RIYADH, KSA 19/11/2012: After The Saudi government decided to lift the ban on the hiring of Filipino household service workers (HSW’s), the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) issued last October 1, 2012 the Memorandum Circular No. 8, Series of 2012, the new guidelines on the Philippine Overseas Labor Office and POEA registration of SRA (Saudi Recruitment Agencies) hiring Filipino Household Service worker to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
In the guidelines, it is clear that SRA’s should be accredited by our POLO before the Philippine Recruitment Agencies (PRA) in the Philippines can hire or deploy FHW in the Kingdom. However, according to my friend Mr. Hassan Khalil, the Contract Verification Officer of our Philippine Embassy/POLO, in his email dated 11 November 2012 informed me that the lacking document so far was the standard POEA Recruitment Agreement between the Principal/SRA and PRA.
The good news is that the Royal Saudi Embassy has already come up the final version of the Standard Employment Contract between the FHW/PRA and the Employer/SRA.
The following provisions are included in the standard employment contract:
1) Contract Duration: Two (2) years effective from the date of departure of the worker from the Philippines. The monthly salary shall start upon actual reporting to work.
2) The Household Service Worker and the employer agree on a monthly salary of US$ 400.00 which is in accordance with the laws and regulations prevailing in both countries.
3) The employer shall open a bank account for the HSW in KSA, subject to SAMA rules and regulations and shall deposit regularly every end of the month the salary of the HSW to the said account. The passbook or deposit slip or their equivalent shall be given to the HSW and remain in his/her custody. The employer shall help the HSW to remit his/her salary through proper banking channels.
4) The Household Service Worker shall be provided with continuous rest of at least (8) hours per day.
5) Rest Day: At least one (1) rest day per week.
6) Free transportation to the site of employment and back to the point of origin upon expiration of contract and ensure the worker’s timely repatriation. In case of termination for reasons not attributable to the worker, the employer shall bear the cost of repatriation of the worker to the Philippines.
7) The employer shall provide the Household Service Worker, suitable and sanitary living quarters as well as adequate food or equivalent monetary allowance.
8) For acceptable medical reasons, the HSW shall be allowed to rest and shall continue to receive his/her regular salary. The employer shall shoulder the medical expenses.
9) The HSW is entitled to return to the Philippines to spend his/her paid vacation leave of thirty (30) days for every two years of service with a round-trip economy class ticket. In case of his/her desire to continue working with the employer, he/she is entitled to an additional one-month salary.
10) In case of death, the employer is responsible for the repatriation of the HSW’s remains and personal belongings to the Republic of the Philippines as soon as legally possible and without undue delay. In case the repatriation of remains is not possible, the same may be disposed of after obtaining the approval of one of the HSW’s next of kin or by the Philippine Embassy.
11) In case of dispute between the employer and the HSW, the two contracting parties may refer the dispute to the appropriate Saudi authorities for conciliation and/or resolution.
12) In case the Household Service Worker runs away or refuses to work without valid causes, the Philippine recruitment agency shall be responsible in having him/her replaced or in returning the accrued cost of recruitment to his/her employer, as per agreement between the employer, the Saudi recruitment agency and the Philippine recruitment agency.
13) The worker shall be repatriated at the employer’s expense in the event of war, civil disturbance or major natural calamity, or in case the worker suffers from serious illness or work injury medically proven to render him/her incapable of completing the contract.
14) After the expiration of the contract and the HSW desires to return the Philippines, the employer shall present the bank statement of the HSW to the Saudi recruitment agency, and the employer and the worker shall then sign a final settlement. Such bank statement and proof of settlement may be submitted as evidence in the Philippines and in the KSA.
15) The contract may be renewed upon the agreement of the worker and his/her employer. Should the contract be renewed, a copy of the renewed iqama shall be submitted to the Philippine Embassy/Consulate by the employer or Saudi recruitment agency.
16) The contract shall be written in two original copies in the English and Arabic text, both copies being equally authentic.
Special Provisions in the contract provided below:
– The responsibility of informing the employer regarding the departure and arrival of the HSW in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia shall be that of the Philippine recruitment agency in coordination with the Saudi recruitment agency.
– The employer and his family members, and the HSW shall treat one another with respect and dignity.
– The HSW shall work solely for the employer and his immediate household.
– The employer shall not deduct any amount from the regular salary of the Household Service Worker. In case of deductions
for lawful reasons, such deductions must be reflected in the HSW’s pay slip.
– The employer shall pay the cost of the Household Service Worker’s residence permit (iqama), exit/re-entry visa, and final exit visa, including the renewals and penalties resulting from delays.
– The Household Service Worker shall be allowed to freely communicate with his/her family and the Philippine Embassy / Consulate on his/her personal expense or account.
– The passport and work permit (iqama) of the worker shall remain in his/her possession.
– The employer shall explain to the members of his household the provisions of this contract and ensure that these are observed.
– Any provision of this Standard Employment Contract may be altered, amended or substituted through the Saudi-Philippine Joint Technical Working Committee.
All of the above were perfectly written and the interest of our HSWs are fully protected under the provisions of the contract. However, the rights and obligations of the SRA and PRA is not clearly define as to who are really responsible in case one of the party fails to perform, precisely and exactly, his/her obligations under the contract.
One factor that should be defined of is – who are responsible if the employer had terminate the employment of the HSW when she failed to arrive the employer’s expectation of his/her work performances. Is it the responsibility of the SRA or the PRA? Where “she” be housed temporarily while still in the Kingdom waiting for her replacement?
One more thing, the special provision of the contract failed to mention about the role of our POLO and Philippine Embassy in case of termination of employment. Does the POLO/Embassy should be informed about the termination? In this scenario, it must be emphasized that the POLO/Embassy should be notified at once when this happen.
If I may recall, there were three termination and runaway cases that I knew that the HSW requested to be transferred to POLO or Embassy for her safety. She was afraid that sexual harassment may occur at the SRA’s custody.
Further, special provisions says; “the passport and work permit (iqama) of the worker shall remain in his/her possession”, I doubt if this provision be realized.
Lastly, there are no provisions about how to validate and confirm that a Household Service Worker upon arrival at site has a clean, comfortable and decent place to stay and her conditions are in conformity with the above stated provisions. – BongA
Update: 15 December 2012
POEA Memorandum Circular No. 13 Series of 2012
Further to POEA Memorandum Circular No. 08, Series of 2012, on the guidelines on the POLO accreditation and POEA Registration of SRA hiring Filipino HSWs for Saudi Arabia, a POEA-prescribed model/standard Recruitment Agreement (RA) between the SRA and the PRA is hereby adopted as per Memorandum Circular No. 13 Series of 2012 signed by POEA Administrator Hans Cacdac.
To read the full text of the Model Agreement click here >>>>>>>