New Saudi regulations protecting HSWs hailed
MANILA – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) lauded the government of Saudi Arabia after its Council of Ministers approved last week new regulations that outline the rights and obligations of migrant household service workers and their employers.
"I am very much pleased that Saudi Arabia has issued its new regulations on the employment of foreign HSWs pursuant to the Agreement that Saudi Arabia Labor Minister Engineer Adel Bin Mohammed Fakeih and I signed on 19 May this year in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia," said DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz.
Baldoz said Resolution No. 310, or the Household Regulation or Service Workers and Similar Categories, followed after Saudi Arabia and the Philippines agreed on a Standard Employment Contract which shall govern the employment in Saudi Arabia of HSWs.
She said the agreement "will certainly boost the protection for our HSWs and enhance their welfare”.
The new regulations, all of 23 articles, lay down the specifics on the employment of HSWs by Saudi employers, detailing their employers and their employees’ rights and obligations.
The regulations highlight the rights and obligations of HSWs as follows:
(1) render the work agreed upon and do her best in the performance of her work;
(2) follow orders of the employer and family members relating to the performance of her work;
(3) take care of the employer’s property;
(4) not harm the family members, children, and the elderly;
(5) keep secrets of the employers, family members, and people living in or visiting the employer’s house;
(6) not refuse work or leave the service without legitimate reason;
(7) not affect the dignity of the employer and family members and not interfere in their affairs;
(8) respect the Islamic religion and observe Saudi regulations applied in Saudi Arabia; customs and traditions of the Saudi society; and not engage in any activity disadvantageous to the family.
The employer, on the other hand, should:
(1) not impose work on the household service worker unless the work has been agreed upon, and provided the work does not substantially differ from the original work;
(2) not impose any dangerous work that threatens the health and safety and the human dignity of the HSW;
(3) pay the agreed salary at the end of every month;
(4) pay wage and benefits in cash or cheque to be documented in writing; if HSW does not want the wage or benefit deposited in a bank account;
(5) provide appropriate accommodation to the HSW;
(6) provide HSW opportunity to enjoy a daily rest of at least nine hours a day;
(7) personally attend or send a representative to answer complaint, if any, of the HSW; and
(8) not ‘rent out’the HSW.
DOLE said other benefits of HSWs under the regulations are:
• a weekly rest day;
• one month leave after two years of service;
• paid sick leave of not more than 30 days;
• health care according to the rules and regulations of Saudi Arabia;
• and end-of-service benefits equivalent to one-month salary after four years.
Baldoz said the regulations also carry stiff penalties for both employers and HSWs who violate them. Employers shall be fined 2,000 Saudi riyals and prevented from recruiting HSWs, while HSWs shall be fined 2,000 Saudi riyals and prevented from working in the Kingdom.
Baldoz orders the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration to disseminate correct and relevant information about the new regulations to all HSWs applicants, in coordination with all licensed recruitment agencies, to raise their knowledge, awareness, and understanding on the same.
She also directed the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration to include in the PDOS for HSWs information about the new regulations.