In a move that affirms Qatar doesn’t need to bend on salary and rights issues for domestic workers, Bangladesh has agreed to send housemaids here for $205 (QR750) a month, Qatar Tribune reports.
That’s half of the pay demanded by the Philippines, whose nationals account for the majority of the maids here. Manila has seen an unofficial ban on maid visas since December of last year after attempts to enforce a $400 (QR1,460) monthly minimum wage for its domestic workers.
“We have no demands like QR1,000 per month as salary for housemaids,” a senior Bangladeshi embassy official told the newspaper.
The agreement with Bangladesh, which is also sending maids to Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, and elsewhere, comes at a time when Qatar is hoping to increase the availability of domestic workers here.
That need is driven in part by the nation’s booming population and economy, but also in part by increasing demand for better working conditions among nations it currently hires maids from.
Up until last month, only women from a handful of countries, including the Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia and Nepal could work as housemaids in Qatar. Now, unskilled domestic help will also come from Bosnia, Macedonia, Cambodia, Vietnam and Bangladesh, which Qatar hopes to hire some 30,000 maids from, Qatar Tribune reports.
Meanwhile, a GCC-wide draft law on domestic workers is up for a vote by the region’s labor ministers in October. If implemented, it would give maids fixed working hours and end of service benefits, among other things.
However, a clause guaranteeing one day off a week for the workers has been a stumbling point in negotiations, Al Jazeera English reports.
Credit: Photo for illustrative purposes only by S. Mojumder/Drik/CIMMYT