The Indian ambassador in Doha has proposed creation of a central pool of domestic workers to protect the interests of both employers and employees, and to end exploitation.
The pool of household employees like maids and drivers could be governed by a specialized organization under the responsibility of the Qatari government. The organization could sponsor the employees while the citizens of Qatar would be only employers.
This will lead to a win-win situation, and “satisfy the requirements of both sides”, Dr George Joseph told Gulf Times.
The operative principle of the model is to separate the power of sponsorship from the power of employment of Indian household employees (IHE). The specialized organization could be a government department, a government corporation of a socially committed institution, he explained. Such a body should be vested with the exclusive right of sponsoring all IHEs and the full responsibility for their rights and well-being.
The organization could deploy IHEs, or any household employees, with Qatari employers under an agreement whereby food, accommodation, medical care and incidentals will be given to the employee by the sponsor.
Besides, an agreed sum of money will be deposited by the employer with the organisation. From this amount, the organization has to pay the employee’s salary into his/her bank account.
Representatives of the organization should have the right to visit the employees periodically to ensure that the terms of the contract are observed by both parties.
According to the proposal, the passports and other documents should be kept by the organisation, which will be responsible for renewing them.
Besides, it would end all scope for allegations of non-payment of salaries, absconding and illegal stay, Dr Joseph said. The system would also make domestic service in Qatar attractive and thus draw better quality of people.
The ambassador said he had discussed the proposal with some government officials and they were receptive to the idea. He said the proposal was being made in view of the “serious deterioration” of the conditions of life and employment of Indian household employees.
Household employees do not have the protection of Qatar’s labor laws. He said since January 2007 more than 195 housemaids had sought refuge at the embassy, following complaints of physical torture and sexual abuse.
During the same period, more than 15 males had been taken by their sponsors to Saudi Arabia and allegedly abandoned in the desert, without proper papers, food, water or medical attention.
The GCC law allows a citizen of a member country to take his employees to another member country to work in his estate but does not require the sponsor to bring the person back.
The problems and suggested solutions were equally applicable to all GCC countries, the ambassador said.
Source: Gulf Times