We must work together

Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) team is working on liaisoning domestic workers and employment agencies in Bahrain to ease the agony prevailing in the sector, it has been revealed.

This role has been part of the LMRA’s responsibility by law, however, it has not been assumed since its inception, noted LMRA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ausamah Al Absi.He yesterday urged key players in domestic workers’ sector – governments, employees/employers and agencies – to assume their rightful responsibilities to spare antagonising outcomes common in the sector.

“If we want to bring up the level of treatment of humans involved in the sector, we must work together,” he said.

The three parties involved in the sending country and Bahrain need to work hand in hand, he said.

“The problem with the domestic work sector is that the employer is not a legally recognised employer, company or an NGO,” he said noting that the sector has a very large potential of abuse. “Nobody but a court order has the authority to inspect homes as the constitution respects sanctity of homes.”

Mr Al Absi highlighted that it was important to educate the domestic worker and employers on their rights.

“The big part in the whole exercise is managing expectations – an employer who pays BD800- 1,000 for a domestic help expects the best,” said Mr Al Absi. “But what the employer fails to realise is that the employee is opting for a domestic help’s job because she or he is not skilled enough to take up another job.”

He suggested that workers are trained in the home country through a familiarisation session in order to face new situations in a foreign country.

“Provide the person with contact numbers of the embassy, human rights organisations, LMRA and police,” he said, adding that the sending country’s government has the access to the individual and hence can also demand the contract copy and insist on all these procedures.

Bahrain limits housemaid visas to employers with a certain salary scale and above to ensure that she /he is treated well and provided with the promised pay, he explained, noting that nobody regulates the agents and the issue should be seriously addressed.

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