Saudi sets rights for maids, bans Ethiopians |
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Saudi sets rights for maids, bans Ethiopians

Published on Wednesday, 17 Jul 2013
An Indonesian migrant worker prepared to be sent to Saudi Arabia, covers her face during an inspection by the police after a raid at a shelter in Bekasi, West Java, Indonesia. (EPA)

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has announced new rules to protect the rights of foreign domestic workers, most of whom are from South Asia, but stressed they must “respect” Islam and “obey” their employers.

Labour Minister Adel Faqih said the new rules require employers to pay workers “the agreed monthly salary without delay, and give them a day off each week,” in remarks carried by the official SPA news agency.

Employers are also required to provide domestic workers with “suitable accommodations, as well as granting them time to rest for at least nine hours each day,” Faqih said.

Under the new guidelines, workers are entitled to paid sick leave and a one-month paid vacation after putting in two years of work as well as end-of-service compensation equal to one month salary after four years, he said.

But Faqih also insisted that employees must respect “Islam and its teachings... and obey the orders of the employers and their family members concerning getting the agreed work done.”

A domestic worker “does not have the right to reject a work, or leave a job, without a valid reason,” he added.

Meanwhile, authorities banned Ethiopian workers from entering the country following reports of crimes against children committed by maids from the African nation.

The labour ministry and the interior ministry have agreed to “temporarily” stop the importation of workers from Ethiopia, SPA said.

It said the ban will remain in place until the completion of investigation into “recent incidents”, in reference to crimes reported in local media.

Several media outlets have reported instances of children being killed allegedly by Ethiopian domestic workers, including two cases in the capital.

Around eight million foreign workers are employed in the oil-rich kingdom, with most of them coming from South and Southeast Asia and earning low wages. The number of domestic workers is not available.

In June, the Philippines said it had signed a landmark agreement with Saudi Arabia that would protect thousands of Filipina maids from being exploited in the kingdom. The agreement followed a row that erupted in 2011 when the Philippines insisted on a minimum wage of US$400 (HK$3,120) a month for its maids, among other measures.


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