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NEED URGENT ADVICE - MISTREATED HELPER

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quasarddr
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NEED URGENT ADVICE - MISTREATED HELPER

Postby quasarddr » Mon, 03 Jun 2013 9:00 am

Hi all - We took a helper in last night who was locked out of her employer's condo. This is just another one of those shameful stories! The lady has not been paid in 5 months. Throughout her 8-months employment, she got a total of S$1,000. She never gets a day off, her simcard was taken away from her, and she has not been able to contact her family in months. When she finally asked to have one day off yesterday (Sunday), the employer told her she has to stay on the premises. So the helper spent all day in the lobby area and now is not allowed back in. She called them via my helper's phone, she rings the doorbell from below, no one answers.

She didn't take a key for fear that if something goes missing in the house, she will be blamed. We took her in at 1am so she can sleep.

What are our options here? I don't want to go to the MOM because we experienced before how even the MOM doesn't care and has no issues sending someone home. In fact, they told another helper "if you just go quietly and not press charges, maybe we let you back in later". This was a situation involving an overcrowded apartment, no time off, and no ability to send money home. When she finally tried to send money to her family, she was locked out. MOM did nothing to help. It was absolutely sickening!

Can anyone tell me how to protect this helper and get her the money she earned? Although she keeps calling the home, we are worried the employer will just report her as a runway and deport her back to the Philippines.

Thanks for your advice!!!

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Re: NEED URGENT ADVICE - MISTREATED HELPER

Postby ecureilx » Mon, 03 Jun 2013 9:22 am

quasarddr wrote:Hi all - We took a helper in last night who was locked out of her employer's condo. This is just another one of those shameful stories! The lady has not been paid in 5 months. Throughout her 8-months employment, she got a total of S$1,000. She never gets a day off, her simcard was taken away from her, and she has not been able to contact her family in months. When she finally asked to have one day off yesterday (Sunday), the employer told her she has to stay on the premises. So the helper spent all day in the lobby area and now is not allowed back in. She called them via my helper's phone, she rings the doorbell from below, no one answers.

She didn't take a key for fear that if something goes missing in the house, she will be blamed. We took her in at 1am so she can sleep.

What are our options here? I don't want to go to the MOM because we experienced before how even the MOM doesn't care and has no issues sending someone home. In fact, they told another helper "if you just go quietly and not press charges, maybe we let you back in later". This was a situation involving an overcrowded apartment, no time off, and no ability to send money home. When she finally tried to send money to her family, she was locked out. MOM did nothing to help. It was absolutely sickening!

Can anyone tell me how to protect this helper and get her the money she earned? Although she keeps calling the home, we are worried the employer will just report her as a runway and deport her back to the Philippines.

Thanks for your advice!!!


Call TWC2, or HOME - or pm me .. I can refer somebody who helps similiar cases, and is connected to Home as well

http://twc2.org.sg/

http://home.org.sg/

BTW, if the employer hasn't complained to MOM, there is a chance this can be worked out. Since the bond is on the employer, if the maid is a runaway, wise employers will NOT call the MOM.. though some may overlook that bond and do it.

Most likely, the outcome is decided, she will have to be repatriated.

As for the 1,000 for 8 month work, you have to see through the story.

the 8 months of work equates to only last 3 months pay, as the first 5 months or so of pay goes to covering her PH Placement agent fee and a whole lot of fees imposed by the PH Govt, and the maids are all briefed that the first 5 months or so is to recover the costs, and then onwards is her salary in full

MOM will NOT do anything as they know the score, and the agent, in PH and in SG,would have done the briefing, and given the breakdown of the costs due to the POEA and all stuff, no go there.

I would take the maid's story of 1,000 $ pay for 8 months with a little pinch of salt. IN reality, she got paid for 2 or 3 months pay = 1,000 minus the first few months of 'loan repayment'

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Postby quasarddr » Mon, 03 Jun 2013 10:49 am

Hi Ecureilx - Thanks a lot for your fast reply! I tried to PM you but the system said I needed to post more first. Is there another way you can get me the contact at HOME? Can you get to my email address as forum administrator? It's probably pointless to discuss this "loan" perception but, to me, this is the cost of doing business for hiring a helper. To say: "come here but work 5 months for free" is despicable! In any case, the information I got last night was that the helper was paid once in January. That's when she got S$1,000 for three months of work. She has not gotten a penny since.

Not getting paid is one thing but not giving any time off is clearly a violation. For MOM to do nothing and to potentially aid in sending this lady home with almost nothing after 8 months of service, is enabling involuntary servitude and only legitimizes such egregious behavior by some families!

