Dubai: A maid got her five years' worth of unpaid salary, plus one year "bonus" compensation after bringing her case at the dispute section of the General Directorate of Residence and Foreigners Affairs, an official at the Philippine Embassy said.

Marilyn Sabanag, 37, a Filipino, received a total of Dh27,000 for unpaid work for the past five years and a "bonus" compensation for 12 months. She went to the Philippine embassy in Abu Dhabi for help last week and received her pay within 48 hours.

Very happy

"Although her salary was a little below the minimum wage as what both parties had agreed upon, we are very happy with this development because it is very rare that sponsors will pay our compatriots right away," Philippine Consul Jose Jacob told Gulf News.

The Philippine government pegged the minimum wage of maids or household service workers (HSW) at $400 (Dh1,470). Sabanag got Dh600 per month.

Cases of unpaid salaries top the list of complaints of HSWs seeking help from the Philippine missions in the UAE. Currently, a total of 89 Filipinos are under the care of the Filipino Workers Resource Centre (FWRC) in Abu Dhabi, a halfway house for distressed Filipinos.

Approximately 40 per cent of the 89 Filipinos are waiting for their salaries according to Labour Attache Nasser Munder.

"A number of our compatriots [in the centre] have cases of unpaid salaries. Most of them have three to six months' worth of unpaid services. But Sabanag's case is the longest that I have seen so far," Munder told Gulf News.


In addition to unpaid salaries, mistreatment, long working hours, lack of a day off, and verbal and sexual abuse are among the common complaints of Filipinos in the FWRC.

On October 26, Philippine lawmakers agreed to defer for six months the implementation of the Republic Act (RA) 10022 or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act which would supposedly protect HSWs from these abuses.

Under RA 10022, deployment of Filipino workers should be stopped in countries that don't have legal protection for migrant workers; that are not signatories or ratifiers of multilateral conventions pertaining to the protection of workers; and that do not have a bilateral agreement with the Philippine government on the protection of the rights of Filipino workers.

Countries in the Gulf region such as Qatar, Kuwait and the UAE are considered "partially compliant" with RA 10022.