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Monthly rest day for MDWs important for their well-being

  • Lianhe Zaobao (10 Oct 2022): "Off days for MDWs should not be made mandatory"
  • Lianhe Zaobao (11 Oct 2022): "Room for discussion on mandatory rest days for MDWs"

We thank the various writers for their feedback on the mandatory monthly rest day for migrant domestic workers (MDWs).

MDWs play critical roles in helping households with domestic or caregiving needs. To support their well-being, MDWs are entitled to one rest day per week, but can have an agreement with their employer to be compensated if the rest day is not taken. From 1 Jan 2023, MDWs must have at least one rest day each month that is not compensated away. This allows MDWs to rest and recharge from work, and form networks of support outside the household.

We have considered the impact on families when setting out this new requirement. As households have diverse needs, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) allows the rest day to be taken flexibly, as long as there is mutual agreement between the MDW and her employer. For example, it can be taken as one full day, or over two-half days, on any day of the week. MDWs can also choose to rest at home if they do not wish to go out on their rest days. We hope that employers and MDWs start early conversations on their respective needs and reach a mutual agreement on the rest day arrangement.

MOM recognizes that some households, especially those with elderly members who require constant care, may find it challenging to manage without their MDWs during their rest day. Households can contact the Agency for Integrated Care to explore alternative care arrangements in the community. At the same time, MOM will exercise flexibility by giving more time to employers with extenuating circumstances to meet the requirement.

To enable MDWs to spend their rest days meaningfully, MOM works with Non-Governmental Organisations and community partners on a variety of recreational programmes and activities. MOM will take firm action against MDWs who engage in illegal activities such as moonlighting.

Doris Kuek
Director, Foreign Manpower Management Policy
Workplace Policy & Strategy Division
Ministry of Manpower