Thanks again!

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Postby ecureilx » Mon, 03 Jun 2013 11:25 am

to answer your questions:

quasarddr wrote:Is there another way you can get me the contact at HOME? Can you get to my email address as forum administrator?


No, Forum admin will not reveal this.

You need to clock 5 posts before you can get a PM facility.

The HOME's contacts are in their site, for now.

quasarddr wrote:It's probably pointless to discuss this "loan" perception but, to me, this is the cost of doing business for hiring a helper. To say: "come here but work 5 months for free" is despicable!


Well, I am not condoning what happens for maid recruitment, but as said, more than partly, their own country law is such that allows the system to work .. so .... not our place to pass the blame on the employer.

There are a lot of costs involved, due to mandatory tests, including one week crash-course Mandarin classes (yes, compulsory in PH even if the employer is Non-Chinese speaking .. ) and all are to be paid by the 'candidate' or OFW, in this case .. so don't go there ..

quasarddr wrote:In any case, the information I got last night was that the helper was paid once in January. That's when she got S$1,000 for three months of work. She has not gotten a penny since.


Not for me to judge there .. I don't know what happened so I will not be able to understand the situation.

quasarddr wrote: Not getting paid is one thing but not giving any time off is clearly a violation. For MOM to do nothing and to potentially aid in sending this lady home with almost nothing after 8 months of service, is enabling involuntary servitude and only legitimizes such egregious behavior by some families!


Time off if under the previous MOM law, it was limited to once a month. If under the new law, yes, then she would have been entitled to once a week. Though when I read the terms in my friend's agency, there is some ambiguity that some may exploit.

And btw, all agents are under severe pressure to ensure the maids are properly briefed and the maids also take a test which covers their rights and all .. so if somebody says they don't know .. tough call there.

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contact for home

Postby ecureilx » Mon, 03 Jun 2013 11:26 am

Do contact this number, 6836 5676

This is their shelter contact number

Unless you have PM, I cannot refer anybody in Home/TWC2 who can personally advice

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Re: contact for home

Postby the lynx » Mon, 03 Jun 2013 11:33 am

ecureilx wrote:Do contact this number, 6836 5676

This is their shelter contact number

Unless you have PM, I cannot refer anybody in Home/TWC2 who can personally advice


Ecu, you can send her PM but she is only unable to reply to you via PM.

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Re: contact for home

Postby ecureilx » Mon, 03 Jun 2013 11:48 am

the lynx wrote:
ecureilx wrote:Do contact this number, 6836 5676

This is their shelter contact number

Unless you have PM, I cannot refer anybody in Home/TWC2 who can personally advice


Ecu, you can send her PM but she is only unable to reply to you via PM.


oops .. forgot that part.

let me check with the counsellor and pass the number to quasarddr

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Postby quasarddr » Mon, 03 Jun 2013 2:19 pm

Thanks all! I appreciate your advice! I called HOME and we sent her over. I also since found out that she has worked for that employer for 18 months, just just 8. S$1,000 in 18 months...

HOME said the employer will probably not release and she may have to be sent home unless they can force release based on violation of the law. I hope HOME will fight for her and force release based on no time off and the S$55.56 in monthly income this lady seems to average so she can get the money that was owed to her and get a chance to join a nicer family.

It's a cruel world if no one cares!

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Postby ecureilx » Mon, 03 Jun 2013 2:44 pm

quasarddr wrote:Thanks all! I appreciate your advice! I called HOME and we sent her over. I also since found out that she has worked for that employer for 18 months, just just 8. S$1,000 in 18 months...

HOME said the employer will probably not release and she may have to be sent home unless they can force release based on violation of the law. I hope HOME will fight for her and force release based on no time off and the S$55.56 in monthly income this lady seems to average so she can get the money that was owed to her and get a chance to join a nicer family.

It's a cruel world if no one cares!


Most likely, she will not be able to come back to Singapore, as unfortunately it is easier for an employer to blacklist a WP holder than the other way around. Hence joining a nicer family maybe out .. Maybe heading to HK or so maybe a better alternate.

It is a cruel world, I agree on that ..

And, again, if she has been sent to HOME, she is in Safe hands..
Last edited by ecureilx on Mon, 03 Jun 2013 2:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby the lynx » Mon, 03 Jun 2013 2:47 pm

quasarddr wrote:Thanks all! I appreciate your advice! I called HOME and we sent her over. I also since found out that she has worked for that employer for 18 months, just just 8. S$1,000 in 18 months...

