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Strict rules to protect maids' rights

Two countries have set minimum wages for domestic helpers if they are to be hired by residents in the UAE, officials have said.

Image Credit:Bassma Al Jandaly/Gulf News
The agreement stipulates that no deductions should be made from the salaries of domestic helpers.
Gulf News

Dubai: Two countries have set minimum wages for domestic helpers if they are to be hired by residents in the UAE, officials have said.

The governments of Indonesia and the Philippines have formed guidelines to ensure that housemaids coming here have their rights protected.

Agreements signed between the UAE and the governments of Indonesia and the Philippines came into effect recently.

According to the agreements, a Filipino housemaid should be paid $200 or Dh700 a month for a two-year contract without deductions.

The Indonesian housemaid with no experience should be paid Dh600 a month and for those with two years' experience should be paid Dh700 a month. The Indonesian domestic helpers should be paid in cash or the money transferred to the housemaid's bank account with no deductions.

Comprehensive

An official from the Philippine Consulate said the five-page contract for Filipino domestic helpers written in Arabic and English has a checklist of 28 household chores that the housemaid is expected to do for her employer. It also should contain the number of adults, children, babies or special needs people in the house. They cannot work for compensation on their weekly off-days.

The contract should also contain details of where the domestic helper is expected to work whether it is a flat, villa, palace or tent with the number of rooms and floor.

The official said the contract provides the housemaid to have one day off with full payment and in no case should she be required to work for a resident other than her sponsor. The contract makes the labour agency responsible for protecting the domestic helper's rights until the end of the contract period.

The official said the passport of the domestic helper should be returned to the embassy upon request and the employer who fails to comply with the request will risk being banned from hiring Filipino domestic helpers.

An official from the Indonesian Consulate General told Gulf News that the Indonesian housemaid will have a four-page labour contract in Arabic and the Indonesian language. The official said an inexperienced housemaid should be paid Dh23 each day if she works on her off days. For the experienced housemaid it is Dh27 per day. The contract stipulates an eight-hour rest daily for the housemaid. If a couple are working as domestic helpers for a family they should be allowed to live together.

A private bedroom should be offered to the domestic helper and he/she should be allowed to be in touch with their families back home and with the Indonesian embassy or consulate.

Medical facilities

If the domestic helper becomes ill here the sponsor should provide treatment for the helper before sending him or her back to their country. The employer and the labour agency are responsible for the domestic helper until the end of his or her service.

By the end of the two-year contract period the domestic helper should be sent home in order to renew the contract from Indonesia. The contract should be approved by the Indonesian consulate or embassy before hiring the domestic helper. All contracts should be headed by the name of the labour agency in UAE.

Wafaa, manger of Qortaj recruitment agency in Ajman, said that such strict contracts will help cut the number of absconding housemaids.

Check list

Dos

  • Caring for children
  • Caring for elderly people
  • Caring for the disabled/bedridden
  • Cooking
  • Ironing clothes
  • Washing cars
  • Caring for pets
  • Good personal hygiene

Don'ts

  • Not allowed to stay out
  • Not allowed to invite friends or relatives to the employer's house
  • No wearing makeup while at work
  • No working on off days for compensation
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