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Domestic Workers (Wages

Maintenance and Well-being
• You must bear the costs of your FDW’s upkeep and maintenance such as food, lodging and medical
expenses. Such costs should not be deducted from her salary
Mandatory Weekly Rest Day with effect from 1 Jan 2013
• All FDWs whose Work Permits are issued on or after 1 January 2013 will be entitled to a weekly
rest day. However, the employers can compensate the FDW by paying at least one day’s salary if she
agrees to work on her rest day. One day's wage is calculated by dividing the monthly wage by 26
working days. The employer must obtain the FDW’s agreement and document the rest day
arrangements in writing, so as to avoid misunderstandings and disputes. It is in the interest of both
parties to clearly document the mutually agreed rest day arrangements. • Instead of compensating for
a rest day forgone, employers can also give your FDW a replacement rest day within the same month.
Your FDW should be able to choose how she would like to spend her rest day, so that she could have
a proper emotional and physical break from work. You can encourage your FDW to take part in
constructive and meaningful activities such as educational courses and skills training, to help her
spend her time more productively. There are non-governmental organisations that offer skills training
programmes and organise recreational activities for FDWs on their rest days. You can find out more
about these programmes on Page 31 and encourage your FDWs to participate.
John Gee, an activist and past president of advocacy group Transient Workers Count Too was one of
the people behind a decade-long campaign lobbying the Singapore government to give domestic
helpers a mandatory day off a week. He thinks the ruling is long overdue but estimates that in spite of
it, as many as 50% of Singapore's domestic helpers still do not get a weekly day off.
"Saying that there has to be a regular day off for domestic workers doesn't necessarily mean they get
it. The problem is there are two get-out clauses if you're an employer who doesn't want to give a day
off," he said.
"The first is that if you're a domestic worker who signed a contract before 2013, when the law came
into effect, you still have to serve out your two-year contract before you can have a day off. Then
there's a clause that says a worker and employer can agree that they'll be paid to work the day off.
Many employers are prepared to offer extra money but they aren't prepared to give workers a day off.
"As with any policy, we have had to give time for the various parties to adjust. The rest day
requirement was designed to be phased in over two years, and will cover all employment relationships
from 1 January 2015. The agreement to opt for compensation in-lieu should be based on mutual
consent, as with any contractual agreement. It should not be concluded under duress."
The ministry will impose stiff penalties of up to S$10,000 for employers who force their domestic
helpers to go without a rest day or fail to compensate them for working on a rest day. Such employers
could also face a jail term of up to 12 months.
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 Straits Times reported recently that most employers still prefer not to give maids any days off
because of a lack of trust.

She must be sent to her town or place of origin within her home country. lodging. • Employer cannot penalise FDW by making deductions from her salary to offset the costs of her food. • You must bear the full cost of repatriation.000. minimum wages. • The FDW must be paid her salary promptly and regularly. medical expenses or repatriation. an employer who failed to pay her FDW for almost two years was fined $3. as domestic workers' work/free time are difficult to define and regulate in the same way as employees working in offices or factories" http://www. • FDW should be paid in full. • Give her the option of having her salary transferred directly into her bank All outstanding salaries or monies due must be paid to your FDW before she is sent home. She was also ordered by the court to pay her FDW the outstanding salary owed to her. For example. which amounted to $3.  Domestic workers are not covered under Employment Act. • You should not withhold the salaries of your FDW on the pretext of safekeeping her salary or delaying payment for extended periods. which includes hours of work. She must be paid no later than 7 days after the last day of her salary period. cancelled or if you no longer require her services. be sensitive and respect her request. FACT FILE In October 2004.Paying Your FDW’s Salary • The salary period agreed between employer and FDW must not exceed one month. • Give your FDW due notice if you are cancelling her Work Permit. employer should not withhold her salary or ask her to put up a bond to guarantee her return from home . among others  Singapore's Ministry of Manpower states on its website that "it is not practical to regulate specific aspects of domestic work"  It says "it would be hard to compute overtime safety guidelines and Sending Your FDW Home • You are responsible for sending your FDW home when her Work Permit is revoked. and maternity protection.pdf http://www. Domestic workers in Singapore  No minimum wage ( advice from employment agencies suggest domestic helpers are on average paid between S$400 to S$600 a month. excluding a levy of S$265 that is paid to the government)  Singapore abstained from International Labour Organization vote on convention concerning decent work for domestic workers in 2011 which includes rules on working hours. rest If your FDW requests for her employment to be terminated. • Employer must keep a record of all salary payments.

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