Alas, there is little to update this month, as we are grounded from the month of June. I imagine it’s as sad for you to read that, as it was for me to type it. Our next biggest trip with be to the USA to see friends and family. We are only there for 7 days, so apologies in advance if we don’t bump into one another, it’s going to be a busy week for us.
In the meantime, we have just been living out little lives. Wake up, go to work, come home, possibly go to the gym, catch some TV, repeat as needed. Weekends are spent lazing about the pool, catching up with friends, and just doing the same stuff you would anywhere else. Exciting huh?
The big news around the island at the moment is the numerous deaths of live in helpers. It seems they keep trying to clean the outside of the windows and in the process they are falling out and falling to their deaths. The government has recently put a stop to this, now your live in help cannot clean the windows, unless she is supervised….
Of particular notes, buried in the article is this tidbit…1 in 5 households have a live in helper… I can say, I think that’s pretty accurate. We know so many people who have live in help. In my office of 15, at least 4 people have live in help.
SINGAPORE — Singapore has tightened rules on window cleaning following the deaths of nine maids who fell from high-rise apartments this year.
Maids are no longer allowed to clean the outside of windows above ground level unless they are supervised, and window grills must be installed and locked during cleaning, the Manpower Ministry said in a statement late Monday.
The ministry said it plans to notify all households with maids of the new rules, which are effective immediately, and employers who fail to comply may be permanently banned from hiring maids.
The ministry said it also plans to introduce legislation later this year that would double the fine and maximum jail sentence for employers who fail to provide maids with a safe working environment. The new penalties would be a fine of 10,000 Singapore dollars ($7,750) and a 12-month jail term, the ministry said.
Singapore is under pressure to improve the working conditions of foreign maids, who live full-time in one in five households in the city-state of 5.2 million people. In March, the government pledged to mandate at least one day off a week for maids starting next year.
Last month, a court fined an employer SG$5,000 and barred her from hiring domestic workers in the future after a maid fell and died from her fifth-floor apartment last year while cleaning windows standing on a stool.
The ministry said seven of this year’s nine maid deaths were due to dangerous window cleaning or hanging of laundry; the other two deaths remain under investigation. More than 90 percent of Singapore residents live in high-rise apartments.
Local media Monday featured dramatic front-page photos of a 29-year-old Indonesian maid as she fell from her employer’s 12th floor apartment window Sunday. She was grabbed and rescued by neighbors one floor below.
The nine maids who fell to their deaths were from Indonesia, which supplies about half of Singapore’s 200,000 maids. The Indonesian Embassy in Singapore in recent months had called for a ban on maids cleaning the outside of windows.
The other issue regarding helpers is a paid day off. Depending on the current contract, maids are not required to have a day off! Can you imagine? Most do receive one day off a week, but some only get two days a month! Recently the government did require one day off a week, BUT if arrangements are made for no days off, then helper has to be paid for the ‘extra’ working day. It all sounds pretty rough to me, and quite a hard life to have.
Here’s a good article from CNN, and a website link on the issue: http://edition.cnn.com/2011/10/30/world/asia/little-rest-for-singapores-silent-army/index.html?iref=allsearch