Pinay wins case against Saudi employer

Posted at 06/02/2014 8:36 PM | Updated as of 06/03/2014 4:23 PM

MANILA -- An overseas Filipino worker (OFW) in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia has won her case against her employer who refused to pay her salary and benefits, according to Labor Attache to Al Khobar Alejandro Padaen.

In his report to Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, Padaen identified the OFW as Marilou Nicdao, a native of Pampanga, who worked as a beautician for Sahar Al-Motabagani in Bandaria, Al Khobar.

Nicdao has been working in Al Khobar for 14 years and asked her employer for final exit papers. Her employer obliged and was given her final exit clearance.

She was scheduled to leave for the Philippines on May 6.

However, Nicdao refused to return home since she did not yet receive her salaries and benefits, which the employer insisted were already given to her.

She then decided to file a complaint in the Ladies' Section of the Al Khobar Labor Office, which rejected her complaint because it was not written in Arabic.

Nicdao sought the help of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Al-Khobar. With the help of a local hire, Bajunaid Andi, the POLO prepared her complaint in Arabic, claiming for two months of unpaid salary for every year of the last 14 years of service, two years vacation leave, and repatriation.

She returned to the Ladies's Section of the Al Khobar Labor Office to once again file her complaint, this time, written in the required Arabic language.

However, the Ladies' Section refused to accept her complaint, saying that her employer informed them that she has already received all her salaries and benefits.

POLO appealed Nicdao's case to the General Manager of the Labor Office who immediately ordered the Ladies' Section to accept her complaint. It was docketed and a subpoena was eventually issued to her employer.

On May 12, a hearing was held at the Labor Office between Nicdao and her employer's representative and lawyer.

Nicdao claimed Saudi Arabian Riyals (SAR) 11,250 for end-of-service benefits (ESB) for the first 5 years; SAR 40,500 for the 6th to 14th year; SAR 9,000 for 2 months' unpaid salary; and SAR 4,500 for 2 years' worth of vacation leaves amounting to a total of SAR 65,250.

The employer's representative and lawyer studied her claims and eventually said that the employer will pay Nicdao all her claims, less a SAR 500 cash advance she made.

On May 16, Nicdao received her unpaid salary and benefits worth SAR 64,750, or approximately P754,970.

She was also given her exit visa and ticket.

"Malaki ho ang pasasalamat ko kay Sir Andi at sa buong tanggapan ng POLO sa pagtulong nila sa kaso ko. Kung 'di po dahil sa tulong sa akin ng POLO, hindi ko po siguro matatanggap ang mga benepisyong matagal ko na sanang natanggap mula sa aking amo," Nicdao said.

"Masaya na po akong uuwi sa Pilipinas," she added.

Nicdao was repatriated back to the Philippines on May 19.

"We are grateful for the assistance extended by the Al-Khobar Labor Office to the case of OFW Nicdao. I would also like to call on our OFWs who are facing problems with their employers, or with their work not to hesitate to seek assistance from our POLOs in their countries of destination," Dimapilis-Baldoz said.

"This is also an instruction to all staff in all POLOs worldwide to reach out and help, as much as you can, all OFWs who will ask for your assistance," she added.