Three Ps to solve problem of weekend caregivers

Dear Madam/Sir,

I refer to the letter “Rest day exception for caregiver domestic workers?” (Dec 20).

All employees – domestic workers or otherwise – deserve a weekly day off (or more) to recharge and recuperate.

However, this creates a conundrum: when caregiving domestic workers are given a day off, no one else will tend to their care-receiving charges, such as wheelchair users or frail seniors.

Instead of doggedly demanding that caregiving domestic workers carry on working on their off days, let’s tackle this problem creatively.

I propose a solution with these three Ps:

  1. Part-time employment.
    A job market is created for part-time skilled caregivers who are willing and able to tend to care-receivers on weekends – so long as the remuneration is commensurate with market wages.

    So as not to penalise families with the increased financial burden, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Social and Family Development can look into increasing the size and the scope of the monthly Foreign Domestic Worker Grant to cover this additional cost.

    Alternatively, affected families can be allowed to claim a Caregivers’ Relief.

  3. Peer support.
    If there is a shortage of skilled care-givers, the Council for the Third Age can facilitate the provision of caregiver training to retirees.

    This allows actively aging seniors to be involved in taking care of their lesser-abled peers.

  5. Pop-up weekend daycare centres for care-receivers.
    Temporary centralised facilities are set up in convenient locales around Singapore on weekends.

    Economies of scale will allow, say, three part-time caregivers to tend to about eight care-receivers. This also allows families to pay a lower caregiving fee since more families share the cost of paying for caregivers’ wages.

    The facilities can be located in void decks, for example, and be removed at the end of the day so that the spaces can be utilised for other purposes on weekdays.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,
Laremy LEE (Mr)

(Published as “Three-part solution for weekend caregiver issue” on 29 Dec 2012 in TODAY.)

<ADV> (Migrant Voices) Call for Volunteers: Oral History Archive.

(via the Arts Community Yahoo! Group)

Dear friends,

Migrant Voices is building Singapore’s first oral history archive for foreign workers.

Oral history is a special type of in-depth interview. Interviewees are simply asked to tell us their ‘life story’ with minimum intervention and questioning. They need to take stock of their lives in the course of telling their stories. In this way, the individual’s perspective can be revealed holistically, and in indirect and revealing ways.

We believe that a public archive of interviews with migrant workers can benefit both workers and Singaporeans. Telling one’s own life stories to interested listeners can be a tremendously healing and empowering experience. The archive will be used to:

  • educate the public,
  • help policy researchers and activists, and
  • instigate change in the working and living conditions of the workers.

Without this “body of evidence” on the modern phenomenon of migrant labor, the voices of the very people at the heart of the process will simply vanish from public record and public memory.Would you be interested in taking part as an interpreter in these interviews, or as a translator behind the scenes? Drop me an email and I’ll send you more information.

Best wishes,

Project Co-ordinator
Migrant Voices Oral History Archive