In a recent press release, the Philippines Embassy’s Overseas Labour Office announced a raise in Filipino domestic workers’ minimum salary. The S$20 raise will bring the minimum wage up from S$550 to S$570 for Filipino helpers who work in Singapore. The measure will be implemented to compensate for fluctuating exchange rates, as the Philippines government set a minimum wage of US$400 for all their overseas workers. The increase in salary will be effective from May 1st, 2017.
With a total of 240,000 domestic workers – among which 70,000 are Filipino – Singapore suffers from a shortage in supply of highly skilled domestic workers. The market for foreign domestic workers is very competitive as countries like Hong Kong, Singapore and some Middle East countries are striving to attract highly-skilled foreign domestic workers. The new increase in Filipino helpers’ minimum wage will contribute to rendering Singapore more appealing to Filipino domestic workers and might help attract more high-quality domestic workers. Hong Kong’s minimum wage as of October 1st, 2016 was increased to the equivalent of S$775.
The Labour office also stated that random checks would be performed to ensure that the raise is being implemented by employers. Besides, regulations for employment agencies in Singapore will be more stringent as they will be required to submit certain documents on a regular basis to make sure that helpers are not experiencing any deductions on their salaries – which is still a very widespread practice among employment agencies in Singapore.
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