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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 13 November 2018

Kuwait sets minimum wage for maids

Interior minister's decree also limits working hours and provides for weekly day off, annual paid leave and end-of-service benefit.

Kuwait City // Kuwait has set a minimum wage for its hundreds of thousands of mostly Asian domestic staff, according to local media.

A decree issued by interior minister Sheikh Mohammad Khaled Al Sabah set the minimum wage at 60 dinars (Dh730) a month and also granted domestic staff a raft of other rights, Al Anbaa newspaper reported on Thursday.

The decree, which implements landmark legislation adopted by parliament last year, also requires employers to pay overtime for any extra hours worked.

It grants domestic workers the right to a weekly day off, 30 days of annual paid leave, a 12-hour working day with rest, and an end-of-service benefit of one month’s pay a year at the end of contract.

The estimated 600,000 maids in Kuwait are among at least 2.4 million working across the Gulf. They are not covered by ordinary labour legislation.

Rights groups have documented abuses, including non-payment of wages, long working hours with no rest days, physical and sexual assault, and no clear channels for redress.

In November 2014, Gulf and Asian labour ministers agreed on a series of initiatives to increase protection and improve conditions of employment for foreign workers in the Gulf.

Ahead of the conference, GCC labour ministers agreed on minimum terms in the contracts of domestic staff, including a weekly day off, annual leave and the right to live outside their employer’s house. The contract was also to limit the working day to eight hours.

Bahrain has reformed its labour law to extend some benefits to maids, while Saudi Arabia issued a decision last year limiting the hours worked by domestic staff to a maximum of 15 per day and granting one month’s leave after two years of service.

* Agence France-Presse