The Department of Labor and Employment on Friday announced the full resumption of deployment of workers to Kuwait.
The department made the announcement after the governing board of Philippine Overseas Employment Administration on Thursday approved a resolution lifting the deployment ban, and resume the processing and deployment of all types of workers bound to the Gulf estate.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, who chairs the POEA governing board, said the approval was made in view of the filing of charges against the suspected killers of overseas Filipino worker Jeanelyn Padernal Villavende.
“After due consultation with the Department of Foreign Affairs and with the filing of appropriate charges against the perpetrators [in the killing] of OFW Jeanelyn Villavende, the Governing Board of the POEA unanimously approved the lifting of the remaining ban in Kuwait with respect to the deployment of household workers,” Bello said.
Last month, the department imposed a total deployment ban of OFWs to Kuwait following the findings by the National Bureau of Investigation that Villavende was sexually abused and brutally murdered.
However, in view of the approval early this month by the Kuwait and Philippine governments of a harmonized employment contract for Filipino domestic workers in the oil-rich country, the POEA governing board lifted the ban on the processing and deployment of OFWs to Kuwait, except newly-hired and returning domestic workers.
More than 50 percent of close to 250,000 documented workers in Kuwait are household workers.
Bello, Undersecretary Claro Arellano, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration head Hans Leo Cacdac, and Philippine Overseas Employment Administration chief Bernard Olalia recently met with Kuwaiti officials to discuss and agree on a standard employment contract to ensure the welfare and protection of OFWs in the Gulf state.
The salient provisions of the standard employment contract include prohibition for employers to keep any of the worker’s personal identity documents such as passport, and the entitlement of a worker to own a phone and use it outside the working hours provided that she keeps the secrets and privacy of the household, and use such phone in a manner consistent with public morals.
The OFWs are also entitled to a paid full day per week break and must not work for more than 12 hours a day. The worker should be allowed to have no less than an hour break after five consecutive hours of work, and the right to at least eight hours of consecutive night rest.
Employers are also prohibited to assign a domestic worker to work outside of the State of Kuwait or be transferred to another employer without the OFWs’ written consent. If this occurs without the agreement of the worker, the worker will be returned to the Philippines at the expense of the employer.
The employer should ensure the OFWs adequate life and is obliged to provide the medical treatment and nursing by registering her in the health system applicable in Kuwait.
“All of the provisions which President Rodrigo Duterte requested were all granted. The harmonized employment contract should be retroactive and effective immediately,” Bello added.