Singapore to require one day off a week for maids

By the Associated Press | March 6, 2012 | 2:15 AM EST

SINGAPORE (AP) — Domestic workers in Singapore will soon get something that people around the world take for granted: a day off.

Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin said in Parliament late Monday that starting January 2013, domestic workers must receive one day off a week or additional compensation to work that day. The change must be approved by Parliament, but since the government holds the vast majority of seats it is expected to pass.

Worker and human-rights groups praised the change in statements Tuesday, saying it will bring Singapore closer to international labor norms. But they say employers should not be allowed to buy a worker's day off.

Singapore's 206,000 domestic workers come mostly from Indonesia and the Philippines.