Forum: No good reason to require maids every day of the week

Mr Poh Lee Heng echoed Straits Times editor-at-large Han Fook Kwang's call for a mandatory weekly day off, with no flexibility to negotiate, as one solution to maid abuse (Don't give bosses flexibility to negotiate day off, March 15). I share their sentiments wholeheartedly.

Singapore residents are privileged to have access to extremely affordable, full-time live-in help in the form of our foreign domestic workers.

Elsewhere in the world, people have to engage part-time cleaners, enrol children in full-day childcare or after-school childcare services, employ nannies, utilise hospice services or rely on family assistance.

Yet what I often hear as part of this debate is how families "must have" their domestic helper all seven days of the week.

What possible reason can there be for this? If it is about employers needing to work on a Sunday, then a day off on a Saturday or any other day in the week must be possible.

Should we not all be capable of making sacrifices just one day a week to care for our own children, elderly family members or homes, to ensure the most basic of human treatment for our domestic helpers?

Where there are people who maintain that they simply cannot operate without additional help, then perhaps the answer is that they will need to utilise part-time services to cover that one day a week. Surely, as a country, this should not be a difficult issue to overcome.

I know how I feel after spending a week working a nine-to-five job. It's time we had some empathy and thought about how our domestic helpers must feel working from early morning to late at night, some without ever having a break.

Vanessa Lim