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Sunday, September 26, 2021

GCC countries say they will honor $400 minimum monthly salary for Filipina maids

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Both the UAE and Saudi Arabia have acquiesced to requests from the Philippines government to pay domestic workers a minimum monthly salary of QR1460, or $400, media reports state.

In principal, maids in Qatar are supposed to be paid at least that much, a representative at the Philippines embassy told Doha News today. 

But manpower agencies have said that Qatar’s 40,000+ Filipina domestic workers actually receive an average of QR900, or $247, monthly.

Earlier this week, the Philippine Association of Manpower Agencies for the UAE met recruiters in the country’s capital as part of a “goodwill mission” in several GCC countries, including the UAE and Qatar, the National reports.

Fostering ties

That discussion appears to have yielded promises from the UAE and Saudi Arabia to adhere to reforms requested by the Philippines government, which last year nearly banned its citizens from domestic labor in the GCC due to concerns over workers’ safety.

The agreement smoothes relations with KSA, which had stopped issuing work permits for domestic workers from Indonesia and the Philippines after the nations issued new hiring guidelines last year.

The Philippines embassy in Doha did not say whether any agreements had been made this week in Qatar.

UPDATE: Local Arabic newspapers are reporting that Qatar has agreed to implement a $400 minimum wage for Filipino domestic workers, effective in December. But Gulf Times reports:

The new regulation does not apply to the already employed maids until their work contracts expire, and then the issue has to be settled between the maid and her sponsor upon the renewal of the contract.

Regardless, the country has expressed plans to move away from a reliance on Filipino labor by tapping manpower agencies to bring in workers from several other impoverished countries, including Bosnia, Cambodia, Morocco and Sudan.

Meanwhile, a draft law establishing maids’ rights in Qatar, introduced by local media more than a year ago, has yet to become a reality.

Thoughts?

Credit: Photo by Phil Gradwell

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