Foreign domestic workers (FDWs) just like any other employee in Singapore have rights as mandated by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). And one of these rights is the right to have a day-off or rest day.
If you’re planning to work as a domestic helper here in Singapore, you need to know the benefits of having a rest day and how many rest days you are entitled to have. By knowing these things, you’ll be well-informed and can better plan your goals once you start working in Singapore. To help you learn more about rest days or days off here in Singapore, continue reading below.
Disclaimer: The information published is based on the experience shared by the vlogger/YouTuber. The information provided may change without prior notice and may differ in actual scenarios. Let this article serve as a guide only.
Here is the video guide shared by a Filipina domestic helper in Singapore, Yaya Jhin on YouTube. If you find her tips helpful, you may check out her channel to catch more interesting content about her work and life as an OFW in Singapore.
Working in Singapore: Rest Day Policies, Regulations, and Tips
The first thing you need to know about rest days for foreign domestic workers (FDWs) or domestic helpers here in Singapore is that the law mandates it for you to decide and enjoy this benefit as part of your employment in the country.
According to the Ministry of Manpower, foreign domestic workers are entitled to have a rest day to ensure that they get enough mental and physical rest from work.
A foreign domestic worker is entitled to a weekly rest day if her work permit was issued or renewed after January 2013.
This means that as a domestic worker, you can decide if you want to have a weekly rest day or at least two rest days in a month. Your employer will discuss this with you during the interview before they provide you your contract.
Pro Tip: Consider getting at least two days off in a month. According to Yaya Jhin, it’s faster to save up money if you only get one day off but you miss out on other opportunities like taking up classes during your free time or visiting new places in the country. Of course, this will all depend on your goals for working in Singapore, so give it some careful thought. Do you want to study while working in Singapore? Do you want to experience new places and meet new people while working there? Or do you just want to save as much money as you can once you start working there? These questions should help you decide the number of days you want to get for your rest days.
Important: You should have decided on this even before your interview when your employer will ask you questions concerning your contract. Remember, everything you agree upon during the interview will be finalized in the contract. This means that once you sign the contract, you can’t back out from it or make adjustments to it.
Set Things Straight During the Interview and Finalize it in the Contract
In one of our previous posts, we’ve mentioned that before you decide to work abroad as a domestic helper, you need to have set clear goals for yourself. Having a goal will help you plan how to go about your work and make decisions for things such as the number of days off you want to have along with other things to be written on your contract such as your basic pay, the rate per day off, and whether you will have your own room in your employer’s residence.
And in case your employer requests you to work during your days off, you are entitled to have either:
– an additional one day’s salary (rate to be discussed) on top of your basic salary, or
– a replacement rest day within the same month.
According to Jhin, you shouldn’t just agree with everything that your employer tells you. For things such as days off and other decisions you may have while working in Singapore (i.e. studying), it’s best to be transparent about them and discuss [your goals] with your employer the options or the best scenario that you can both agree on so when you sign the contract, you won’t feel that you made a mistake and regret later on.
She also shared that not all foreign domestic workers were able to have any days off in their contracts. This happens when applicants are in a rush to accept any offer for work in Singapore without having ample time to decide on the things we’ve mentioned above. Despite this, they still get paid for all the days they work including those rest days that they didn’t get to have.
The labor law in Singapore clearly states that domestic helpers have the right to have a day off. However, it’s still up to you if you want to have a day off while working in Singapore. In the case of Yaya Jhin, she agreed to have only one day off every month. And because of that, she couldn’t pursue other things that she’s also interested in such as studying or visiting new places with her friends in Singapore.
This will all boil down to what you wish to achieve when working in Singapore. Do you want to increase your savings? Learn a new skill? Or experience what Singapore has to offer even as you work there? The first thing you need to do is to set your priorities straight and to know your goals. By doing so, you can make better choices and have a more meaningful experience working as a domestic helper in Singapore.
Do not just simply agree to what your employer would recommend, especially when deciding the terms of your contract. Remember, you have trained and have sacrificed a lot to get to where you are, so you deserve to have a say on important things such as in some parts of the contract, especially regarding your days off.
How many days off do you wish to have when working in Singapore? What made you come up with this decision? Are there any other considerations that you would like to add to the ones shared by Yaya Jhin when deciding on the number of days off to have? Do let us know by leaving a comment in the section below!