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As part of the Workcare programme, the Ministry of Manpower in partnership with the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and the Singapore National Employers Federation released a set of guidelines for employers in establishing rest areas for low-wage workers.

The guideline is titled the Tripartite Advisory on Provision of Rest Areas for Outsourced Workers.

“The Tripartite Advisory is a first step in encouraging companies to provide proper and reasonable rest areas for our low-wage outsourced workers. We urge companies to adopt these recommendations, so that collectively we can uplift the working conditions of our low-wage workers,” Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad said.

During field visits to more than 200 sites, the MOM found out that several areas for workers at office buildings, food courts, and malls were substandard: unhygienic, cluttered, and poorly ventilated.

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The MOM released a set of recommendations for improving the conditions of these rest areas. Suggestions include adding employee lockers, drinking water, and areas with proper ventilation.

The dedicated rest spaces should also be located in safe, private and accessible areas out of public view.

“Given the maturity of our economy and society, we can do more for the wellbeing of our outsourced workers and this is something that this tripartite advisory aims to do — to encourage companies to treat outsourced workers’ wellbeing as though they are extended family,” Minister Zaqy previously said as quoted in a report by Today.

He also cited some good models of rest areas for low-wage workers.

The Ikea Alexandra store is one such example. The rest area for workers is 35 sqm in size and fully air-conditioned. It includes lockers, refrigerators, a microwave oven, and ample furniture such as tables, chairs and a couch for employee use.

Additionally, Ikea Alexandra’s outsourced workers – many of which work as cleaners contracted from ISS – can also access an employee pantry with S$2 subsidised meals and free coffee and tea.

“All workers deserve to have a proper place to rest with dignity, including our outsourced workers. They should not be resting in makeshift or unconducive areas. When building owners and service buyers take the welfare of their outsourced workers to heart, they benefit from a happier and more productive workforce,” NTUC Assistant Secretary-General Zainal Bin Sapari said.

The advisory guidelines is available online. -/TISG

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