How Many Hours Should A Maid Work A Day? Need a little extra help around the house? Don’t worry – most people need help these days. With everything getting more expensive these days, we find ourselves working longer hours and neglecting our homes and families as a result.
Why not relieve the pressure by hiring a maid who can clean, cook, and take care of the kids. But just because you work long hours does not mean that your maid should too. In fact, there are laws protecting maids from working too many hours in a week.
To answer the question directly – 8 or 9 hours a day. This may come as a shock to many people as numerous maids in Singapore have complained about working 12-16 hours a day.
Since most maids in Singapore are foreign domestic workers, employers must provide accommodation for their maids. When you live where you work, how exactly can you monitor how many hours a day you work?
This is where many employers take advantage of their maids.
According to the International Labor Organization, workers including maids should only work a maximum of 48 hours a week. This means that they should work a maximum of 8 hours a day. However, the Ministry of Manpower makes a slightly different recommendation.
Like the ILO, the Ministry of Manpower recommends that maids work a maximum of 8 hours a day if they work 5 or more days a week. However, if they work less than 5 days a week, they can work a maximum of 9 hours a day.
In case you were wondering just how strict this rule is, there is an actual law in place to protect maids and other workers. Part IV of the Employment Act not only recommends these hours, but MOM also enforces them.
Part of the law also enforces a rest day. The maid and their employer should discuss which day of the week will be the rest day. For the maid’s protection, this rest day should be stated in the contract.
In the event that the employer requires the maid to work on their rest day, a substitute rest day should be given within the same month.
It’s nice to think that there is an actual law that covers workers in Singapore, but there is a catch. The Employment Act does not cover foreign domestic workers. Why is this an issue? The issue is the fact that most maids in Singapore are foreigners from countries like Indonesia and the Philippines.
Since the Act does not protect them, employers tend to take advantage of their foreign maids and have them work longer hours than maids from Singapore. Fortunately, there are groups out there who protect foreign workers like Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics (HOME).
Firstly, maids are there to clean your homes. They will sweep and mop the floors, dust the shelves, wash the laundry, do the dishes, and a few more things. Some even cook for the families.
However, in cases where both parents are working, the maids are also expected to take care of the children. The maid goes from a cleaner to a caretaker which isn’t really in their job description. Enforcing an 8-hour workday minimizes unnecessary work to be done.
This is also where their rest day comes into play. Maids spend their whole day on their feet doing manual labor. The rest day is meant to be a day where they can take time for themselves and recover both mentally and physically.
Enough rest means that they can continue performing their best throughout their stay.
Another reason why maids shouldn’t work more than 8 hours a day is that they are not well-compensated for it. Since most maids are provided with food and accommodation, their salary is only $550 on average.
Some countries like the Philippines require that their workers are paid a salary of $570, but other countries will work for less. By this calculation, maids are paid an average of $3 an hour. However, they will not be compensated for overtime.
The hardest part about enforcing the laws that protect maids revolves around the fact that most foreign maids don’t know about their rights. They are too desperate to earn money that they sometimes allow their employers to take advantage of them. Hopefully, Singapore will do a better job of protecting maids in the future.