Relevant Laws

Domestic Laws

In Hong Kong, the maximum placement fee is 10% of the first month’s salary (so a maximum fee of about U$60) with violations being punishable by a prison sentence of up to 3 years.

In the Philippines, no placement fee of any kind is allowed with a fixed prison term of 12 years for violations. Note that other fees structured to evade the placement fee law are also illegal.

In Singapore, the maximum placement fee is 1 month of a worker’s fixed-monthly salary for each year of service, capped at 2 months salary in total. It is an offence for an agency to charge fees in excess of this amount.

In Indonesia laws and regulations have varied over the years with some specified fees being allowed (albeit frequently and unlawfully exceeded). However, as of August 2023, the government has begun aggressively enforcing its “Zero-Placement, Employer Pays” policy which bans placement fees.

International Laws

Investor Country Laws

Laws Governing Federal Contractors: All US federal contractors and their subcontractors are governed by strict anti-trafficking policies which prohibit placement fees of any kind (even if legal) being charged to anyone working on the contract anywhere in the world.  

Many of the institutions targeted by this campaign are federal contractors including most research universities, the leading law and accounting firms, the private equity firms (by virtue of their wholly owned and controlled contractor subsidiaries), and US commercial banks and etc. 

Laws Governing U.S. Universities:  U.S. universities are covered both by the federal contractor regulations but also by 2 CFR Part 175 Trafficking in Persons which covers grants and cooperative agreements. 

The two policies are largely similar and require education, compliance plans and the reporting of violations.  Summaries of these regulations drafted by universities can be found here, here and here. 

Canada passed new anti forced labor legislation in 2021, the Fighting Against Forced Labour and Child Labour in Supply Chains Act to address modern slavery in supply chains. The Canadian National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking is another piece of relevant legislation.

The key legislation in the UK is the Modern Slavery Act 2015. The Act requires large organizations to publish a Modern Slavery Statement each year outlining the risks of modern slavery in their activities and global supply chains. Oxford, Liverpool, LSE, Russell Group, USS. are good examples of these statements from education related institutions, many of which assert zero tolerance for trafficking. Carlyle, Blackstone, KKR, BlackRock and Brookfield are examples from UK subsidiaries of global private equity firms. Slaughter and May, Linklaters, Clifford Chance are good examples of statements from leading law firms.

Australia has a number of State and Federal modern slavery laws and policies.  The key federal law is the Modern Slavery Act 2018 followed by the National Action Plan to Combat Modern Slavery. Other relevant pieces of legislation are The Government Procurement Act 2001, the New South Wales Modern Slavery Act and Section 11 of the Charter in Victoria, which bans placement fees and the taking of travel documents.

Domestic Workers Justice Initiative

Domestic Workers Justice Initiative: Working with institutional investors to keep their supply chains trafficking free.

© Domestic Workers Justice Initiative

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