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NEW PROVISIONS: Agencies must provide new maids to employers within two weeks
KUALA LUMPUR: RECRUITMENT agencies must replace Indonesian maids who abscond from their employers within six weeks of their employment, or are deemed unfit to work by employers within six months of working.
These provisions, in the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by Malaysia and Indonesia in Bandung on May 30 last year, were incorporated into the Employment Act 1955, the amendments of which took effect on April 1.
Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said: “A total of 247 domestic maid recruitment agencies had since accepted the additional requirements.”
The fuller “replacement clause” states that if a maid runs away within six weeks, or is deemed incompetent within the first six months of duty, the Malaysian agency that recruited her must offer a replacement within two weeks, or refund the hiring cost within a month.
It also states that if a maid is deemed unfit within the first three months of duty, the recruitment agency must offer a replacement within two weeks to employers or refund the costs within a month.
Employers must report to the Labour Department within 30 days when they hire a new maid as well as when a maid’s service ends, including if she runs away.
His statement comes in the wake of the arrival of the first batch of Indonesian maids last week since a moratorium was imposed on June 26, 2009.
The 2½-year moratorium imposed by Indonesia on its citizens working as maids here was lifted after a series a meetings culminating on Dec 1 last year.
Dr Subramaniam said several measures had been adopted to ensure maids working here were provided protection.
Salaries are to be banked into maids’ savings accounts;
A day off for maids;
Maids get extra pay if they work on their day off;
Maids can keep their passport, unless they allow their employers to hold it for them;
They can file complaints to Labour Department branches or Talian Nur, or seek help from enforcement agencies and nongovernmental agencies;
Maids can file suits, under Section 69 of the Labour Act 1955, if employers do not pay them; and,
Maids who undergo forced labour or carry out tasks outside their contracts can seek protection under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007.
Dr Subramaniam said these measures would help the Labour Department in checking and enforcement to ensure maids were protected and to monitor employers.
He said problems involving maids would be discussed and channelled to the authorities by a taskforce chaired by the Labour Department director-general and the Indonesian embassy here.
In Segamat, Dr Subramaniam said that the country still needed about 100,000 maids from Indonesia.
He said until now his ministry had received between 70,000 and 80,000 applications for domestic workers. This figure is expected to increase.
Dr Subramaniam, however, said that the high cost imposed on agencies had seen Indonesia emphasise on sending workers to countries which offered better salaries.
“They are training their domestic workers, but choose to send them to South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore because salaries there are higher.”
Dr Subramaniam, who is the member of parliament for Segamat, said there were currently 200,000 maids working in Malaysia — 150,000 from Indonesia, 30,000 from Cambodia and the rest from other countries.