Jordan touts new by-laws that protect domestic workers, cooks and gardeners

The ministry official added that the number of foreign labourers in the Kingdom this year reached around 20,000

  
Jordanian women pick up trash at a station as part of a women-run program to improve Jordan's solid waste management in the northern town of Shouneh in the Jordan Valley, Jordan, January 15, 2020.

Jordanian women pick up trash at a station as part of a women-run program to improve Jordan's solid waste management in the northern town of Shouneh in the Jordan Valley, Jordan, January 15, 2020.

REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

AMMAN — Government officials said on Tuesday that they hope that the recent amended by-law, which regulates the working conditions for domestic workers, cooks and gardeners, safeguards the rights of everyone.

"We hope that the new by-law preserves the rights of all parties including the hiring agencies, the employer and the domestic worker," Labour Ministry Spokesperson Mohammad Zyoud said.

The ministry official added that the number of foreign labourers in the Kingdom this year reached around 20,000.

The by-law, which came into effect in mid-July, obligates employers of foreign domestic workers to pay their salaries within seven days after their due dates, a condition that did not exist previously.

The by-law also requires secrecy when a labour inspector decides to meet with a foreign domestic worker and stipulates that an inspector obtain a judicial order before entering an employer’s home in the event of a complaint.

"The government decided to introduce these new by-laws following complaints of unjust practices by all parties,” Zyoud added.

An employer may be prevented from hiring a domestic worker if it is proven that the employer has abused a domestic worker in the past or has violated the Labour Law, according to the by-law.

The by-law also stipulates securing housing units at hiring agencies, ensuring that it is monitored by the ministry and domestic helpers can resort to the judiciary if needed.

Around 1,100 female domestic workers reportedly left their employers' homes without notice last year, according to official figures.

President of the Domestic Helpers Recruitment Association Khaled Hseinat said they are not legally obliged to follow up on domestic helpers who reportedly leave their employers’ homes without notice.

"We fully cooperate with the authorities by reporting their whereabouts if we know where they are and then it is up to the authorities to follow up on these cases," Hseinat told The Jordan Times.

Jordan activists welcomed the amendments saying that it will work to protect the foreign workers’ rights, who might be forced to work long hours and deprived of holidays.

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