All employers will soon have to give their maids one day off every week, under a new law that the Government plans to introduce from 2013. The legislated rest day, said Minister of State for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin in Parliament on Monday, will apply to maids whose work permits are issued or renewed from Jan 1 2013.
New employers who hire a maid for the first time from Jan 1 2013, will also be subject to the new rules. For existing maids, the new regulation will not apply for the remainder of their work permit. Mr Tan added it will give maids a 'much needed emotional and mental break from work and time apart from their employers'.
Activists have long pushed for the mandatory day off, but many employers worry about the impact on their care arrangements at home. Mr Tan said there will be flexibility in the new rule, if both parties agree on arrangements.
For example, employers can pay their maids to work on their day off, or decide on what day of the week the maid will take the day off. Employers who have frail elderly family members can also tap on a new $120 grant to cover the compensation for getting their maids to work on their day off. This grant is over and above the existing $95 monthly levy concession enjoyed by all households with elderly members above 65, young children under 12 years or disabled members.