Has it been mandatory for the employers of Singapore to need a law to give their employee a day off or to compensate in lieu of it? This has been one of those questions that had been raised with the recent headline of a possible legislation to be passed. No, we are not talking about you and me, the happy employee of Singapore which during bad time, will gladly bite the bullet when time is bad in the form of pay cut and CPF reduction while patient enough to see wage rise and bonus as a possibility just because that times might have been good, but they are not good enough.
No, I am talking about day off for maids. The staunch defender of household cleanliness, the nanny of the next generation of young Singaporean, the all-in-one wonders that do your groceries, cooking, laundries and even dishes. And yes, they do windows too…..
For those who slog so hard to make the household livable (trust me, I have no maid and I am the constant receipiant of the pig sty award from my mother) And for some, even going oversea might have been a problem as the maid is suppose to pack her passport for her.
I would think that the next generation of our NS boys would have a hard time unless they are allowed to bring their maid along with them.
But yet, if you just pick up the evening tabloid frequent enough, you would see that the pages have dedicated quite a splattering of space for the maids. In fact, if not for the media frenzy and all the maid related story, our tabloid might just run weekly or become yet another morning news with all the somber news of the day. (Yes, I read that trash and then some, if you have a problem, dial 1800-3825633)
If it is not another case of maids getting pregnant thanks to the friends that they have, it would be how they managed to slice and dice and even burn their employer up, or maids running away or worst, sleeping with their employers, torturing the kids and yes, employers tormenting their maids.
Which if we were to read too much into it, it seems like maids are trouble and the employers are the demon that torments, which made me checked my location if I am in Singapore or if I had sunk to hell without knowing.
Now, we all know that it is the exception that gets into the news; the old adage that dog bite man is not news but man bite dog is applies here. In general the maids are here to make an honest day living just to send off the meager earnings back home while the employers here are just looking for cheap but reliable help to make sure that their house is not in shamble.
Giving someone a day off meaning a day that you do not get to control and that they might be given in to bad influences. If that is the case, I do suggest that the proponent of that point stays home and keep a tap on their maid 24X7. If your maid goes to the market, supermarket and fetch your kids to school and then back, they are exposed to all the other maids, good or bad, given a chance to mingle with the opposing sex which might end up becoming their boyfriends and probably even fuck buddies which might fathered their children.
Or maybe what the employers really feared is that if they were to run lose on their off day, when they actually couldn’t care less what kind of company their maids keep or who they sleep with as long as it is done outside the house and not with the sir of the house.
They are a pragmatic lot, they are worried that their $5000 deposit being forfeited. Believe you me that if they happen to see their maid dead, the only concerns is if they would need to pay for the funeral arrangement and would the 5k be forfeited.
This is nothing new and in fact, being dug out again with the recent legislation of foreign workers, which requires their employer to buy medical insurance for them in the even that they felt ill. The whole idea is to have the amount of this deposit reduced or to be converted to a compulsory insurance premium that could cover in the event when either party defaulted 1 way or another. That however, takes the money away from our coffer and I would be pleasantly surprised if it is not thrown out of the window of MOM together with the person with the audacity to even suggest such idea.
Anyway, I guess it is only fair that if we ourselves are not expected to work 7 days a week and are renumerated when we do, shouldn’t those that work for us be accorded the same treatment?
I guess this is something that the conscience of the employers should answer. If the conscience of theirs worth more than just $5000.