The new Settling-in-Programme (SIP) for first-time domestic workers will kick in from May 1, reported the Straits Times on April 14, 2012. The compulsory programme replaces a controversial entry test which many first-time maids find hard to pass because of their weak command of the English language. The workers must attend the course before their work permits can be issued.

Employers will be  paying $75 to put them through a one-day course, roughly double what employers are currently paying for the entry test and the four-hour Safety Awareness Course (SAC). The SAC has now been incorporated into the new SIP.

The new programme will be available in English, Indonesian, Tagalog and the Myanmar language.

The newspaper reported that the SIP is being offered by Grace Management & Consultancy Services, in partnership with the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Skills Training, and ECON Careskill Training Centre. They were chosen by the Ministry of Manpower from 12 applicants.

The news story also mentioned that currently, there are 206,000 domestic workers in Singapore.

A sidebar to the Straits Times story gave details of the course content:

What will be taught

Introduction to Singapore: Maids will learn more about amenities, such as markets, clinics, banks and the transportation system, and the different races and religions.

Safety: They will be taught how to hang laundry and clean windows safely and how to use common electrical appliances. They will also get tips on personal safety, crime prevention and road safety.

Conditions of work permit: Maids will be told about their responsibilities and rights as well as their employers’ responsibilities. They will also be informed that illegal deployment and employment violate the work permit conditions.

Relationship and stress management: Besides finding out how to identify the causes and symptoms of stress, they will learn how to manage it and build a good relationship with employers