Singapore and this contract exercises 'rigourous enforcement' when safety lapses cause lives to be put at risk.

It said that the new clause is part of a document that includes other clauses, such as insurance and salary. The document, which was introduced by the Indonesian government about three years ago, was formerly applicable only to maids renewing their contracts.

This year, eight workers have died while cleaning windows or putting laundry out to dry.

Indonesia Embassy Counsellor Sukmo Yuwono told The Straits Times he hoped the clause would reduce the number of maid deaths from falling.

Mr John Gee, an executive committee member of a worker welfare group Transient Workers Count Too, said that it was a step in the right direction, although the Singapore Government was not obliged to enforce the agreement.

klim@sph.com.sg
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