The Philippines’ Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is set to move for the partial lifting of the deployment ban on Filipino workers to Kuwait following a fruitful meeting between a Philippine labor delegation and Kuwaiti officials.
Following this meeting, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III shared that he will recommend to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Governing Board the relaxation of the deployment ban after the Kuwaiti government agreed to sign an agreement on a standard employment contract for Filipino household service workers.
PH Gov’t Eyes Partial Lifting of Kuwait Ban
In line with this development, Bello revealed that the lifting of a total ban would only follow once an official status report was provided by the Kuwaiti government on the cases of Jeanelyn Villavende, Constancia Dayag, Joanna Demafelis and the Filipina who was raped upon arriving at the airport, as shared in a report by the Manila Standard.
Bello said: “In the case of Villavende, I wanted some validation of their claim that they [accused employers] are formally charged and they are behind bars. We have to be contented who have been charged and what is the nature of the charges.“
Once the partial lifting of the deployment ban has been issued, Bello shared that they will allow skilled, semi-skilled and professional workers to be deployed in Kuwait, while newly hired household workers are still covered by the prohibition.
On the other hand, the Balik Manggagawa workers category will be the subject of discussion and decision of the POEA governing board.
Last week, Secretary Bello, Undersecretary Claro Arellano, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration head Hans Leo Cacdac, and Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) chief Bernard Olalia had met with Kuwaiti officials to discuss and agree on a standard employment contract to ensure the welfare and protection of Filipino workers in the Gulf state.
The key points raised on the standard employment contract include prohibiting employers from keeping any of the worker’s personal identity documents such as passport, and the entitlement of a worker to own a phone and use it outside working hours provided that she keeps the secrets and privacy of the household, and use such phone in a manner consistent with public morals.
Moreover, the Filipino workers are also entitled to a paid full day per week break and must not work for more than 12 hours a day. The worker should be allowed to have no less than an hour break after five consecutive hours of work, and the right to at least eight hours of consecutive rest at night.
Accordingly, employers are also prohibited to assign a domestic worker to work outside Kuwait or be transferred to another employer without the worker’s written consent. If this occurs without the agreement of the worker, the worker will be returned to the Philippines at the expense of the employer.
And finally, the employer is to ensure the worker an adequate life and is obliged to provide medical treatment by registering her in the health system applicable in Kuwait.