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5/28/2008

No legislation on rest days for maids

The onus or privilege is left to the employers to look after the maids well. The fact is that many employers have not been treating the maids well. Why are we not legislating at least one day a week as rest days for maids? It is only decent and human to allow the maids a day off a week like all workers. If as a country we are unable and did not want to do it, we can expect employers to think that it is alright to do so. Individually some employers may not want to do it. As a country, as a people, it is important that we get this message across that maids are human beans and need a rest day. Maids are not indispensable for 365 days a year. There are just like tools of convenience for those who can afford them. But they are not mechanical. It is unbelieveable to accept the notion that our families cannot live without a maid for one day in a week. And if they really need a maid everyday, pay for it. It is definitely a luxury. Maid is a new development and a new help for families. We, as a people, fails miserably in this area. This is not even about being graceful, it is about being disgraceful. We don't expect ourselves to work everyday of the week but we expect another human bean to do so for our comfort. What are we becoming when we get richer?

6 comments:

Matilah_Singapura said...

The govt should not be interfering in the labour market dictating who should have a day off or holidays or whatnot.

That is an area of contract between employer and employee.

The decision not to interfere is in keeping with healthy free market principles.

Good job.

redbean said...

do you know that singapore has something called, 'Employment Act?' if we see it necessary to legislate to protect our workers, why not legislate to protect the maids?

Matilah_Singapura said...

The employment act doesn't protect workers per se. It makes sure that the workers are "legal" and that tht govt gets its tax and cpf revenue.

If you want legislation, please don't ask me. I defend the free market, and write for pure fun. You want a law paased? See your MP.

redbean said...

obviously you have no clues about the existence of the Employment Act and what is in it.

Anonymous said...

Off topic but witnessing the repartee brought this to mind.

Sad to say people who live in glass towers see no evil, hear no evil and say no evil. They have not come down to earth to witness the abject lives of many Singaporeans and even foreign workers eking a living, struggling to make ends meet. If this is survival of the fittest in a concrete jungle, then Singapore neatly fits the bill.

Being one of the elite and living in their comfort zone, they deign refuse to accept that their fellow human beings are in utter despair and have lost all hope in being able to get back to what they once had and lost. All that they have worked for since they began working, are of little worth to continue living comfortably after retiring. Maids are no different, they came here to work honestly and be paid for their services. They did not come here to be slaves to Singaporeans. Coming out of their country to work is usually their last resort. Singapore is a country lacking in compassion.

Matilah_Singapura said...

I completely agree with anon.

When I did the "big move" way back in 2000/2001 from Per-Sin, I got together with some like-minded folks and formed a "commune" in one of the old colonial black and whites -- in those days very cheap. 7 people living in the house, 2 maids. The maids were paid $1k+ each (plus cpf), and were given a day off each (but not together) -- one had Sunday, the other Monday. They ate the same food we did, and one of the "ground rules" was that they were to be treated with respect.

Result? One of the best run households ever. House was always clean. Maids were happy.

When they put up the rent, we finished the lease and went our seperate ways. I kept one of the maids on part-time basis, and paid her $20 an hour to do my apartment. My friends "cursed" me for "spoiling the market", comments which I promptly ignored.

If you pay the right people properly, you get better service. Sometimes you get loyalty too.

"Compassion" has nothing to do with it. I don't consider myself "compassionate" as it conflicts with my hard-core capitalist streak. But I do believe in making "good trades", because that is the surest way to a (relatively) trouble and worry-free life.