THE Ministry of Manpower is reviewing the penalties for employers who endanger the lives of their maids.
Writing in the ministry's blog yesterday, Minister of State for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin said: 'If necessary, we will do more to ensure the deterrence message gets across to all employers. We are reviewing whether the current penalties are adequate to ensure deterrence.'
His comments follow reports that eight Indonesian maids died this year while cleaning windows, hanging out laundry, or hanging up curtains in high-rise flats.
Errant employers can be fined up to $5,000, jailed six months, or recieve both a fine and a jail term. In the past five years, 14 employers have been penalised.
Mr Tan is seeking the views of members of the public on the issue.
The Indonesian Embassy has announced that since May1, all Singapore employers and their Indonesian maids must sign a contract with a clause that bars maids from cleaning out-facing windows. The embassy will also bar Singapore employers and maid agencies from hiring and recruiting Indonesian maids if the women are put in harm's way.
A ban on cleaning window exteriors may be too 'blunt an instrument', said Mr Tan. He added people could use the smartphone application SNAP@MOM to send in photos of unsafe work conditions.
Advocacy groups for foreign workers hoped the Government would consider having MOM officers visit maids in the home and include them in the Work Injury Compensation Act.