Maids will have 1 day off per week as of 1/1/13

Some of you may remember that MOM (the Ministry of Manpower) solicited opinions earlier this year as to whether maids should have a mandated day off per week rather than once per month.  I wrote this letter in support of a mandated weekly day of rest.

Today, there has been good news from the MOM, who has decided to move forward with the weekly day off.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) introduced today a mandatory rest day for foreign domestic workers.

Under this new requirement – which will apply to foreign domestic workers whose work permits are issued or renewed from Jan 1, 2013 – employers and their worker can mutually agree on which day of the week the rest day falls.

If the employer would like the worker to work on her rest day, he should come to a mutual agreement with her on the number of rest days to forgo each month.

For each rest day forgone, the worker shall be compensated with at least one day’s wage on top of her monthly salary.

Instead of monetary compensation, the employer can also choose to give his worker a replacement rest day which shall fall within the same month.

For existing foreign domestic workers, this new regulation will not apply to the remaining tenure of their work permit.



Is it a victory?  Absolutely.

Does it mean that those of us who care about FDW/Migrant workers are done and we can now move onto other causes to support?  Absolutely not.

  • There is still no minimum wage that a maid must make in Singapore (indeed, as I learned today, there is NO minimum wage in Singapore, period)
  • There is no cap on the number of hours a maid can work, nor a mandatory number of hours of rest per day–MOM gives suggestions, but there is no actual requirement.
  • An employer holds the passport and paperwork of the worker, leaving them without options should abuse occur and they want to leave
  • An employer can LEGALLY keep a worker from access to a cell phone, leaving the house, and dictate the smallest details of a worker’s lives, including how much food that person may eat in a day.

However, I do applaud MOM for listening to the voices of Singapore, and for changing the law.  It is an important step forward for Singapore.

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3 Responses to Maids will have 1 day off per week as of 1/1/13

  1. kixes says:

    I’m glad that there’s this rule now; people have been talking about how it would be enforced (employers who are abusing their FDWs might very well just ignore it), but the fact that there is this regulation from 2013 onwards means that FDWs will be able to point out clear infringements and lodge complaints.

    It feels good to be able to “win” once in awhile!

    • Crystal says:

      I am horrified, however, that the suggested compensation for working on the day off is $15 SGD. We pay our cleaner and our sitter more per hour, for comparison.

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