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Posted On: 15 November 2008 03:10 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:08 pm

Domestic dilemma

Khalifa Al Haroon
Khalifa Al Haroon
Your friendly neighborhood Qatari
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People are against the government restricting families to hiring not more than two domestic workers, a proposal for which has been made. The General Secretariat of Development and Planning (GSDP) has forwarded a proposal to various government agencies asking them not to allow a family to employ more than one maid and one driver. According to the Permanent Population Committee at the GSDP, the proposal is aimed at keeping under check what it describes as the huge influx of domestic workers into the country. The number of domestic workers here has been rising alarmingly and is currently estimated by the GSDP at around 72,000. According to community sources, Qatari households comprising seven members have on average four domestic workers — usually two maids, a cook and a driver. Resident families tend to be economical in recruiting household staff. Some joint families tend to hire large fleets of domestic staff. The GSDP has proposed that manpower agencies be empowered to hire domestic workers and supply them for employment to households on a daily or monthly basis and that the workers be paid on an hourly basis. If the proposal is accepted, recruiters would have to not only hire maids, drivers and cooks from overseas but also provide them accommodation and drop them — especially the maids — at their workplace each morning and bring them back in the evening. Families needing more than two household helpers would be required to pay “huge” fines and only then would they be allowed the “privilege”. “It is not a good idea to restrict us in hiring household workers. The government has no right to intervene in such matters,” said Ahmed Al Sheeb, a former member of the Central Municipal Council (CMC). Psychologist Dr Moza Al Malki said that although she was against households relying on maids and drivers, some families that had six or more children were forced to employ several maids and drivers. A maid usually takes a child to school and brings it back when both of the parents are working. Drivers are also needed mainly to ferry children to school and back. “The proposal is okay but the restrictions should be imposed in a gradual and phased manner to be successful,” suggested Al Malki. The Pen Notice what the author of this article wrote. "A maid usually takes a child to school and brings it back when both of the parents are working. Drivers are also needed mainly to ferry children to school and back." Children are 'its' now.