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Rest days and well-being for foreign domestic worker

As an employer, you are responsible for the health and well-being of your foreign domestic worker (FDW). You should provide for rest days, proper accommodation, adequate medical care and safe work conditions.

Rest days

To ensure that your foreign domestic worker gets enough mental and physical rest, you should allow her to have a regular rest day.

Your FDW is entitled to a weekly rest day if her Work Permit was issued or renewed after 1 January 2013.

You and your FDW should mutually agree on which day of the week she should take the rest day. To avoid disputes, both of you could have this agreement in writing.

If your FDW agrees to work on her rest day, you should compensate her with one of the following:

  • At least 1 day’s salary.
  • A replacement rest day taken within the same month.

To find out more on the rest day requirement, see these resources:

You can contact us at mom_fmmd@mom.gov.sg if you have questions about the weekly rest day.

Initial difficulties

A new FDW from a rural area may encounter some of these difficulties:

  • Understanding and communicating in your language.
  • Using modern household appliances.
  • Adjusting to living in high-rise buildings.
  • Having different practices in taking care of children.

She will need time to familiarise herself with your way of life. You can help by taking time to orientate and train her, especially in the early stages of her employment.

Accommodation

You need to ensure that your FDW's accommodation meets the following requirements:

  • Adequate shelter: the accommodation must adequately protect your FDW from environmental elements such as sun, rain or strong winds.
  • Basic amenities: you must minimally provide your FDW with a mattress, pillow, blanket and bathroom amenities.
  • Sufficient ventilation: your FDW’s accommodation must be sufficiently ventilated. Mechanical ventilation (e.g. electrical fan) should be provided if natural ventilation is inadequate.
  • Safety: your FDW should not sleep near any dangerous equipment or structure that could potentially cause harm or hurt to her.
  • Modesty: your FDW must not sleep in the same room as a male adult or teenager.
  • Space and privacy: you should provide your FDW with a separate room. If that is not possible, you should ensure that her accommodation has adequate space and privacy.

Adequate food

You must provide your FDW with 3 meals a day. Your FDW requires sufficient food to perform household chores.

An example of a day’s food intake for a female engaged in moderate activity is as follows:

  • Breakfast: 4 slices of bread with spread.
  • Lunch: 1 bowl of rice + three-quarter cup of cooked vegetables + palm-sized amount of meat (fish/poultry/beef/lamb) + fruit
  • Dinner: 1 bowl of rice + three-quarter cup of cooked vegetables + palm-sized amount of meat (fish/poultry/beef/lamb) + fruit

Be sensitive to your FDW’s needs when it comes to food. Do not force your FDW to eat food that she is not supposed to or is not comfortable with. For example, your FDW may not be able to eat certain food due to her religious beliefs, or she may not be accustomed to your family’s dietary requirements (e.g. vegetarian food or porridge).

Medical care

As an employer, you are responsible for your FDW’s medical needs.

You need to bear the full cost of any medical care, including hospitalisation, and provide her with medical and personal accident insurance.

Open communication

You FDW may experience homesickness and loneliness. You can help her cope with those feelings by teaching her how she could contact her family and how she could send letters home.

Family integration

You should try your best to integrate your FDW into your family. You can do that by being patient and tolerant and making an effort to understand her background.

Safe work conditions

You must ensure that the FDW works safely. She will have to follow the approved work practices stipulated in MOM’s training materials and courses (e.g. the Employers’ Orientation Programme).