Anisya’s position on replacements - ANISYA

Anisya’s position on replacements

Does Anisya provide any replacements or guarantees? The quick answer: No.

For the long answer, please read on.

Google for “free replacements” and you will find entries for dead cellphone batteries, cracked screens and in general, things people own that need fixing. Oddly enough, “free replacements” is now associated with maids (they would rather you call them “workers”). There is a darker story behind what is sold as a satisfaction guarantee to employers.

In August 2015, Anisya conducted an online survey of what foreign domestic workers (FDWs) paid to secure a job here in Singapore. As most workers do not have the cash to make this payment upfront, they will usually incur this amount as a debt, which is paid back as forfeited salary after they have started work. Workers responded based on how many months of salary were forfeited, commonly known as a salary deduction. 511 workers responded to that survey. The median salary deduction was 7 months.

Let’s pause for a moment to reflect on this. In Singapore, MOM restricts the fee that an employment agency can charge to a worker to 1 month of her salary per contract year. In countries like the Philippines, it is illegal for employment agencies to charge any agency fees to workers at all. Despite this, workers have reported an inordinate amount of debt assumed from starting a job.

Here’s where the free replacement policy rears its ugly head. When an employer with such a replacement policy is dissatisfied with the worker and “returns” her to the agency, the worker’s debt is not magically forgiven. Her debt balance stays with her. She is now faced with the prospect of returning home with the debt or finding another employer in Singapore. Remember the 1 month fee per contract year that Singaporean employment agencies can legally charge? This amount is added to the worker’s debt balance when the employment agency secures the worker a new employer. On top of this, costs like room and board while the worker is sitting at the employment agency awaiting her next employer are added to the worker’s debt. She is literally compounding her debt on a daily basis. A worker in this situation is at a psychological deficit when starting her next job. In essence, the replacement or guarantee policy results in workers that will desperately agree to any opportunity that comes along, even when she is psychologically not ready for it.

At Anisya, we believe that the replacement system is broken on multiple fronts. It provides the wrong incentive to employment agencies to churn through workers and profit from their failed employment relationships. It encourages a trial and error mindset among employers on their selection of workers. It presents out of proportion penalties to workers. By allowing workers and employers to connect directly on the Anisya platform, we hope that both parties bring their business to agencies that do not promote the replacement mindset.

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