There is the likelihood that domestic workers in the GCC countries may be entitled to privileges like annual bonus, gratuity and paid annual leave with return air fare, among other things.
One of the largest employers of household workers, the GCC states are currently busy developing a common or unified format of employment contract for household sector workers.
There are proposals at the ministerial level to include in the proposed unified format clauses that ensure the above rights for household workers.
Undersecretaries of labour ministries of the GCC countries are meeting here tomorrow and on their agenda is a discussion on the proposed format.
The undersecretaries are getting together to prepare ground for a meeting of the Ministers of Labor and Social Affairs of member-countries scheduled to be held here on Tuesday.
Among the other issues to be taken up by the undersecretaries and ministers are common challenges being faced by member-countries with regard to meeting their job market needs.
A discussion is also likely on social development in the member-states which mostly relate to the citizenry.
However, the most important issue on the agenda of both the meetings is developing a common employment contract format for household helpers.
The employment contract of a domestic worker in a GCC state is different from the one for private or mixed or public sector worker. A household worker’s contract involves the worker, his or her employer and the manpower agency that has recruited him or her.
One of the other proposals is to make the manpower agency responsible for repatriating a worker at its cost in situations where, presently, either the employer or the state carries that onus on its shoulders.
There is also this proposal that the agency refunds the money an employer has paid as recruitment charges if a maid is sick or pregnant, or if a worker misbehaves and he or she doesn’t know household work.
Presently, there are complaints from many employers that agencies dump in their homes maids who cannot professionally handle household chores.
There will be a provision vide a clause in the employment contract to end it if the worker wishes to do so for some reason.
Needless to say that the common format will have uniform terms and conditions, as well as rights and duties of household workers and a probation period will be determined for the worker during which both the parties would be free to call it quits if they so wish.
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