Saudi ministry adamant on enforcing unified contract for housemaids


By Mohammed Al-Abdullah

Okaz/Saudi Gazette

DAMMAM — The unified recruitment contract for household workers has finally been uploaded onto the Ministry of Labor and Social Development's Musaned e-gate after a delay of 24 hours.

The format of the contract, which should have been available on the Musaned e-gate on Monday, was only uploaded on Tuesday.

The recruitment offices had interpreted the delay as second thoughts on the part of the ministry about the terms and conditions stipulated in the contract.

While the local recruitment offices, which have strongly objected to certain articles in the contract, believed that it had been cancelled, the ministry said the delay in uploading was caused by some logistical and technical glitches.

The new contract stipulates that the recruitment offices pay a fine of about 30 percent of the value of the contract if the arrival of a housemaid was delayed by 90 days or beyond. It also forces them to provide the housemaids with accommodation and receive them at airports on arrival in the Kingdom.

The ministry also required the recruitment offices to make arrangements for the newly arriving housemaids to use the separate disembarkation channels for female workers at Saudi airports.

The recruitment offices said that the fine, which was only 15 percent previously, was too high and that they might not have any hand in causing the delay. They said it should be the responsibility of recruitment offices in the labor exporting countries.

The chambers of commerce and industry in various regions of the Kingdom supported the recruitment offices in their objection to the unified contract and asked the ministry to review it thoroughly before it was made final.

The chambers said while imposing a 30 percent fine for the delay of the worker's arrival, the ministry did not take into consideration the circumstances that might cause the delay and in which they might not have any hand such as natural calamities, political crises, national holidays and others.

They said the provision of accommodation for the housemaids on arrival would increase the cost of recruitment for the citizens.

The chambers asked the ministry to constitute a task force, including representatives from the private sector, to review the contract, cancel the fine of 30 percent and the provision of accommodation for the housemaids on arrival.