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Pinoy Abroad

DMW: OFW protections included in new Saudi-specific employment contract

After the Philippines and Saudi Arabia agreed on reforms in labor policies for migrant workers, a country-specific employment contract for overseas Filipino workers bound for the kingdom will include protections for OFWs, Department of Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople said on Saturday.

“For the first time magkakaroon na tayo ng country specific employment contract. Yung contrata na ito specific sa OFWs bound for Saudi," said Ople on Super Radyo dzBB.

"Nandoon na yung insurance coverage para sa domestic workers. Ang magbabayad n’yan ‘yung Saudi employers. Yung insurance coverage din para sa skilled at construction workers ang magbabayad n’yan Saudi government. Ang covered insurance, kung sakali na bankrupt yung kompanya, sagot ng insurance ‘yung unpaid salaries,” she added.

“Hindi na mangyayari 'yung katulad na noon - ilang taon na hindi pa nababayaran.”

The agreement also included a pre-termination clause that would specifically allow a domestic worker to transfer to or change employers before the end of the contract based on specific grounds, such as the non-payment of salary and cases of abuse/maltreatment.

“Yung insurance ang magpapalit ng deployment costs sa ahensya at employment. So hindi na mangyayari yung kailangan ma-hostage yung OFW hanggat hindi naibabalik yung nagastos nila,” she said.

In addition, the Saudi Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (MHRSD) now considers passport confiscation as a human trafficking indicator.

“So pag nalaman namin na binawi yung passport, ire-report sa ministry. Sila bahala magpatawag at magpapa-explain sa employer. Part ng partnership,” she said.

Meanwhile, Ople also shared that they have set guidelines for blacklisted and whitelisted recruitment agencies, foreign recruitment agencies, and KSA employers of those who can legally participate in the resumption of deployment of OFWs in Saudi Arabia.

“Ngayon yung mga agency dapat nasa whitelist ng parehong bansa, bago mapagpadala ng Filipino worker.”

Ople said the public could expect the release of the whitelisted recruitment agencies next week.

“Dun sila makipag-deal kasi ang ibig sabihin non, matitino yung mga ahensya na yan,” Ople added.

A delegation from Saudi Arabia's MHRSD is expected to arrive in the Philippines next week to discuss important topics, including the OFW's salaries.

The digital payment method will also be implemented, where both countries can monitor and ensure the workers are getting paid.

The employment contract of OFWs in Saudi Arabia is usually good for two years. Still, DMW is discussing with the Saudi government to make it a one-year contract and let the workers take their time to decide whether to renew or not.

The deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) will resume on November 7, 2022 following the lifting of the deployment ban on the kingdom. — DVM, GMA Integrated News