SINGAPORE: People in Singapore who hire foreign maids will have to provide them with at least one day of rest per month that cannot be compensated, the Ministry of Labor (MOM) said on Thursday (July 22nd).
This new measure is one of several that the ministry will implement to help strengthen support for maids and their well-being, MOM said in a press release.
“Employers will have to provide their migrant domestic workers with at least one day off a month that cannot be compensated.
“This will provide more opportunities for MDWs to form an out-of-home support network, as well as to rest and recharge from work,” the ministry said.
The mandatory holiday policy will come into force in late 2022. MOM said it understands that some employers may need time to “adapt to new holiday agreements.”
READ: The Great Reading: To Stop the Abuse of Foreign Domestic Workers, Stop the Power Imbalance
READ: IN FOCUS: The Challenges of Discovering the Abuse of Foreign Domestic Workers
The new measures come after a review by MOM, which included consultations with stakeholders such as those employing maids, employment agencies, non-governmental organizations and doctors.
MOM said these measures were developed with two major goals: to help maids and employers establish a “mutually beneficial working relationship” and to detect signs of abuse “more quickly.”
“We recognize that MDWs may face problems adapting to work and life in Singapore. Similarly, employers may also have difficulty accommodating a new person in their home,” the ministry said.
It also aimed to detect signs of abuse more quickly by “improving current points of contact,” as well as helping maids build a broader support network beyond their homes.
READ: Myanmar maid’s death: MOM reviewing how doctors report possible abuse
READ: Pilot program to facilitate the safe entry of foreign maids in the middle of COVID-19
VARIOUS MEASURES THAT WILL BE PROGRESSIVELY APPLIED
Other measures, which will be implemented gradually, include improving the half-yearly medical examination for maids to better detect any signs of abuse.
Doctors will need to record the maids ’body mass index and check for signs of suspicious and unexplained injuries. They will need to send these records to MOM for follow-up, if necessary.
This process will be implemented in the third quarter of 2021.
Another measure is the implementation of post-placement controls by employment agencies. The measure, which will take place in the fourth quarter of 2021, is to ensure that maids and employers are adjusting well and providing support if necessary.
“As an intermediary that facilitates matches between migrant domestic workers and employers, employment agencies play an important role in helping both parties establish strong relationships,” MOM said.
READ: MOM may require employment agencies to register foreign domestic workers: Gan Siow Huang
READ: MOTHER can impose tougher sanctions on employers who illegally deploy foreign domestic workers
The maids will also be interviewed twice during their first year of work, compared to the current ones. This is based on an previously announced extension of these interviews to cover all maids for the first time at the end of the year.
“This will provide migrant domestic workers and their employers more opportunities to raise and resolve issues and establish their employment relationship,” the ministry said.
To facilitate these face-to-face interviews, MOM will create three neighborhood centers in collaboration with the Center for Domestic Employees. The first neighborhood center is expected to be operational in the first quarter of 2022.
The ministry said more details about its various initiatives will be shared in due course.
“Caring for migrant domestic workers will require an effort from society as a whole.
“We would like to encourage everyone to participate in building a culture of respect and care for migrant domestic workers, in our homes and in our communities,” MOM said.