THE STRAITS TIMES/ CHANNEL NEWS ASIA (Singapore)
SINGAPORE – "Since January, there have been nine fatalities, compared to four cases in 2011 and eight in 2012," reports the Straits Times.
Is the newspaper talking about car accidents or bird flu? No, that's the number of maids that have died from falling out of a building while they were cleaning the exterior of office or apartment windows.
Following the recent spate in accidental falls, Singapore's Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has ruled that foreign domestic workers are not allowed to clean outside windows.
According to Channel News Asia, employers failing to comply risk a fine of $3900-$7800 and six to 12 months in jail. They can also be permanently barred from employing a foreign domestic worker.
In Singapore, like in Hong Kong or Dubai, it is quite common to look up and see a silhouette dangling out of high-rise window, with a rag in hand or hanging laundry.
The maids –hailing from poorer Southeast Asian countries– are paid from $170 to $270 a month, depending on experience and nationality, and usually work seven days a week.