Mandatory Off Day for Helpers

October 14, 2022
https://www.mom.gov.sg/newsroom/press-releases/2022/1007-mandatory-rest-days-for-mdws

All migrant domestic workers to have one rest day a month that cannot be compensated away

7 October 2022

From 1 January 2023, all employers must provide their migrant domestic workers (MDWs)1 at least one rest day a month that cannot be compensated away2.  This is part of the measures announced by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) last year to allow MDWs to rest and recharge from work, as well as form networks of support outside the household. MOM has also developed a guide to support employers and MDWs in initiating early conversations on the rest day arrangements, and to help employers plan for alternative arrangements for the household, if required.

Rest day arrangements must be mutually agreed upon

2 MDWs and employers should come to a mutual agreement on the rest day arrangements. Arrangements for the monthly rest day can be implemented flexibly to suit the needs of both employer and MDW. For example:

  1. The rest day can be taken as one full day or over two half-days. It can also be taken on any day of the week.
  2. The MDW may choose to spend her rest day at home.
  3. The rest day can be deferred by up to one calendar month. This means that, should both parties agree to defer the rest day in that month, the MDW should take her rest day by the end of the subsequent month.

3 To support MDWs and employers, MOM has developed a guide which can help employers and MDWs discuss and agree on how the mandatory rest day will be taken. The guide also includes suggested rest day activities that MDWs can consider, and alternative care options that employers may tap on for their household’s needs. We urge employers, particularly those whose households have caregiving needs, to start conversations with their MDWs early and plan for alternative arrangements if required.

4 We would also like to remind employers to update their MDW’s rest day information via the MDW eServices portal. Employers who require further information or advice on the rest day arrangement may call MOM’s hotline at 6438 5122.    

Strengthening support for MDWs and their employers

5 “Supporting the well-being of our MDWs is important as they will also be better able to support their employers. The mandatory rest day policy strengthens the ecosystem of support for MDWs and their employers. There are courses or activities organised by community partners such as Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (FAST) and Aidha,” said Minister of State for Manpower, Ms Gan Siow Huang. “We encourage employers and their MDWs to initiate early conversations on their respective needs using the rest day guide, to come to a mutual agreement on the rest day arrangements.”

6 Mr Yeo Guat Kwang, Chairman of the Centre for Domestic Employees, added: “Having adequate rest is beneficial for one’s physical and mental health. We welcome the new measure, which will enable our MDWs to rest and support their well-being, and in turn, enhance their working relationships with their employers. CDE will work with MOM to help employers and MDWs adjust to this new policy change and assist with any concerns and queries about the arrangement.”

FOOTNOTE

  1. This will be a mandatory requirement under the Employment of Foreign Manpower (Work Passes) Regulations. It will apply to all new and existing MDWs in Singapore.
  2. This is on top of the current requirements for employers to provide a weekly rest day for their MDWs with the option for compensation in lieu of a rest day, if the MDW agrees to work on her rest day. The new requirement from January 2023 is that at least one rest day a month must always be provided, and neither party can ask to drop this requirement in favour of compensation.

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