Maids in Singapore must get one mandatory rest day per month from Jan 1: MOM

The rest day can be taken on any day of the week. It can be taken as one full day or over two half days. - ST

SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/Asia News Network): From Jan 1, 2023, all employers must give their domestic workers at least one rest day each month that cannot be compensated with cash, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said on Friday (Oct 7).

The rest day can be taken on any day of the week. It can be taken as one full day or over two half days.

Announced last July, this arrangement will allow domestic workers to rest and recharge from work and form networks of support outside the household.

Minister of State for Manpower Gan Siow Huang said on Friday that supporting the well-being of domestic workers is important as they will also be better able to support their employers.

She added: "We encourage employers and their domestic workers to initiate early conversations on their respective needs... to come to a mutual agreement on the rest day arrangements."

The MOM said domestic workers can choose to remain at home during their rest day and the rest day can also be deferred by up to one calendar month.

To help employers plan for alternative care options to meet their household's needs, the ministry has developed a new guidebook.

The guidebook offers those living with seniors who require some supervision tips on how to enrol them in a day care centre.

They can also engage home personal care services to assist seniors with daily activities such as dressing and toileting.

The guidebook also includes suggested rest day activities for domestic workers, such as financial literacy courses offered by non-governmental organisation Aidha.

Domestic workers can also attend mental resilience workshops organised by the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training.

The MOM reminded employers to update their domestic worker's rest day information via the Migrant Domestic Worker eServices portal.

Yeo Guat Kwang, chairman of the Centre for Domestic Employees (CDE), welcomed the announcement and said that the centre will work with MOM to assist employers and domestic workers with any concerns they have.

Amanda Lau, 42, a mother of four who has been the employer of Filipino domestic worker Ailyn Amparado since 2015, described the move as a "win-win situation".

Said Lau: "Our helpers need time and space to recharge, even if they don't mind being compensated. This a win-win situation."

The finance professional added that Amparado, 33, has two to three rest days per month during which she has a picnic with friends, attends church, or participates in singing competitions organised by the CDE.

Lau added: "On Ailyn's days off, we carry on with activities as per normal. We will eat outside and my husband and I take over the household chores such as packing the kids' toys and washing up the dishes."

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