Colombo moves to protect its maids

Updated 11 July 2013

Colombo moves to protect its maids

Sri Lankan women seeking foreign employment as housemaids will not be allowed to go abroad after July 15 unless they can maintain stable homes in their absence from the island, a Sri Lankan government minister told Arab News yesterday.
This is among new measures that also ensure the protection of these workers abroad, including a minimum wage, adequate rest time and a minimum age limit of 25.
Speaking from Colombo, Minister for Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare of Sri Lanka Dilan Perera said his government would do background checks on women wanting to work overseas.
“The conduct of the husband, the number of infants and children, protection and education of children after their mother goes abroad, the age and the health of the woman would be considered from July 15 when issuing permission to go abroad for employment,” the minister said.
Perera said the Sri Lankan government is faced with the challenge of protecting the rights of their workers abroad and at home.
“The maids face problems such as harassment, delayed wages and breach of contract in the host countries, while their families back home face serious socioeconomic problems,” the minister said.
Sri Lankan missions abroad have been informed about the scheme, he said.
Spelling out details of the new scheme, Mangala Randeniya, deputy general manager of the Sri Lankan Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE), told Arab News that it includes a minimum wage, working hours of the maids and the type of training given back home.
Randeniya said the minimum age limit for housemaids working in Saudi Arabia would be 25 years and a minimum monthly wage of SR 900. Maids would have to undergo a 21-day training course before being posted overseas.
Maids would in future be given the title “Domestic Housekeeping Assistants.” They should also be allowed at least eight hours sleep a day, he said.
“These conditions are laid down in the new job contracts between the Sri Lankan job agent and the Saudi recruitment company. We will hold the Sri Lankan job agents responsible for any violations of the accepted contracts,” Randeniya said.
Regarding the recruitment of other workers, he said the SLBFE would assist the companies in the host countries to train the workers. “We have well established training centers to update the skills of prospective foreign workers,” he said. Trainers are also provided to help employers in their workplaces.
“An innovative mechanism is currently being developed in Sri Lanka to implement job-specific, country-specific and company-specific training programs for the citizens who seek foreign opportunities,” he said.
Regarding complaints from housemaids, he said they were minimal in relation to the housemaid population in the Kingdom. Around 80 percent of the island's workers in the Kingdom are housemaids.

Saudi Arabia plans to create 561,000 jobs under new digital employment initiative

Updated 24 April 2019

Saudi Arabia plans to create 561,000 jobs under new digital employment initiative

  • Qiwa program aims to achieve the Vision 2030 goal of reducing unemployment rate to 7 percent

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has revealed ambitious plans to create more than 561,000 private-sector jobs by 2023 as part of a new digital era for the Kingdom’s labor market.

Minister of Labor and Social Development Ahmad Al-Rajhi made the announcement at the launch of the Qiwa online platform, which aims to combine all the country’s employment services under one electronic roof.

Through digitalization, the Ministry of Labor and Social Development hopes to not only boost job opportunities for Saudi men and women, but also improve workplace efficiency and productivity, and attract international investment.

Al-Rajhi said: “The ministry has entered into partnerships and agreements to settle more than 561,000 job opportunities in the private sector until 2023,” and the minister added that 45,000 Saudis had entered the labor market in the last three months.

The new labor force platform will consolidate employment-related e-services already offered to job seekers, employees and employers and plans are in the pipeline to plug a further 71 services into the system.

The Qiwa program aims to provide Saudi government officials with a data mine of statistical information to tackle business challenges facing employers and employees, help create new job opportunities, and achieve the Vision 2030 goal of reducing the country’s unemployment rate to 7 percent. Another key objective is to strategically enhance the Kingdom’s business environment to make it more attractive to local and international investors.

A ministry statement issued to Arab News, said: “The Qiwa platform will have an impact on motivating investors. It will also re-engineer policies and procedures for all services provided to individuals and enterprises on a strong platform that will make a quantum leap in the business world and turn the Saudi market into an attractive market for opportunities and potential for competencies.

“The services are provided in both Arabic and English in order to enable foreign investors to benefit from the services of a strong platform,” the statement added.

The e-services include programs to encourage Saudis to access jobs in their locality by improving the workplace environment and making it more appealing to men and women.

The Kingdom’s public sector is quickly adapting to international standards and labor market demands by digitalizing services, while the ministry is using the latest business management methods to help public organizations increase the competency and productivity of workers while creating a competitive labor market that can partner with the private sector.