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