Saudi Gazette report
RIYADH — More than 60 percent of domestic workers run away from their sponsors, according to a Shoura Council member.
Shoura Council member Awadh Al-Asmary said the Ministry of Labor should draft new regulations to protect and compensate Saudi citizens.
“A total of 530,000 domestic workers ran away from their workplace last year,” he said.
Minister of Labor replied to Al-Asmary saying that 96 percent of the ministry’s procedures are done online. The ministry’s website and service portal were designed according to preset programs, he said, adding that Al-Asmary’s suggestion will require new electronic systems.
He, however, said that the ministry was looking into other alternatives to ensure the rights of citizens, recruiters and expatriates.
Shoura Council member Jubran Al-Qahtani said the Ministry of Labor should make uniform regulations for private and public sector employees.
“The Kingdom should have one system for workers in both sectors. All matters pertaining to workers’ rights, salaries, compensation, promotion, bonus and work hours should be the same in the two sectors,” said Al-Qahtani.
Abdullah Ahmed Al-Maghlouth, economic consultant and member of Investments and Securities Committee at the Capital Market Authority (CMA), said: “The number of housemaids working in the Kingdom exceed 1.5 million.” “The cost for recruitment of a housemaid ranges from $5,327 to $6,659. The cost rises in Ramadan and the festival (Eid) seasons,” he added.
Despite drastic changes to recruitment and employment laws in Saudi Arabia and new work terms and conditions ratified by domestic workers and their respective employers, housemaids all over the country continue to flee their sponsors.
And while maids can seek justice in the Kingdom’s courts with the help of their embassies, sponsors are left in the lurch when a worker runs away.
They are forced to absorb losses in the form of recruitment and other associated fees.
While steps have been taken to protect and guarantee the rights of domestic workers in recent years, citizens on the other hand have not been afforded similar rights and protection from domestic workers who run away, al-Riyadh daily reports.