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Rest day management for domestic helpers (maids) in 2024

Updated: May 3

If your family hires a domestic helper (maid) in Malaysia, it's important to take note of rest day requirements. For Filipino helpers, rest days have been compulsory and mandated by their standard form contract for many years. For Indonesian workers, rest day entitlements are still new (since 2022).

Why are rest days important?

Rest days are essential for domestic helpers (maids) to get some much needed continuous rest. During their working days, domestic helpers do not have fixed working hours. Instead, domestic helpers are accustomed to work in accordance with your household schedule. This can lead to a different kind of burn out, where workers are constantly "on call" for up to 14 or 16 hours a day. A full weekly rest day will provide the domestic helper some time to rest up and recuperate from the lengthy work days.

For Filipino helpers, weekly rest days are when they have the opportunity to meet their community, go to church, or run personal errands. For many Indonesian helpers, taking rest days does not come as naturally yet, but there are many benefits to encourage your helper to take it. Some helpers prefer to work on their rest days. The employment contract does has overtime pay provisions to properly compensate your helper for working on her rest day.

What is a rest day?

A rest day is when a domestic helper is provided uninterrupted rest for the full day or affording personal time for the helper to do personal things like meet with friends or run personal errands. While outings like trips to the mall or family holidays may be enjoyable for the employer and their family, they still involve the domestic worker performing duties and being on call. Therefore, it's important not to replace your helper's rest days with family outings or holidays.

Annual leave management for foreign domestic helpers

Hiring a foreign worker is vastly different from hiring a local worker. If you go on a holiday, you could request your local workers to go on holiday at the same time by utilising their annual leave. However, foreign domestic helpers do not take their annual leave until the end of their two year contract when they take a longer break to go home to see their family. Therefore, if your family goes on holiday, the domestic helper will stay and continue carrying out her responsibilities. As a result, the days your family is away cannot be substituted for rest day or annual leave entitlements. "Give and take" in employment relationships

It can be difficult to draw clear demarcations with your domestic helper especially because many families in Malaysia consider domestic helpers as part of the family unit. However, as employers, it's important to maintain this separation. Frequent communication is helpful to manage expectations. Some domestic helpers may see a family holiday or outing as a fun and enjoyable opportunity too. But this does not apply to all domestic helpers. If your domestic helper chooses to stay home on their rest day, to catch up with family, or meet their own friends - they should be granted that liberty as part of their rest day entitlement.

Our website and its contents are provided for general information purposes only and nothing on this website or in its contents is intended to provide professional advice. Please contact us at or +6082-295175 for more information.

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