Domestic workers

New center opens in Tampines for domestic workers and employers to seek help

SINGAPORE – Migrant domestic workers and their employers now have a new place where they can seek help or advice from the Center for Domestic Workers (CDE) on work-related issues.

The CDEConnect center, located in the Income office complex in Tampines Junction, officially opened its doors on Sunday July 24th.

It joins another center at 75 Pasir Panjang Road – which opened in mid-2019 – as a place where the CDE offers support to migrant domestic workers and their employers. The CDE is an initiative of the National Trades Union Congress.

Both sites are weekend spaces for workers to rest and recharge through recreational activities including festival celebrations and craft workshops.

The centers are also places where the CDE interviews migrant domestic workers for the first time to assess how they are adjusting to living and working in Singapore, on behalf of the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) .

Interviews are conducted in person, in the workers’ native language, and within six months of starting their job.

“Since 2017, the CDE has conducted more than 60,000 such interviews with migrant domestic workers,” MOM said in a statement on Sunday.

Interviews were conducted virtually from April 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but reverted to an in-person format from the middle of that month.

A MOM spokesman told the media that more than 24,000 workers were interviewed by the CDE last year.

Common issues raised in interviews include late payment of wages, illegal deployment of workers by their employers, and performing household chores in an unsafe manner.

In most cases, the CDE will first check with the employers if there has been a misunderstanding or miscommunication between them and the workers.

If the case is deemed serious, the CDE will inform MOM or the police.

The spokesperson also said it was planned to launch the next phase of the initiative by the end of this year. This involves interviewing workers a second time within a year of starting their job.

At Sunday’s event, Minister of State for Labor Gan Siow Huang said the talks would help ensure that problems faced by workers are identified and resolved quickly.