The Philippines and the United Arab Emirates have agreed to resume the deployment of Filipino household service workers to the Middle Eastern country starting March 31, the Department of Labor and Employment announced.
The DOLE on Tuesday said that after a two-day joint committee meeting in Manila, the two countries signed a “historic” accord that provides more protection for Filipino household workers in the UAE. Deployment of household workers to the UAE has been suspended since 2014.
Labor Undersecretary Claro Arellano, head of the Philippine delegation, said the deployment will be covered by a “Unified Employment Contract” similar to the standard agreement with Kuwait. The contract states that the employer, as well as the foreign and Philippine recruitment agencies, will be held liable should anything happen to the Filipino workers.
Arellano said the contract is provided as an addendum to the Memorandum of Understanding on Labor Cooperation with Annex Protocol on Domestic Workers.
It applies specific instructions from President Rodrigo Duterte that ensures workers have at least eight continuous hours of sleep every night, a paid break outside the home of the employer at least one full day every week, the right to keep his or her passport or identification documents, the right to have and use cellphones and other communication devices without getting confiscated by the employer, the right to open a bank account under the worker’s name, and the right to cook his or her own food.
During the meeting, the parties also agreed that the Philippine overseas labor office shall be notified whenever a tourist visa is converted into a work visa. However, the department noted that the Philippines is against converting tourist visas into work visas, adding that the UAE vowed to provide a modified contract taking this into account. But the addendum on the resumption of deployment will already be implemented, the DOLE said.