Singapore Bank POSB Introduces E-Payments to Prevent Maid Salary Disputes

Financial disputes have been one of the major headaches both employers and employees face more than we think. Not making light of this growing situation, Singapore Bank, POSB has looked into a new electronic payment scheme in order to lessen the cases of salary disputes between employers and domestic helpers.

Upon its introduction, more than 20 employment agencies have expressed their interest to undergo the program during its initial 3-month trial period starting this month.

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Singapore Bank POSB Introduces E-Payment Scheme to Prevent Salary Disputes Between Maids and Employers

The Center For Domestic Employees (CDE) has been at the forefront of helping domestic helpers gain employment in Singapore, and now with the new payment scheme in the works, newly-hired domestic helpers will be requested to avail of Internet banking services through which their salaries will be transferred to every month. Aside from the employers, employment agents can also assist domestic helpers set up their online bank accounts.

One of the advantages of this new e-payment scheme, according to Mr. Yeo Guat Kwang, chairman of the CDE, is higher transparency and better record-keeping of payments, collection, and remittance by the involved parties.

Salary disputes is one of the major issues, if not the most pressing one according to the data provided by CDE since its operation January of last year. 360 cases or more than 50% of the700 complaints received by the CDE last year were related to salary disputes. The numbers hold importance for more than 239,700 maids currently employed in Singapore as well as their employers.

“By making it more transparent, we can subsequently look at how to make it fairer for all parties.” said CDE chairman, Mr. Yeo.

Besides introducing the electronic payment scheme, the CDE will also closely work with employment agents to help employers make the transition from over-the-counter payments to online banking.

Once the government fully recognizes the benefit of the new program, they can make the process mandatory for domestic helpers moving forward.

Additionally, the pilot program is looking into utilizing a mobile phone app known as POSB Jolly which will allow domestic helpers to check their transaction records, remit money to the Philippines, India or Indonesia and reload prepaid phone cards using SMS banking.

While the issue with salary disputes has been quite common in the past few years, not all employment agencies have responded positively to the initiative by the CDE partly because opening a POSB account entails maintaining a minimum balance of $500 in order to avoid a service charge.

On that regard, the POSB will be waiving the minimum amount during the trial period of the program.

The new payment system not only aims to lessen salary disputes, but it also allows domestic helpers to track and manage their income efficiently since everything can be done online or through their very own smartphones.

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