TUCP hits Singapore’s no day off policy

Published by rudy Date posted on July 25, 2006

The country’s largest labor union protested yesterday a new government policy in Singapore depriving more than 82,000 foreign maids, among them Filipinas, of a weekly day off.

“We find it’s absolutely deplorable that a highly evolved state like Singapore would deny foreign maids such a reasonable and simple concession as a weekly day of rest,” said former senator Ernesto Herrera, secretary-general of the moderate Trade Union Congress of the Philippines.

“We recognize that a growing number of Singaporean households, particularly those with seniors and children, have become totally dependent on their foreign maids. However, depriving maids of a weekly day off is just too much,” he said.

Starting Sept. 15, Singapore will implement a new policy giving employers the option to grant their maids a monthly day off, or pay them extra.

However, Herrera said the once-a-month rest day would be “strictly voluntary” on the part of the employer as it does not have the force of law.

He urged the Singapore manpower ministry to reconsider the new policy and make mandatory the weekly day off for foreign maids.

The Human Rights Watch said: “Domestic helpers need regular days off to rest, to escape the isolation at work, and sometimes to report abuse.”

Of the more than 150,000 foreign maids in Singapore, more than half or 81,950 are Filipinas, while the rest are Indonesians and Sri Lankans.

Filipino workers in Singapore remitted a total of $240.15 million to the Philippines last year. — Mayen Jaymalin, Philippine Star

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