Please be goods to your workers

Talal Al-Ghannam

Good morning dear and honorable friends. In this article, I will try to analyze a specific case in Kuwait which always seems to be a controversial social issue. The case I am discussing today is the issue of allowing female domestic workers to go out on their supposed day off, and giving them permission to use their phones, as well as the possible consequences that may arise as a result.

The majority of Kuwaiti and other families here in Kuwait object such thing and totally stand against it, believing that giving domestic workers the right for a day off and to have possession of a mobile phone could lead to serious and grave consequences such as engaging in immoral activities, running away, and many others. Other families argue that their helpers do not want to go out on their day off, saying that: “We keep telling them to go out and enjoy life, but they are scared to go out and meet strangers.” On the other hand, some families say that they take their helpers with them everywhere they go, and in that case, they believe that there is no need for the maid to go out alone.

My opinion regarding this matter is that, first of all, it is illegal to breach the contract between the worker and the employer by not giving the employee a day off as listed in the contract. Second, I believe that the argument that a worker can go out, have a relationship and ‘get pregnant’ is weak, especially that we have many cases in which maids were subjected to rape inside their sponsors’ houses and got pregnant that way. Third, no one in the world can prevent a person from using a mobile phone, as it is a personal and significant right. The worker must have her own phone to check on her kids, family, parents, or even to play games during her spare time. Isn’t she a human being? Doesn’t she have emotions, feelings and the desire to enjoy life? Or is she a machine made only for the sponsor’s own satisfaction? The worker has every right to have all stipulations listed in the contract honored, and in case one party fails to do so, a case must be filed and those breaching the contract must be brought to justice. Otherwise, keep those helpless workers in their countries with their loved ones, instead of humiliating them by bringing them here and depriving them from basic necessities of life.

I always say that sponsors must put themselves in their workers’ shoes and see if they can tolerate being deprived of going out or having to use a mobile phone. We use our smart phones more than anything else nowadays. So, why do some sponsors want to deprive those helpless workers from using their own phones to check on their kids and parents, who have to live through the distress of being away from a dear loved one who traveled abroad to earn a decent living?

Last but not least, a call to all sponsors: Please treat your workers well. Trust them, give them the chance to enjoy life as you do, draw a smile on their faces, help and assist them with work as did our beloved Prophet Mohammad (peace and blessing be upon him). If you trust them, then they would trust you back and would not betray you. My last word is that there are lots of great sponsors here in Kuwait, and my article is only about those who do not fear Allah.

Till the next article insha Allah.

By Talal Al-Ghannam

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