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Pinoy Abroad

Saudi lifts ban on Pinoy maids, sets minimum salary of $400/month

Giving in to the demands of the Philippine government to protect the rights of domestic workers, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has lifted a one-year ban on the hiring of domestic servants from the Philippines.

According to a report of Emirates 24/7, the Philippines and Saudi signed an accord in Manila last week setting the monthly salary of Filipino helpers in Saudi Arabia at a minimum SR1,500 ($400). The agreement states that Filipino domestic workers will be entitled to the following:  

  • a weekly day off;
  • an annual holiday of at least 30 days;
  • right to keep their passports during their stay in the Gulf Kingdom, and
  • a free ticket to their home country every year.
The agreement likewise stipulates that employers must:
  • bear all fees related to visa, residence, arrival and departure;
  • treat their maids nicely, and
  • avoid forcing them to work at another house.

Quoting the Saudi daily Alhayat, the report said: “Under the agreement, the employer must also open a bank account for the housemaid to transfer her salary to the bank at the end of every month…the employer is also bound to provide the maid with decent housing and food or an allowance for the two.”     

Gulf News said "more than 1.5 million housemaids from the Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and other Asian and African nations work in Saudi Arabia."    

Ban on maids    Starting July 2 last year, Saudi Arabia stopped issuing work visas for domestic workers from the Philippines and Indonesia because of its labor rows with the two countries.

“The Ministry of Labor will stop issuing work visas for domestic workers for the Philippines and Indonesia from Saturday (July 2)," Hattab Bin Saleh Al-Anzi, a spokesman for the Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Labor said, according to report on news site Arab News.

The decision of the Saudi government affected 180,000 domestic workers in Saudi, or about 15 percent of more than 1.2 million Filipinos working there.

According to the report, Al-Anzi said the ministry decided to stop hiring domestic workers from the Philippines and Indonesia after the two countries imposed stricter conditions on prospective Saudi employers. - VVP/HS, GMA News