To give a helping hand to Foreign Domestic Workers (FDWs), the Singapore government has increased their insurance coverage which will be applicable from October 2017. Changes have been made in the Personal Accident Insurance requirements of FDWs.
In the event of death or permanent disability, FDWs and their families will be assured a minimum sum of SGD60,000 – up from the previous SGD40,000.
Making this announcement at NTUC’s May Day Domestic Employees Celebration, Sam Tan, Minister of State for Manpower, said, “The move is to ensure all FDWs continue to be adequately compensated in the event of permanent disability or death while employed in Singapore.”
He added, “This is in line with higher FDW salaries, as well as increases in the cost of living in workers’ home countries since the last review in 2008. This state of affairs was flagged by the Union, which asked the government to review insurance requirements since January 2017.
Starting salaries for FDWs rose from an average of SGD300 in 2012 to about SGD550 in 2016, according to figures from the NTUC’s Centre for Domestic Employees (CDE).
After discussions with insurance companies, Minister Tan said, “They will also help employers to better protect their FDWs and their families at a slight increase in premiums of about between SGD7 to SGD15 (a year).”
He added, “FDWs will also have greater peace of mind, be happier and more productive with these changes. So, we trust that these changes will further facilitate a harmonious working relationship between employers and their FDWs.”
Changes will be made to allow FDWs or their legal representatives to file claims directly with insurers, or have an MOM-appointed representative directed to act on their behalf. Coverage will also need to start when the worker first arrives in Singapore to the date she returns to her country, or in the case where she changes employers, to the date her new work permit is issued.