How to be a Good and Fair Employer

How to be a Good Fair Employer

In a new guide prepared by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), which aims to give employers all the information they need now that a policy giving maids one mandatory day off per week has kicked in. This makes being a good fair employer.

The new rules apply to foreign domestic workers who have work permits issued or renewed from the start of this year
If they are not given a weekly day off, they must be given a day’s wages in lieu. Employers can ask their domestic helpers to perform light tasks on their free days, which should consist of at least eight hours of rest.

The English version of the booklet will be mailed to employers in the next few weeks. Apart from tips on where to turn to for help when maids take their days off, there will also be information on training courses for domestic workers and general dos and don’ts that employers should be aware of. The guide, available in Mandarin, Malay and Tamil from the MOM website, includes a sample agreement for employers to record information such as when the maid can take her day off and how much she will be paid if she works instead.
MOM also e-mailed agents the sample agreement last month, which many of them have already been using in discussions on rest days with employers and maids.
Agents have also been gearing up for the day-off rule by encouraging employers who have hired maids in the past two months to give them rest days even though the new rules do not affect them.

This is to prevent domestic workers who arrived shortly before the new rule kicked in from feeling short-changed, they said.

The Straits Times reported recently that most employers still prefer not to give maids any days off because of a lack of trust.
Employers who want their domestic helpers to work on the four rest days they get each month will fork out about $70 to $80 on top of their basic pay of about $450. That works out to between $17 and $20 for each day off. But agents said they are hopeful that mindsets will change soon.

Association of Employment Agencies (Singapore) president K.Jayaprema said: “Employers need to realise that giving a day off is part of offering good employment terms so that we will be able to compete with other countries to attract quality domestic workers.”

Employers who sign up their maids for courses on their days off said doing so makes them feel more relaxed about giving them rest days. Mr Ang Keen Guan, 46, who will be hiring a new maid in two weeks and plans to give her two rest days a month, said: “I will feel more assured that she is not mixing with bad company if she attends courses. I will consider paying for the courses too.”

Employers who give their maids a day off every week said there are benefits. Mr Say Tien Fatt, a 36-year-old assistant general manager of an engineering company, said: “I find that my maid is refreshed after her rest day. If she doesn’t want to take the day off and would rather work, she gets paid more. So she is happier too.”
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