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Can the Employer get refund of SHN fees if the maid did not work the full term with them? Employers who hire maids from overseas are required to pay for the cost of their stay-home notice and related COVID-19 tests in full. Employers are not allowed to pass any of these costs on to the domestic workers. The cost of a 10-day SDF stay is typically S$1,450 per person per room. What if the helper did not wish to continue to work with the employer who paid the full SHN cost? How can the employer get a refund of SHN fees?
While most Indian maids settle in well and complete their term of employment, there are instances where the employment contract is terminated prematurely, either at the employer’s initiative or at the maid’s request to transfer to another employer. This is when the complication starts.
MOM guidelines for sharing of SHN cost
MOM has laid out the criteria for the sharing of such costs. The SHN and related COVID-19 test costs can be shared only if:
(a) the MDW is transferred within 12 months after she completes her SHN;
(b) the current employer does not receive more than what he/she had paid for the costs of SHN and related COVID-19 tests; and
(c) both the current and new employers sign a written agreement on the amount of costs shared.
Example for Refund of SHN fees: Maid mina joined an Employer Sheela
Maid Mina worked for Employer Sheela for 3 months, and is then transferred to Employer Tina.
• Employer Sheela paid S$1,800 for the costs.
• Employers Sheela and Tina agree to pro-rate by number of calendar months, S$1,800 / 12 = S$150 per month.
• Employer Sheela should bear S$450 of the costs (S$150 x 3 months) for the 3 months that Mina worked for Employer Sheela.
• Employer Sheela may recover from Employer Tina the balance of S$1,350 (S$150 x 9 remaining months).
Employers are not permitted to share any other costs related to the hiring of maids, such as employment agency fees and insurance premiums. The current employer should also not receive more than what he had paid for the costs of SHN and Covid-19 tests.
Reason behind the SHN cost sharing
At least with such, cost-sharing guidelines employers can hire Indian maids directly from India instead of searching for a transfer maid like a crazy person on Facebook groups and other forums. This also puts a full stop to the crazy salary hike for Indian transfer maids who are daringly demanding $1000 and 4 off days with just 2 years of working experience in Singapore. Hiring a maid directly from India was a nightmare to many employers as it costs thousands to them and if the maid just simply said, she wish to transfer, then all this amount spent will be burnt and gone to waste. The employer will also feel cheated and they rather want to send her back to India rather than give her a transfer.
How to do the SHN cost sharing
Both the current and new employers are also required to sign a written agreement on the amount of costs shared. For more details and forms to sign to share the cost can be found here: https://www.mom.gov.sg/-/media/mom/documents/work-passes-and-permits/criteria-and-guidelines-on-shn-cost-sharing_with-template.pdf?la=en&hash=6A4DE1D673D5149DFAC8B7EB891C1C73
While these guidelines provide that the current and subsequent employer may share the Covid-19 related costs, it does not make it mandatory for the subsequent employer to do so. Therefore, it is still up to the two employers to discuss and mutually agree to the terms of the cost-sharing arrangement. Employers can also determine their own apportionment of the costs by mutual agreement for a fair refund of SHN fees.
MOM also mentioned that employers who have enlisted the help of an employment agency to aid in the transfer of the worker should approach the agency for assistance in facilitating the sharing of the costs.