Filipino waiting for applications at a job fair hiring for overseas works. Photo credit: arabianbusiness.com
MANILA: Despite a legal analysis pointing to benefit domestic helpers under the UAE’s new contract policy, a group of recruitment agencies in the Philippines is strongly opposing the move saying their offices will stop deploying maids to the UAE starting next month.
The Philippine Manpower Agencies for the United Arab Emirates (PAMA-UAE) said in a statement released on Sunday it will stop deploying maids to the UAE starting July to express its disappointment over the new law.
“Local recruitment agencies will stop deploying Household Service Workers (HSWs) to the UAE by July this year as the UAE Ministry of Labor implements a unified contract that is not in conformity with the HSW Reform Package standard employment contract of the POEA,” Recruitment consultant Emmanuel Geslani said in the statement.
He noted that the new UAE directive prevents Philippine labor attaches in Dubai and Abu Dhabi from verifying and attesting the HSW standard employment contract that is required by the POEA for processing HSWs deployment.
“Officers of the association were advised that only the standard HSW employment contract will be honored by the POEA for deployment to the UAE and that any violation of the HSW package will merit the cancellation of the license of the agency,” said Geslani.
But in an interview with The Filipino Times, Atty. Michael Barney Almazar of Gulf Law said the UAE’s new policy on hiring maids would actually benefit the workers, not just from the Philippines but elsewhere like Indonesia, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka and so on.
“The proposed changes will afford better protection to domestic helpers who normally do not have any voice as to the terms of their employment by making the following as mandatory: paid weekly day off; paid annual leave-14 days; sick leave of up to 30 days/year; employment agent shall be liable for repatriation costs of the helper should the maid fail to meet the agreed standards/level of competency agreed upon in the contract, and: employee must be paid before the 10th of the following month,” he said.
But Geslani pointed out the UAE standard contract has no provision for the minimum $400 salary for Filipino HSWs required by the POEA.
“The salary for HSW is negotiable between worker and employer,” he said.
In 2012, about 15,000 domestic workers were deployed to the UAE, making it one of the top destinations for Filipino HSWs.
There are approximately 750,000 domestic helpers in the UAE, majority of them are from the Philippines, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka.