Maids Should Be Protected Under The Employment Act

We thank Mr Leonard Poh for his feedback in “To promote domestic workers’ welfare, share anecdotes, best practices” (March 13).

Our study was conducted based on a sample of respondents stratified to reflect the major populations of migrant domestic workers here as indicated by published numbers. Statistical differences were tested using parametric and non-parametric techniques.

Statistical relationships were also examined with correlation and regression analyses. From our calculations, we concluded that 670 respondents were sufficient to achieve statistical significance in our results.

HOME acknowledges that in the 10 years we have been campaigning for migrant domestic workers, there have been improvements in their welfare and rights. Still, we have a long way to go in ensuring equal rights and adequate protections for them.

For example, our respondents worked an average of 13 hours a day, with 10 per cent found to sleep in the kitchen, living room or bomb shelter. More than half did not even have a copy of their contracts on them.

Positive mental health can happen only when employers respect their employees’ privacy and give them regular time off and rest days. However, domestic workers should not have to depend on the goodwill of employers to enjoy basic rights.

The Manpower Ministry should include them in the Employment Act so benefits such as sick leave, public holidays and limits on working hours are not left to employers to decide.

If employees in other occupations will not accept the denial of such rights, why should domestic workers be discriminated against in this way?


Jolovan Wham, Executive Director, Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics



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