SINGAPORE - Employers will be required to give their domestic workers one compulsory day off each month that cannot be compensated with cash, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said.
The ministry on Thursday (July 22) announced new measures to strengthen support for migrant domestic workers.
New maids will also be interviewed twice in their first year of work, and undergo checks by employment agencies after their placement.
This is to ensure the maids and their employers settle into their working relationship, as well as raise and resolve issues. This will be done by the end of this year.
To facilitate the interviews, MOM will set up three neighbourhood centres in partnership with the the Centre for Domestic Employees (CDE), with the first centre targeted to open by the first quarter of next year.
Their compulsory medical examination every six months will also be enhanced to pick up signs of abuse.
Doctors will need to record the maid's body-mass index, and check for "signs of suspicious and unexplained injuries". They will need to submit these records to MOM for follow-up if deemed necessary.
The changes will be implemented from the third quarter of this year, with the compulsory rest day taking effect by the end of next year to give employers time to adjust to the changes.
MOM added: "Taking care of our migrant domestic workers will require a whole-of-society effort. We would like to encourage everyone to play a part in building a culture of respect and care for migrant domestic workers in our homes and our communities."
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.