New MOM Guidelines Tell Employers How To Support Low-Wage Workers

We often see low-wage workers like cleaners and security officers wandering about during their breaks, looking for somewhere to rest.

Without a proper work station and facilities like pantries that many of us have, they can find little relief.

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To alleviate this problem, Ministry of Manpower (MOM), National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), and Singapore National Employers Federation introduced guidelines for the provision of proper rest areas, according to a press release yesterday (9 Dec).

Workplaces lack proper rest areas

Minister of State for Manpower Mr Zaqy Mohamad and NTUC’s assistant secretary-general Mr Zainal Sapari visited several work sites throughout the year to inspect their rest areas and concluded that there’s a lot of room for improvement.

A report by TODAY Online quoted Mr Zaqy who said that,

Given the maturity of our economy and society, we can do more for the WELL-BEING of our outsourced workers and…encourage companies to treat outsourced workers’ WELL-BEING as though they are extended family.

A common problem they observed is that the rest areas are often too small and lack security features.

Rest areas at many condominiums for instance are in bin centres or sprinkler pumps, which are far from spacious.

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In contrast, companies like Changi Airport Group (CAG), JTC Corporation and Suntec reportedly offer better areas with proper ventilation.

How to improve rest areas for low-wage workers

Generally, the basic guidelines that employers should adhere to are as follows:

  • Rest area should be accessible
  • Area should be private (i.e. out of public view)
  • Provide lockers for workers to keep belongings
  • Ensure sufficient ventilation

The above points are especially important as many low-wage workers are elderly and would need a comfortable rest area.

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While spatial constraints may be an issue, Mr Zaqy proposed the bare minimum of “a safekeeping area, seats and access to drinking water”.

For future infrastructure, property owners should take these factors into account while designing or renovating buildings.

Hopefully with greater consideration for the welfare of low-wage workers, we’ll be able to provide more conducive work environments for them. It’s the least we can do to thank them for their contributions.

Featured image adapted from Ministry of Manpower via LabourBeat.