Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Migrant Worker, Not a slave (Singapore)

Singapore’s Manpower Ministry recently announced that the country’s domestic workers – women who work as live-in nannies or housekeepers – will be granted one day of rest each week.

Singapore’s families employ about 206,000 domestic workers, primarily from Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and India. Before this change, employers were only required to grant their domestic workers one day off per month. This weekly day free from work is critical for domestic workers’ physical and mental well-being.

But we want Singapore’s laws protecting domestic workers to be even stronger. This reform, for example, only pertains to contracts that go into effect beginning in January, 2013 and does not address other key labor rights, such as limits to working hours. We’re calling for the government to apply this change to all domestic workers, no matter when they started their job, and to allow domestic workers to benefit from basic rights under the labor law, giving them the same protection other workers already have.