Dubai: Many Filipina maids in the UAE are still being paid Dh700 to Dh900 a month despite a year-old decision by the Philippine government to set a minimum wage of Dh1,470 for its nationals working as maids abroad.
Major General Mohammad Ahmad Al Merri, head of Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Department (DNRD), told Gulf News that salaries less than the set minimum wage are being registered in domestic helper's contracts at DNRD.
"Any salary amount can be registered as long as both the employer and the domestic helper agree upon it. We cannot intervene in this matter," said Al Merri adding that so far they had not received any complaints regarding the issue.
Those employing maids on a salary of less than the minimum wage have to sign two separate contracts, one which is verified by the Philippine Embassy, stating a salary in accordance with the Philippine government while the second is registered at the DNRD with the actual salary.
Ching Andevilla, assistant labour attache at the Philippine embassy, told Gulf News that were aware of the problem and had helped rectify several cases at the DRND.
"We know that some DNRD officials are still accepting salaries less than the set wage but we are working closely with UAE officials to solve this problem," said Andevilla.
Filipina domestic helpers who are being paid less must come and file a complaint at the consulate to rectify their contract and any maid accepting less than the minimum wage will not be allowed to return when she goes home on vacation.
The consulate will also suspend the accreditation of manpower supply agencies offering these women less than the set wage, she added.
No choice: 'Filipinas need the jobs'
Several manpower supply agencies contacted by Gulf News said many Filipinas are still accepting less than the set minimum wage because they need jobs.
"Very few people in the UAE are paying Dh1,470 for a maid, the majority are only prepared to pay between Dh700 to Dh900 and there are still many Filipinas that accept this amount. It is done through an agreement between manpower supply agencies in the Philippines and agencies here," said an employee at one of the agencies.
A Lebanese housewife, who has just recruited a Filipina maid, said she agreed with one of the agencies to pay her a salary of Dh850.
While the majority of sponsors register the actual salary in the DNRD's contract there are a few who are more cautious and decide to sign internal contracts.
B.M., a Jordanian, who recruited a maid for Dh700 two months ago, said he signed an internal contract with her to avoid any complications in the future.He said initially she was reluctant to accept the sum but he explained to her he was not prepared to pay more so she either had to take the job or go home.