Domestic workers are a common sight in Singaporean households, but their hard work and care for their employers’ families often go unseen.
Not for much longer though.
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is ensuring that the well-being of domestic workers is maintained through various measures.
Mandatory Rest Day
By the end of the year, a mandatory rest day every month is to be implemented for foreign domestic workers.
On top of that, there will be a 24/7 helpline and check-in interviews for them, said Minister of State for Manpower Gan Siow Huang said on Sunday (22 May).
In July last year, MOM had said that employers would be required to give their domestic workers one compulsory day off each month that cannot be compensated away with cash, and that the new rule would kick in by the end of 2022.
The day off would allow domestic workers to form a network of support outside the household, as well as rest from work and recharge, said Ms Gan.
MOM Partnering with CDE
Additionally, MOM will work with the Centre for Domestic Employees (CDE) and other community partners to introduce more programmes and activities for domestic workers to spend their rest days meaningfully.
Aside from this, MOM has partnered CDE to check in on all newly arrived migrant domestic workers within the first few months of employment and CDE’s ambassadors have also been helping to befriend domestic workers.
CDE also has a 24/7 helpline which allows domestic workers to seek help promptly in their native languages.
Appreciation of Domestic Workers
The measures were announced at the NTUC May Day Domestic Workers Celebration 2022, which was held virtually this year.
Ms Gan thanked domestic workers for continuing to care for and support their employers’ households despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Let’s work together to build a culture of mutual respect and care for our migrant domestic workers,” she added.
Dedicated Time and Effort
Speaking at the event, NTUC Central Committee member Raymond Chin, noted that many domestic employees may not have been able to return home for the past two to three years due to the pandemic.
Mr Chin, who is also general secretary of the Union of Security Employees and co-chairs the event, said that without the sacrifice of domestic workers, many working parents in Singapore would likely have a tough time juggling work and caring for their families.
He added, “It is not an easy decision to make, for you to travel to another country to look after a stranger’s home. Most of you have dedicated much time and effort to help look after our children and care for our elderly parents.”
He then urged domestic workers and their employers to maintain good relationships before thanking the former for their hard work.
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