The Saudi Council of Ministers through the recommendation made by the Ministry of Labor and its attached agencies announced a new law safeguarding the rights of domestic workers in the Kingdom. One of them is the end-of-service benefits that will be given to the worker after four years of service. The OFWs in the Kingdom welcome the moved of the Saudi government for this very laudable action on their part to compensate the tons of sweats pouring out from the brows of our domestic workers in a days, months and years of hard work and perhaps humiliation in the hands of harsh employers. We can’t deny that not all employers are treating their domestic workers well but as what the good Labor Minister Adel Fakeih said “the law aims at regulating relationship between domestic help and their employers while explaining their rights and duties and punishment for violators of contract terms”.
The Labor Agreement signed by both countries during the visit of Philippine Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz last May of this year includes: weekly rest days and daily rest periods, paid vacation leave, non-withholding of passports and work permits, free communication and humane treatment. The new law states same provisions as stipulated in the agreement that was agreed by both parties except for the ESB that was announced just recently.
Though, I have still doubts that under the same sponsorship system non-withholding of passports and work permits will never be realized or be implemented.
Also under the new agreement, some Saudi employers are complaining that Saudi recruitment agencies are asking SAR 13,000 or more in hiring domestic workers from the Philippines. According to some of my Saudi friends, same amount still to be paid for a pre-selected (of their choice) domestic worker. In case of pre-selected worker, the local recruitment agency will not replace any one found not suited to the job. In other words, not responsible to whatever complaint the employer may raised during the period of the employment contract.
Moreover, the Philippine recruitment agency and local agency will work side by side in the selection process and are responsible or accountable to any uncertainties that may happen within the contract duration of the domestic worker. Secondly in the first 90 days, the recruitment agency is resposible for; replacement of a new one in case the domestic worker is not suited for the job, runaway from the employer, accountable if the domestic worker steals from the employer or any other problems that may occur during the 90 days provisionary period.
According to WIEGO, a global action-research-policy network “domestic workers provide essential services that enable others to work outside the home, thus facilitating the functioning of labor market and the economy” and having an End of Service Benefits to our domestic workers is a commendable move on the part of Saudi government. – BongAmora