UAE, Philippines lift ban on recruiting domestic workers

A new unified contract ensures the well-being of Filipino household service workers

  
Image used for illustrative purpose. Filipina domestic workers Helen Pendon and Loreta Flores send donated and dumpster dived items, which they got for free during a giveaway at the house of Singaporean freegan Colin Lau, to a shipping company to be delivered to the Philippines, in Singapore November 4, 2018. Picture taken November 4, 2018. REUTERS/Natashia Lee

Image used for illustrative purpose. Filipina domestic workers Helen Pendon and Loreta Flores send donated and dumpster dived items, which they got for free during a giveaway at the house of Singaporean freegan Colin Lau, to a shipping company to be delivered to the Philippines, in Singapore November 4, 2018. Picture taken November 4, 2018. REUTERS/Natashia Lee

REUTERS/Natashia Lee

The Philippines will resume the deployment of household service workers to the UAE starting March 31, it was announced on Tuesday.

The decision was taken after delegations from the UAE and the Philippines have come to an agreement during a two-day committee meeting held in Manila from Monday to Tuesday.

The UAE delegation was headed by Saif Ahmed Alsuwaidi, undersecretary of the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (Mohre), while the Philippine representation was led by Labour Undersecretary Claro Arellano.

Mohre confirmed in a tweet on Tuesday that domestic workers will be allowed to work in the country through authorised channels.

The deployment of domestic workers to the UAE had been suspended since 2014. Once this is lifted by April, the measure shall be covered by a ‘unified employment contract’ (UEC) that provides stringent measures to protect Filipino domestic workers, Arellano said in a Press statement.

Under the unified contract, both the employer and the foreign recruitment agencies, as well as the Philippine recruitment agencies shall be held liable should anything happen to the Filipino workers.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has specified instructions to ensure the safety of domestic workers. These were incorporated in the four-party contract, which becomes an addendum to the Memorandum of Understanding on Labour Cooperation with Annex Protocol on Domestic Workers. Provisions include:

  1. A domestic worker must be able to take at least eight continuous hours of sleep every night;
  2. He/she must take a break that is paid, outside the residence of the employer, at least one full day every week;
  3. He/she must be able to keep his/her passport or identification documents and the employer is not allowed to hold them;
  4. The domestic worker must be allowed to have and use mobile phones and other communication devices and the employer is prohibited from confiscating them;
  5. He/she must have a bank account under his/her name for the payment of salary; and
  6. Domestic workers must be allowed to cook their own food.  

(With inputs from the Philippine News Agency)

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