HOME said the employer will probably not release and she may have to be sent home unless they can force release based on violation of the law. I hope HOME will fight for her and force release based on no time off and the S$55.56 in monthly income this lady seems to average so she can get the money that was owed to her and get a chance to join a nicer family.

It's a cruel world if no one cares!


That's very commendable of you to go out of your way for this poor woman!

Sad to say that FDW employers here are horrible and I've seen the worst of them, especially among the local employers. They treat their domestic helpers like a property at their disposal, not a fellow human.

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Postby morenangpinay » Fri, 07 Jun 2013 3:14 pm

it would help if she reports the manpower agency that contracted her. the philippine manpower agent will be banned from doing placements. Unfortunately, the singapore side, we cant do anything as there is no protection against them. business first in singapore you know.

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Postby ecureilx » Fri, 07 Jun 2013 5:28 pm

morenangpinay wrote:it would help if she reports the manpower agency that contracted her. the philippine manpower agent will be banned from doing placements. Unfortunately, the singapore side, we cant do anything as there is no protection against them. business first in singapore you know.


How fast does this 'banning' happen ??

And are you implying MOM doesn't care about Any offending agency ? geeee

you got to read up on this I guess ..

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Postby x9200 » Fri, 07 Jun 2013 6:50 pm

morenangpinay wrote:it would help if she reports the manpower agency that contracted her. the philippine manpower agent will be banned from doing placements. Unfortunately, the singapore side, we cant do anything as there is no protection against them. business first in singapore you know.

Why the Ph manpower agent will be banned?

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Postby ecureilx » Sun, 09 Jun 2013 1:34 pm

x9200 wrote:
morenangpinay wrote:it would help if she reports the manpower agency that contracted her. the philippine manpower agent will be banned from doing placements. Unfortunately, the singapore side, we cant do anything as there is no protection against them. business first in singapore you know.

Why the Ph manpower agent will be banned?


well, the PH agent maybe banned, if he didn't make use of the hundred and one ways allowing them to legally rip off the maid (like legally charge 1 month placement fee, legally charge another month for medical, legally charge 1 month for the orientation .. etc. etc. ... ) though some of the costs that have to be paid by somebody, like compulsory Mandarin trainnig for maids coming to Singapore, even if the maid is going to work for a non-chinese family etc ... are ridiculous

And from what I know, in PH Law, if company A gets blacklisted, fret now, open Company B with your name or your spouse's name and keep rocking as usual .. Unlike in Singapore where anybody banned by MOM strictly cannot do any more business related to Manpower, directly or through their family members.

morenangpinay : I am not picking on PH, but my country is not better off, in ensuring the Foreign workers don't get ripped off by agents .. though it gets a bit boring Blaming Singapore for all and everything, when the legal robbery takes places at the source and the best way to stop the problem is at the source itself.

I would prefer the employers foot all the costs and let the maids earn every dollar from day 1, though even then, I can foresee some agents still using the legal loophole to make a 1 month pay as fee .. and then again, if the maids from country X becomes expensive, there is a country Y willing to step in .. like now Malaysia has a lot of Cambodian maids .. in my cousin's area, the whole row of 12 houses have replaced Indonesian and Filipino maids with Cambodians.

Is it like what somebody said, 'willing buyer, willing seller' case ??

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Postby morenangpinay » Mon, 10 Jun 2013 11:47 am

x9200 wrote:
morenangpinay wrote:it would help if she reports the manpower agency that contracted her. the philippine manpower agent will be banned from doing placements. Unfortunately, the singapore side, we cant do anything as there is no protection against them. business first in singapore you know.

Why the Ph manpower agent will be banned?


the ph agent will be banned or be listed as violators in the Philippines even the agents in Singapore I believe will be banned by the philippine government if there is evidence. If the employer did not follow the rules as stated in the original contract (meaning the one submitted for verification by the philippine gov. in the philippines) then they will be charged with illegal recruitment. the penalty for illegal recruitment is 6 years to life. This is why it is hard to directly employ filipino domestic workers, those directly coming from the philippines because its expensive (the original terms are the employer must handle all cost including travel, board and lodging and the agent may only deduct 1 month of salary from the worker).

But once the filipino domestic worker is trafficked illegally and did not go through the proper process then it will be hard to protect them because the contract they signed is different and they may not have the capacity to understand the terms are not favorable to them.

Again ecurelix I am talking about the legal process and not any other process the agents are doing which are illegal. You know the philippine agencies that have excellent track record are wary to transact with singapore agencies as they are unwilling to meet the terms imposed by the government. I talked to 4 agencies and they said the same.


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