NEWLY hired domestic workers will have to sign a comprehensive job contract stating their rights and duties before they arrive in Bahrain.
Starting from tomorrow, the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) will distribute copies of the new contract for housemaids to over 130 registered recruitment agencies in the country.
Under the new unified contract, which aims to prevent exploitation of housemaids, employers have to compulsorily declare, among other things, the nature of the job, working hours and weekly day off.
“After a successful consultation with the recruitment agencies regarding the new contract for domestic workers, we will finally give them copies of the document on Sunday,” said LMRA chief executive Ausama Al Absi.
“It will be mandatory for every new housemaid to sign this contract and know about their job description in Bahrain.”
He explained that the two-year contract states key details such as whether a maid has to deal with people with special needs or geriatric care, number of children, daily working hours, weekly day off, and mandatory wage receipts among other conditions.
“All these conditions were previously not clear which led to exploitation of the workers, but now for the first time a worker has the right to reject or accept the job contract in their home country,” he added.
“It will be mandatory for the worker to sign this contract and a copy of this will be present with the LMRA to assist in future disputes.”
Bank transfer details should also be provided to the worker or the employer should keep a log of wage receipts.
Any contractual violations arising after employment will be treated as labour violations and will be subjected to legal action.
“This contract protects the rights of three parties; the employer, the recruiting office and the domestic worker,” said Mr Al Absi.
“It provides a radical solution and legal frame to solve problems in this sector by preventing any misunderstanding, dispute or abuse by any party against the other.”
Domestic workers form nearly seven per cent of Bahrain’s total population, according to LMRA indicators.
A total of 99,417 domestic workers (including 75,305 females) were employed in the first quarter of this year, compared with 93,891 until the end of March last year.
The General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions (GFBTU), which represents thousands of workers including expatriates, said it has not registered a single case by a domestic worker.
“The new contract for housemaids is a step forward and reflects good intentions of the LMRA,” said GFBTU assistant secretary for international relations Karim Radhi.
“However, we know many domestic workers are directly recruited by Bahraini households and it’s difficult for authorities to know that there is any contractual violations until there is a complaint.”
The unionist said the new contract would ensure decent working and living conditions, but called for stronger implementation measures including monitoring of places were domestic workers are employed.
Source Credit: Gulf Daily News