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Domestic helper salary could range between KD 100-120: Indian envoy

KUWAIT: The monthly salary for domestic workers in Kuwait has been set to range between KD 100 and KD 120 per month, considering that this amount is equitable to both workers and the Kuwaiti families, Indian Ambassador to Kuwait Sibi George told local daily Al-Qabas on Saturday.

In a statement on the sidelines of the celebration of the birth anniversary of renowned Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore at the Indian Embassy, George said the Public Authority of Manpower (PAM) defines the rights of workers as it seeks to regulate the recruitment of domestic workers to Kuwait. He explained that negotiations with PAM are continuing on bringing down the costs of recruiting domestic helpers to the country for Kuwaiti families.

India and Kuwait had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on labor in June 2021, leveraging cooperation between the countries on recruitment of domestic workers. The MoU brings Indian domestic workers in Kuwait within the ambit of a legal framework, streamlines their recruitment and provides them with protection of law.

Answering another question, George said the Indian Embassy in Kuwait has recommenced issuance of tourist visas, including multiple-entry visas, to Kuwaitis, adding obtaining an entry visa to India takes only a few hours. He explained India has lifted all restrictions related to the coronavirus and is ready to receive Kuwaiti tourists. He called on Kuwaitis to visit his country this summer, noting that the number of visa applications is expected to rise this year.

New decisions

In other news, Al-Qabas daily also reported on Sunday that Justice Minister Jamal Al-Jalawi issued a ministerial decision amending some regulations in the domestic help law, stipulating that sponsors are required to bear the cost of feeding the domestic helper, as well as providing them with clothing and medical care.

The new regulations, approved by the Public Authority for Manpower, set the conditions under which a domestic helper’s sponsorship can be transferred from one employer to another in certain cases, including the sponsor or anyone living in the same house being convicted of sexual harassment of a domestic helper through verbal or physical acts. Other conditions include death of the sponsor, divorce, marriage of the helper in the country, and the sponsor’s loss of qualification.

The helper’s rights

The new regulations prevent any deduction of financial dues owed to the helper. Furthermore, the regulations ban employers from reporting domestic helpers for absence from work after the worker files a complaint at relevant departments. Instead, the worker must be registered as a resident of the expatriate labor shelter. This ban can be lifted two months after the complaint is settled or the case is referred to the judiciary. This can help guarantee extra protection to the helpers.

Article 31 fines a sponsor who is late in paying the wages of their domestic helper past the seventh day of the due date KD 10 for each month. The helper is entitled to a paid annual leave of at least 30 days after spending 11 months at work, a weekly paid rest day (24 continuous hours) following six working days, while extra working hours should not exceed two, according to the regulations.

The regulations also set a new condition to issuing licenses for domestic help offices, which is submitting an unconditional and un-revokable financial guarantee letter from a local bank of a value of KD 40,000 for offices and establishments and KD 100,000 for companies.

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