New contract for domestic workers entitles them for a weekly day off, annual leave and the right to live outside their employer’s house, Jamal Al-Dossari, director general of Kuwait’s Public Manpower Authority, told local reporters.
The unified Gulf contract for domestic helpers will take effect after approval from the Gulf labour ministers in the third Abu Dhabi Dialogue which began today in Kuwait city.
Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain led a four-man group to barter for the over two lakh female Bangladeshi maids living in the Gulf countries.
If the contract is approved, the Bangladeshi maids will be benefited and their rights will be ensured under a legal net, said Muhammad Imran, Bangladeshi ambassador in Abu Dhabi.
“Our domestic workers will enjoy their rights including fixed working hour, salary, leave etc when the new system will be implemented,” he told The Daily Star over phone.
Under the contract, domestic helpers are also entitled to end of service indemnity and overtime pay for extra work for a maximum of two hours daily.
“It bans employers from keeping the passports of their employees, ensures the freedom of domestic helpers to move or live outside the home of the employer and to travel at any time. It also commits employers to provide air tickets for the helpers at the end of the contract,” Al Dosari added.
The issue of expatriates working in the six Gulf countries -- Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE has been a hot international topic, due mainly to the existence of the controversial sponsorship system.
Under the system, foreigners cannot work in the Gulf unless they are sponsored by an employer. They cannot move on to another job or leave the country without their sponsors’ approval.
Employers argued that without the “regulatory system”, their businesses would be affected as employees tend to abscond or switch jobs even though they had invested money in bringing them into the country and, quite often, training them. End