MOM investigating case where maid was seen cleaning roof of Bukit Timah house
The Manpower Ministry (MOM) is investigating an incident where a domestic worker was seen cleaning the roof of a house with a broom in Bukit Timah.
The incident surfaced on Aug 31 when another maid, who wanted to be known as Geraldine, posted photos and a video of her friend clinging to the roof while cleaning it, to the Facebook page Complaint Singapore.
When asked by The Straits Times, a MOM spokesman confirmed that it was investigating the case, and said it “takes a serious view of employers who fail to provide safe working conditions for migrant domestic workers”.
Ms Geraldine, the domestic worker who had posted about the incident on Facebook, said she was friends with the maid on the roof as the both of them had stayed in the same condominium between 2017 and 2018 while working for different employers.
Explaining why she shared the incident on social media, the 35-year old told ST she could not turn a blind eye and “pretend that it was a normal work routine for us to do that kind of work”.
Ms Geraldine, who witnessed and filmed the incident at about 11am on Aug 31, said her friend had been instructed by her current employer to sweep the roof.
She said that with the help of the authorities, her friend was in a shelter.
The Centre for Domestic Employees (CDE) confirmed that it contacted the informant immediately on the same day the incident happened and reported it to the MOM.
“The CDE stands ready to provide further assistance to the migrant domestic worker, if required,” it added.
A Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics spokesman told the ST that about one in five domestic workers who seek help from the organisation indicate that they have been asked to do some form of dangerous work.
Examples of dangerous work include climbing a ladder to clean high shelves or fans with no supervision, she said.
“Underpinning any work that is given to domestic workers should be the principle that they are deserving of respect and dignity, and should not be made to perform tasks that compromise their safety,” she said.
She added that precautions should be taken if precarious work has to be carried out.
The MOM spokesman said employers who are found guilty of asking migrant domestic workers to perform tasks that pose a risk to their safety can be fined up to $10,000, jailed up to 12 months, or both.
Migrant domestic workers can report any employment difficulties or issues to MOM at 1800-339-5505.
They can also call the 24-hour helplines operated by CDE at 1800-2255-233 and the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training at 1800-339-4357.