SINGAPORE should consider legislation that makes employers give their domestic helpers a rest day every week, said Madam Halimah Yacob, the Minister of State for Community Development, Youth and Sports.

Speaking on the sidelines of a community sports festival at Singapore Polytechnic, she said that giving maids a day off might help to minimise some issues such as stress and overwork that domestic workers are facing now.

Just like other workers who enjoy a rest day, domestic workers, too, need to rest and should not be made to work excessive hours that could affect their health and well-being, she added.

She was commenting on the new International Labour Organisation convention that was approved last week in Geneva to grant domestic workers greater protection from exploitation.

Singapore was among 63 voters which abstained from voting on the convention, and the Ministry of Manpower has said it would sign the treaty only when it was sure it could implement it here, and that it would continue to review the rights and responsibilities of employers and workers.

Saying that Singapore takes its international obligations seriously, Madam Halimah expressed hope that Singapore would ‘take stock of its laws and policies and progressively make changes’ to be in line with the convention.–Kimberly Spykerman, Strait Times