Days off: Employers and maids can work things out

Days off: Employers and maids can work things out

There has been debate over whether maids should be given a weekly day off, even though this is required under the law ("No day off? No way!"; Feb 27).

Employers who work six days a week, in particular, are more likely to offer their maids pay in lieu of a day off, than do without domestic help on a Sunday.

Both employers and maids need some form of work-life balance; it is no wonder some maids end their contracts early because they cannot get a day off.

In some cases, maids are asking for Sundays off to meet their friends. But such a request must be difficult for employers who need to socialise, shop or attend functions on Sundays too.

It may be time to tweak the policy, to restrict maids from getting more than two Sundays off a month, so employers can get a break.

The maids can rest on another day of the week, or receive pay in lieu of days off.

And to discourage them from ending their contracts early, it may be good to introduce incentives such as a lump sum payout when they complete their contracts.

Maids who end their contracts prematurely, however, should not be penalised as this is an avenue to protect them from abusive employers. It may also protect employers from being falsely accused of abuse by maids, who have used this reason to end their contracts early.

In any case, it is pointless to keep a maid whose heart is no longer with the family she serves. In such a situation, the family may suffer more by retaining the maid.

Chee Chi Weng

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