Statement of Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz - On the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia

Date Posted: January 23rd, 2015 07:34 AM

 

Statement of

Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz

 

On the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia

“The Department of Labor and Employment, its family of agencies, and I deeply condole with the people of Saudi Arabia on the demise of their ruler, King Abdullah, 90.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia—home to about a million Filipinos the overwhelming majority of whom are migrant contract workers—is a very strong and dynamic partner of the Philippines, especially in the field of labor and employment.

“It is under the reign of King Abdullah and under the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III that Saudi Arabia and the Philippines have really forged closer and stronger   cooperation in labor and employment, particularly in mutual recognition of the need to promote and enhance the welfare and protection of overseas workers, including Filipino workers who are working in almost every sphere of the Saudi economy.

“It was on 19 May 2013 that Saudi Labor Minister Engineer Adel Bin Mohammed Fakeih and I signed the historic Agreement on Domestic Worker Recruitment Between the Ministry of Labor and the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment.

“The Agreement, the first of its kind to be signed by the Saudi government with a labor-sending country, ushered in an era of stronger labor cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the Philippines.

“The first of its kind to be signed by the Saudi government with a country of origin for migrant workers such as the Philippines, the Agreement lays down areas of cooperation between the two countries, namely: (1) a mutually acceptable recruitment and deployment system; (2) recruitment of domestic workers through recruitment offices that practice ethical recruitment and are licensed by their respective governments; (3) prohibition to charge or deduct from the salary of the domestic worker any cost attendant to recruitment and deployment nor impose any kind of unauthorized salary deductions; (4) right of recourse to competent authorities in case of contractual disputes, in accordance with applicable laws, rules, and regulations; (5) legal measures against recruitment offices, companies, or agencies for any violation of applicable laws, rules and regulations; and (6) resolution of any issue arising from the implementation and enforcement of the Agreement.

“The Agreement also establishes specific responsibilities of the Saudi Arabian government, which includes the authenticity of the employment contract; opening of a bank account in the name of the domestic worker; a 24-hour mechanism for domestic workers' assistance; expeditious settlement of labor contract violation cases; and facilitation of exit visas for repatriation upon contract completion or during emergency situations.

“For the Philippines, its specific responsibilities include ensuring that workers are qualified and medically fit with no derogatory record, and verification of all employment contracts submitted by Saudi recruitment offices.

“This Agreement affirms the Philippines’ and Saudi Arabia’s commitment to fully implement the Standard Employment Contract, which recognizes, among others, the SR1,500 minimum entry level salary, weekly rest days and daily rest periods, paid vacation leave, non-withholding of passports and work permits, free communication, and humane treatment.

“Within the span of five months, the Kingdom’s Council of Ministers approved Resolution No. 310, or the Household Regulation on Service Workers and Similar Categories, the new regulations that outline the rights and obligations of migrant HSWs and their Saudi employers, a clear, positive result of the Agreement.

“It highlight the rights and obligations of HSWs as follows: (1) render the work agreed upon and do her best in the performance of her work; (2) follow orders of the employer and family members relating to the performance of her work; (3) take care of the employer’s property; (4) not harm the family members, children, and the elderly; (5) keep secrets of the employers, family members, and people living in or visiting the employer’s house; (6) not refuse work or leave the service without legitimate reason; (7) not affect the dignity of the employer and family members and not interfere in their affairs; and (8) respect the Islamic religion and observe Saudi regulations applied in Saudi Arabia; customs and traditions of the Saudi society; and not engage in any activity disadvantageous to the family.

“On the other hand, the employer should (1) not impose work on the household service worker unless the work has been agreed upon, and provided the work does not substantially differ from the original work; (2) not impose any dangerous work that threatens the health and safety and the human dignity of the HSW; (3) pay the agreed salary at the end of every month; (4) pay wage and benefits in cash or cheque to be documented in writing; if HSW does not want the wage or benefit deposited in a bank account; (5) provide appropriate accommodation to the HSW; (6) provide HSW opportunity to enjoy a daily rest of at least nine hours a day; (7) personally attend or send a representative to answer complaint, if any, of the HSW; and (8) not ‘rent out’ the HSW.

“Other benefits of the HSW under the regulations are a weekly rest day; one month leave after two years of service; paid sick leave of not more than 30 days; health care according to the rules and regulations of Saudi Arabia; and end-of-service benefits equivalent to one-month salary after four years. These regulations also carry stiff penalties for both employers and HSWs who violate them.

“We at the DOLE are confident that other countries of destination of HSWs will emulate Saudi Arabia and, thus, follow its very commendable move.

“We are also hopeful that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, even with the death of a reformer in the person of King Abdullah will continue on its road to peace, stability, and progress for the people of Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Middle East region.”

END



Created Jan 26th 2015, 10:55

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