Monday, December 7, 2015

SINGAPORE:::Mediation service for foreign domestic workers to open in Feb

The idea of a mediation service for foreign domestic workers (FDWs) and their employers first came to Mr William Chew’s mind when employment agencies suggested that his organisation could take on the role of a neutral third party in such disputes.

So in September, the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (FAST) decided to expand its scope to include these services. Since then, it has tackled four cases.
Mr Chew, FAST’s executive director, told TODAY that one such dispute involved a runaway worker who missed home.
“We brought in her employers and employment agency, and found out that the maid was not emotionally prepared,” he said. She was sent home eventually, and the matter was resolved amicably.
The service is expected to be launched officially in February, with five mediators on board. Training on labour laws and foreign domestic worker rights will be given to them beforehand. For a start, mediation sessions will be held once every fortnight, in the FAST clubhouse at Tanjong Pagar.
This comes on the back of FAST achieving Institution of Public Character (IPC) status last week, allowing its donors to receive tax deductions. “One of the most important reasons (for our application) is that we need donors,” said Mr Chew.
“Most donors give to more conventional types of charities. For maids, it’s quite a challenge to get corporate donors. With the IPC, we hope to encourage more corporate donors to give.”
Since its establishment in 2005, FAST has conducted subsidised training for more than 66,000 FDWs, and received nearly 4,000 calls on its 24-hour hotline, Minister of State for Manpower Sam Tan said at a FAST event on Sunday (Dec 6).
He added that a recent Manpower Ministry survey, involving about 1,000 FDWs, found that 97 per cent of the respondents were satisfied working here. About four in five said they would recommend Singapore to their friends and relatives as a workplace.
The survey was conducted this year, and more results will be released at a later date.
Mediation service for foreign domestic workers to open in Feb

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