Are the new generation of domestic helpers in Singapore more aware of their rights and needs
About one in every five Singaporean households employs a domestic helper in Singapore.
Access to foreign domestic helpers in Singapore has enabled many Singaporeans to join in the Singapore economy, while relying on migrants for their household upkeep and needs.
For the Singapore domestic helpers, these earnings from Singapore will help to improve their families' quality of life back home.
Comparing domestic helpers in Singapore between now and from 3 decades ago, they are now more educated and well informed. With the increasing level of higher education means they are more aware of their rights, and are ready to push for them. The foreign domestic helpers in Singapore also want an enriching time for themselves while working here.
The job scope of the Singapore domestic helper largely revolves around domestic chores, but it is impractical to detail every task as these vary with households.
The new generation of the Singapore domestic helpers now want better pay, a day off every week, and even free access to Wi-Fi. The demands of the foreign domestic helpers in Singapore today are a far cry from about three decades ago.
But while their needs are changing, some Singapore employers seem to be stuck in the past. This puts them in conflict with the Singapore domestic helpers asking for better employment terms and more personal freedom.
There are about 235,000 domestic helpers in Singapore now and some Singapore maid agencies say it is about time for employers here to change their mindset to grant them some request and have reasonable expectations of the work of the Singapore domestic helpers.
As a result of the expectations from the employers and of the domestic helpers in Singapore, these put them in a conflict and many Singapore domestic helpers are terminating their standard two-year contract early and changing employers.
However, a law providing rest days for maids came into effect on Jan 1 last year. All maids hired or who have their work permits renewed from that date must receive a day off each week, or receive pay in lieu.
The Singapore domestic helpers described how much they looked forward to Sundays, when they can socialise with their friends and take a breather.
They admit that when bosses are not willing to offer them rest days or pay them extra allowance in lieu of their off-day, they prefer to look for a more accommodating employer.
But beyond looking after their own interests, employers should also consider how they can make working in Singapore more enjoyable and pleasant for their Singapore domestic helpers.
A balance has to be worked out between employers' expectations and the needs of their domestic helpers in Singapore.