The Singapore government has announced a new requirement for maids from various countries including Sri Lanka, to get a weekly day off.
The new regulation will take effect from 1 January 2013 and apply to all foreign maids whose work permits are renewed or issued after the date.
The move came after a longstanding campaign by activists and governments of the maids' countries.
There are more than 200,000 maids in Singapore, mostly from the Philippines, Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka.
"A weekly rest day is regarded internationally as a basic labour right," said Minister of State for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin, who announced the new rule in parliament on Monday.
He added that from 2007 to 2010, a "significant majority" of maids who had suffered injuries at work or committed suicide did not get off days.
However, employers will be allowed ''time and flexibility'' to adjust to the new requirement, according to a statement from the ministry.
Employers in the South East Asian nation also have the ''alternative option'' of offering compensation in lieu of the off-day, if mutually agreeable with their maids.
The calls for a mandatory rest day for maids working in the island nation have been going on for a decade. (BBC)