KUALA LUMPUR, 16 June 2009: The government today agreed to make it compulsory for employers to give one day off a week for their domestic helpers.
Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S Subramaniam said the provision would be incorporated into the contract of employment to be signed by employers, the domestic helpers and the agencies responsible for bringing them into the country.
He said the regulation could be implemented as early as this year.
“The ministry will make it mandatory for all domestic helpers to sign the contract of employment containing provisions like salary, the name of employers, their workplaces and the compulsory one day off a week,” he told reporters after meeting unions and non-governmental organisations on the issue of foreign workers here today.
Subramaniam said it would be up to the employers to determine which day would be the domestic helper’s off day.
If both the employers and workers agreed that there would not be an off day for a particular week, the domestic helpers would be paid in lieu of the off day, he said.
Towards this end, he said the ministry would amend the Employment Act to incorporate the new provision.
“The Employment Act currently covers all other sectors except for maids. We are now in the process of formulating the regulation, after which we will forward it to the Attorney-General’s Chambers for approval. We may be able to implement it this year,” he said.
Subramaniam also said that employers of foreign domestic helpers would be required to register with the Labour Department as part of the measures to prevent incidents such as abuse.
“We will also provide a guide book to foreign maids, containing telephone numbers of embassies and relevant agencies for them to contact should they need to do so,” he added.
Employers who failed to abide by the terms in the contract of employment could be fined up to RM10,000, he said. — Bernama