The Straits Times
Published on Dec 06, 2012

Disheartening resistance to giving maids day off


THE article reporting the reluctance among employers to give their maids a day off when the new policy on a compulsory day off a week takes effect next year makes for disheartening reading ("Some new maids won't get day off next year"; Tuesday).

Some 70 per cent of employers had indicated that they would not grant their maid a rest day, choosing to pay them an additional day's pay instead. Others cited mistrust and fear that they will mix with bad company and lose interest in their work. One employment agency mentioned that it would take years before Singaporean employers accept the policy of giving their maids a rest day.

It is puzzling that there is such strong resistance to the policy of granting maids a rest day. We have a long way to go to becoming a gracious and compassionate society. Treat a fellow human being with respect and dignity, and she will reciprocate. A happy maid will repay the kindness of her employer by doing her duties with diligence.

Maids who wish to work in Singapore should indicate to the agency if they would like their weekly day off or be paid in lieu from the onset. Employers can pick a maid based on her choice.

This would prevent a maid from being coerced to sign and agree to give up her day off, which she might later regret.

Bennie Cheok