RIYADH — An agreement to recruit Filipino domestic workers to work in the Kingdom was signed in Manila last week. The Saudi and Filipino joint committee signed the agreement last Tuesday, local media reports said.
However, Philippine diplomatic sources in Jeddah said that although the agreement has been signed it has yet to be approved by relevant authorities in Manila.
Sources described the signing of the contract as a breakthrough in the recruitment of Filipino housemaids which was banned by the Ministry of Labor in March last year.
The Kingdom suspended the processing of employment contracts for new Filipino maids after complaining about the Philippines’ requirement that Saudi employers submit a map identifying the location of their homes and disclose their annual income.
Under the new agreement, Filipino domestic workers will get a minimum salary of SR1,500 a month and a day off every week. There is also a clause in the agreement for workers to keep their mobile phones with them to call their families.
They will also be allowed to keep their passports and work permits.
They are also entitled to a one-month holiday every two years, with an air ticket to be provided by their sponsors. Their sponsors must also open a bank account for them into which their salaries are to be deposited every month.
The contract also makes it mandatory for the employer to bear the medical expenses of his/her domestic workers and, in the event of the death of a worker, to transport the body and personal effects to the worker’s home country.
The Saudi labor authorities will be responsible for settling any dispute that may arise between the two sides, but if the domestic worker runs away, the Filipino government must bear the cost of replacing the worker or refund the recruitment fees.
The employer also bears the cost of entry and re-entry visas and final exit fees.
The contract also stipulates other terms including good treatment on the part of the sponsor.
Among the conditions deleted from the contract, was a demand made by the Filipino side that the employer should go in person to the Filipino embassy with a certificate of good standing from the police in his district and a bank statement from his employer. — SG