RIYADH: Philippine Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz and Saudi Deputy Labor Minister Mufarrej bin Saad Al-Haqbani signed a labor agreement Sunday on the hiring of Filipino household service workers (HSWs). Al-Haqbani signed on behalf of Labor Minister Adel Fakeih.“The agreement is historic and today is a very significant day in Philippine-Saudi bilateral relations,” said Baldoz. The agreement is the first by the Saudi Ministry of Labor with a manpower-supplying country.
“This agreement heralds an era of stronger bilateral labor cooperation between the Philippines and Saudi Arabia for the protection and welfare of Filipino HSWs in the Kingdom,” she said.
The agreement comes after Saudi Arabia and the Philippines agreed on a standard labor contract last year, which shall govern the employment of HSWs in the Kingdom.
The Saudi Press Agency reported that the agreement is for five years and can be extended automatically for similar periods. It will also incorporate the formation of a joint working group to meet on a regular basis to discuss and resolve the problems of HSWs who include housemaids, baby sitters, laundrywomen, family drivers, cooks and gardeners.
“We expect that 60,000 out of an estimated 670,000 OFWs in Saudi Arabia will immediately benefit from this agreement, which lays down areas of cooperation between the two countries,” Baldoz said.
The agreement includes the following:
1. A mutually acceptable recruitment and deployment system;
2. The recruitment of domestic workers through agencies that practice ethical recruitment and are licensed by their respective governments;
3. Prohibition of charging or deducting any cost attendant to recruitment and deployment from the worker’s salary;
4. The right of recourse to authorities in case of contractual disputes in accordance with applicable laws and regulations;
5. Legal measures against recruitment offices, companies or agencies for any violation of applicable laws, rules and regulations; and
6. Resolution of any issue arising from the implementation and enforcement of the agreement.