Employers asked to remove CCTVs from maids' rooms

Two employers have been asked to remove closed-circuit television systems (CCTVs) from their domestic helpers' rooms.

A maid had posted a comment on the Ministry of Manpower's (MOM) Facebook page asking whether it was right for her employers to install a CCTV camera in her room.

This prompted a reply from another maid who said she faced a similar situation at her employer's home.

The ministry told The Straits Times that it had contacted both maids and their employers, who agreed to remove the cameras from the bedrooms. It also urged employers to respect their maids' privacy.

Lawyers said employers can install cameras in bedrooms and toilets because of the lack of privacy laws in Singapore.

However, maids can argue that there was intention to insult their modesty as these are private areas where they are likely to undress, according to a lawyer interviewed by The Straits Times.

Employers may also infringe on other laws if they keep the video clips or show them to others.

The English daily also reported that although installing CCTVs is not new, there has been a spike in sales of CCTVs by vendors recently.

This could be due to the fall in prices, as well as the ease of viewing video footage while on the go.

Vendors told The Straits Times that clients use CCTVs to prevent maids from abusing family members such as babies or to ensure no strangers enter their homes.

Employers also use footage as evidence when misunderstandings occur.

There have been recent concerns over theft by maids. Two cases involved sums of $84,000 and $26,000.

Another maid was charged with stealing $400,000 in cash and jewellery from her employer earlier this month.