One of the commonest reasons given by employers for not giving a day off to the domestic workers employed by them is “I might lose my security bond.” They say that their FDW (Foreign Domestic Worker) might run away or get pregnant, which would cause that to happen.

On June 25, 2011, ‘Today’ published a letter from Farah Abdul Rahim, Director of Corporate Communications at the Ministry of Manpower. It provides a brief statement of the current MOM position on the bond and some useful statistics.

The letter says:

From 2005 to 2010, MOM forfeited an average of 65 (less than 0.04 per cent) security bonds for FDWs each year. As of December 2010, there were 201,000 FDWs working in Singapore.

MOM understands employers’ concerns that they should not be held responsible when their FDWs violate the Work Permit Conditions on their own accord, especially outside designated work hours or on their rest days. Therefore, since January 2010, MOM has removed employers’ liability if the FDW gets pregnant or breaches other Work Permit conditions that relate to her own behaviour. It is untrue that the $5,000 security bond will be forfeited for pregnancy.

Even in the extreme case where the worker absconds and the employer is unable to repatriate her, only half of the security bond will be forfeited, so long as the employer has made reasonable efforts to locate the FDW.

The letter went on to say that the

MOM is studying the suggestion for the Government to legislate a weekly rest day for FDWs, with compensation in-lieu when the FDW and employer mutually agree that the rest day be foregone.