MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) expects fewer cases of abuse against Filipino maids following the Saudi Arabian government’s decision to lift the ban on the hiring of Filipino household service workers (HSWs) beginning October 1.
The Saudi Arabian Embassy in Manila said its government has finally agreed to grant the Philippines’ demand for a minimum monthly wage of US$400 and more protection for Filipino maids.
The ban has been in place since July 2011 as Saudi Arabia refused to grant those concessions.
“We expect that there will be less cases of runaways and abuses,” said Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz.
According to Baldoz, the responsibilities of recruitment agencies to the workers as well as the latter’s benefits are clearly stipulated in their employment contracts.
“We are ruling out contract violations such as contract substitutions, maltreatment and abuses in terms of salaries and work hours, among other things. We are also expecting to get rid of the issue of employers confiscating the passports of workers because the employment contract also states that passports should be in the possession of the workers,” Baldoz said.
Early in 2011, the Saudi Arabian government stopped processing, verifying and authenticating applications from the country’s domestic workers following disagreements in wages. The Philippines wanted the domestic workers to get a minimum monthly salary of $400 but Saudi Arabia found it too high, saying the average was only $200.
The Saudi Arabian government also complained about the Philippine requirement that Saudi employers submit a sketch of their homes and disclose their annual income.
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