Woman fined for allowing maids to climb scaffold to clean windows of two-storey bungalow

A Singaporean lady who was unable to provide a safe working place to both of her maids instead employed both as a maintenance worker and scaffolder cleaners. Her action was breaking a rule, thus considered illegal and fined S$46,000, August 8, Wednesday.

The Singaporean lady is Willow Phua Brest, 46 years old, accused of breaching the work permit terms and conditions plus an additional charge of unlawful employment last Tuesday. Plus another five similar charges were intensively reviewed during the verdict. She pleaded guilty to the said charges.

The offences happened last October 2017, reported in a new release by the Ministry of Manpower.

Phua instructed her housekeepers to wash the exterior side of the window of two-storey property right at Cluny Park for almost four times during special events.

The housemaid needs to step on the L-shaped, 7m-tall scaffold that stood outside the home’s main building to be able to reach those dirty windows which were not supported by grilles.

MOM explained that such work must be done by an expert service provider and not by housemaids because it only risks the maid’s life.

Phua was not able to provide a safe working place for the helpers and did not bother also to find ways that ensure safety.

The housemaids who must have been hired for household chores were also requested to assemble the scaffold so they can use it in performing maintenance routines right at the back side of the huge home with an absence of legal work permits of the said same month.

One maid shared their major concern, that it extremely risky to climb in the scaffold and do the cleaning routines because no proper guard rails to prevent them from falling, but despite for the extreme risk, Phua insisted to have the cleaning maintenance, told MOM.

The two maids were ceased from rendering household services for Phua per MOM’s instruction. One of the two was given a temporary job in a new employer and the other was sent home.

Jeanette Har, the director of MOM described the case as  “egregious”.

“Limbs and lives are at stake, ” The dangers are real and clear but the employer did not mind instead becomes more insensitive to them, she further added.

Phua was fined as high as S$10,000  and 12 months inside the jail for each verdict in failure to provide a safe working environment for domestic workers.

In matters of illegitimate employment, Phua ‘s fined reach S$30,000 with a matching jail period until 12 months. Offenders will be banned from getting domestic workers in the future.