Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Philippines and Bahrain Signed New Rights for Filipina Maids

February 7, 2006

Philippines and Bahraini authorities both agreed to the new contract that gives the Filipino housemaids the right to walk out if their employers maltreat them.

Violations such as non-payment of salary, non-provision of for breakfast, lunch and dinner, non-provision of rest hours during the day, not allowing eight hours of sleep per day, requiring the to work for other people, transferring her to other employer and maltreating, beating or physically/sexually abusing can be the grounds of the housemaids to terminate their service to their employer.

According to the Philippine Embassy Welfare Officer Venus Bravo, Filipino domestic workers who end their contract because of maltreatment of the employer will no longer be considered “runaways.”

A new clause for Filipina housemaids’ contracts states that they have every right to terminate their service if they are being abuse by their employers in Bahrain.

“The Labour Ministry is aware of the new contract and is honoring it,”said Ms Bravo.

New housemaids from Philippines who are going to Bahrain and their employers are being informed of the new clause to stop the cases of Filipino workers abused in Bahrain.

The numbers of workers staying in the embassy’s shelter have doubled in just two months. In fact, currently there are more than 60 workers were at the shelter as compared to last months 30 workers.

Majority of these Filipino workers who want to go back home are housemaids. Most of them complained of are breach of contract, others complains either physical or sexual abuse, overwork and delayed salaries. They cannot just go back because their employers are keeping their passports and CPR cards.

Some of them are working with tourist visas, because their Bahraini employers hired them straight from the Philippines without any contact from agency.

“Their employers are deliberately violating set rules that Filipinos must be hired through agencies,” said Ms Bravo.

Last year during the Ramadan was the largest number of workers in the embassy shelter which was 114.

"We experienced what we thought was an increase of runaway workers during the Holy Month, but now we are finding that more workers are running away and this just shows how serious the situation is here in Bahrain," said Ms Bravo.

The agreement likewise stated that the employer should take the responsibility for the air ticket of the maid in going back to the Philippines and provide her outstanding wage.

“If any employer refuses to sign the agreement once it is introduced at the embassy then we will tell them to please not hire Filipinos,” said Ms. Bravo.