Indonesia gets tough on maids’ return to Saudi

Indonesia has set tough terms to lift a ban on the travel of its housemaids to Saudi Arabia, including payment of their salary on time and giving them enough break time.

Employers must also produce a certificate of good conduct for all family members to the Indonesian embassy in the Gulf Kingdom.

Saudi Arabia, the largest importer of Asian domestic workers in the Middle East, has been locked in negotiations with Indonesia and the Philippines for the return of their housemaids after those two Asian nations enforced curbs on the travel of their labour to the kingdom following a series of incidents involving the torture and death of some of their domestic workers.

Indonesia has sent a copy of a new contract for its domestic servants to the Saudi ministry of labour but has yet to receive response.

The Saudi Arabic language daily Alhiad published a copy of the contract, which it said involved many conditions for lifting the ban on the travel of Indonesian maids to Saudi Arabia, the largest Arab economy.

The contract stresses that employers must pay maids on time at the end of every month and must not demand that their workers to do jobs other than those specified in the contract.

Employers should also grant their maids a weekly day off or pay them extra SR50 for every work day during holidays.

“Maids must also be entitled for a break of at least eight hours every work day while they must not be separated from their husbands in case they work for the same employer…they should also be allowed to make regular contacts with their families at home and the employers must not be allowed to see the letters and other messages between their employees,” the report said.

It said the new contract stresses that maids must be entitled for full health insurance and for a full month salary during sick leaves.

“The proposed contract also stipulates that employers must mention their address, type of house, size and number of floors, family income and a picture showing all members of that family….the contract, a copy of which must be sent to the Indonesian embassy, should also include a certificate of good conduct for the employers and other family members as well as a statement pledging to treat their workers nicely, refrain from any violence and respect human rights.”

More than 1.5 million housemaids from the Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and other Asian and African nations work in Saudi Arabia.

The Kingdom has been under fire from local and foreign human rights groups over the death of some housemaids, who have been reportedly killed by their employers.

Pressure mounted in late 2010 following news that an Indonesian housemaid was severely tortured by its female employer.

Print Email