(MENAFN - Arab News) Philippine authorities are still reluctant to implement the new contract agreements signed with Saudi Arabia to supply domestic workers.
A source at the foreign workers recruitment office in Riyadh said the Philippine Embassy did not endorse to date the documents for the recruitment of domestic workers, even though thousands of recruitment visas have been issued, after a new agreement was established during high-level negotiations between the two countries.
The source attributed the delay to some legal procedures adopted by the embassy in collaboration with the authorities in Manila, Al-Hayat daily reported yesterday.
The new recruitment contract stipulates a number of conditions, including the condition that a Saudi employer and his domestic worker should decide the employee's monthly basic salary in line with relevant laws in both countries. In addition, the employer should open a bank account in the worker's name and deposit regularly his or her salary in that account at the end of every month. The employer should also provide the worker with a copy of the deposited bank receipt.
The agreement also stipulates that the employer assist the worker in remitting his or her money through legitimate banking channels.
The other conditions in the agreement include daily eight-hour continuous rest time and weekends off, as well as free travel fares to the work destination and a free return ticket to the original place of recruitment at the end of the contract.
Moreover, if the contract is canceled for reasons not caused by the worker, the employer is responsible for ensuring the worker's return to the place he or she were recruited from.
Furthermore, the new contract requires the employer to pay for the worker's medical treatment, allow the worker regular resting time and pay the worker's salary on time. The worker also has the right for a month's paid vacation in the Philippines, and if both parties agree to renew the contract, the worker will have the right to ask for a better pay.
In September, Assistant Foreign Minister Prince Khaled bin Saud said the Kingdom agreed to resume the recruitment of Philippine house maids after the two sides reached an agreement that respects the Kingdom's sovereignty and laws on the one hand and protects the rights of Saudi employers and foreign workers on the other.
The Kingdom, which is a major employer of Filipino laborers, technicians, salesgirls and domestic helpers, imposed a ban on Filipino housemaids in June 2011 following a row over minimum wages and a host of other issues.
More than 1.5 million housemaids from the Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and other Asian and African nations work in Saudi Arabia. An estimated nine million Filipinos, including 1.2 million in the Kingdom alone, work overseas, and their remittances back home are a major pillar of the national economy.