JUSTICE FOR FOREIGN DOMESTIC WORKERS IN SINGAPORE

SYSTEMS DESIGN and service design

MFA DESIGN FOR SOCIAL INNOVATION

PROJECT BRIEF

World justice project incubator is a platform to use rule of law and working using theory of change. This is as part of the systems class at the Design for Social Innovation.

THE PROBLEM

The current laws advocate for more mutuality and accountability between employers and Foreign Domestic workers (FDWs) in Singapore, but an innate inequality exists in power dynamics between these two groups perpetuates abuse against FDWs.

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The Rule of Law Index for Singapore is really high and has a global rank of 9, despite that, Singapore ranks low in Fundamental rights and Regulatory Enforcement.

  Stories from news about the inequality that Foreign Domestic Workers face in Singapore

Stories from news about the inequality that Foreign Domestic Workers face in Singapore

PROBLEM STATEMENT

How might we address the unequal power dynamic between employers and FDWs to allow for effective regulatory enforcement of FDW right?

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THE CURRENT SYSTEM

INTERVENTION

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By reforming the existing hiring process and designing an improved system for reporting, we can address an unbalanced power dynamic between employers and FDWs which will carry out a system of proper enforcement and action based on FDWs’ legal rights.

 

Reform Hiring Process

  • Improve Employer Orientation

    • Require in-person attendance

    • Add empathy and cross-cultural communication training to current agenda

    • Arrange for FDWs to introduce themselves through personal letter/biography

  • Expand Settling-in Program

    • Require attendance from both parties for the existing program content

    • Test employer knowledge of roles, rights, and responsibilities taught at first orientation

    • Foster relationship building between employer and employee through facilitated activities (i.e. role-playing, practice with saying “no”)

    • Provide pairs an opportunity to negotiate and establish future terms of employment in neutral space (i.e. rest days)

  • Neutralisation of 3-month wellness interview

    • Put in place 3rd party facilitators to conduct interviews (to promote honesty/openness)

       

Reform Feedback Processes

  • Design Ongoing Wellness Interviews

    • Arrange for ongoing 3rd party wellness interviews to be conducted in tandem with mandatory every-6-months medical checkup for more regularly scheduled feedback

    • Ensure that each FDW is paired with same interviewer each time to build trust and openness

  • Anonymous Reporting

    • Provide opportunity for FDWs to voice issues and receive personalized information on rights and action advice without fear of consequence

    • Receive regular feedback from FDWs to provide ongoing picture of the FDW landscape

    • Provide platform for immediate action in case of emergency

 

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THE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES

  • Increased levies to offset increased administrative costs
  • Added emotional and financial aspect may deter employers from hiring foreign workers

  • FDWs may feel that added discussions are burdensome or “tests” and under utilise additional services (reporting and check-ins)

THE NEXT STEPS

  • Interview Employers

  • Interview FDWs

  • Interview foreign embassies (often an outlet for FDW complaints/concerns, including shelters)

  • Establishing partnerships with the ministry of manpower

  • Gain partners in implementing

  • Prototype the system to test the unintended consequences

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LEARNING GOALS

 Team work, Insight Development, Visualisation, Critical thinking

TEAM

 Andrea Archer, Nicholas Chan, Mayu Inoue, Sandy Ng, Hrudaya Veena Yanamandala

CONTRIBUTION

 Quantitative Research, Stakeholder mapping, System Design, Unintended Consequences