SOURCE : EMIRATES TODAY
DUBAI - AUG 08: India has set a minimum wage for its nationals working as housemaids in the UAE and 17 other countries. From September 1, they should be paid $400 (1,469) a month, on par with that stipulated by the Government of the Philippines for housemaids currently working within the UAE.
The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs states in a directive, a copy of which is with Emirates Today, that a pre-paid mobile phone is to be provided by the employer to every household service worker.
The new stipulation is based on recommendations from the inter-ministerial meeting held last month for the protection and welfare of women working in the UAE.
It is going to be a costly affair for those who plan to employ Indian women as housemaids as the ministry is now asking the UAE authorities to insist on a bank guarantee for $2,500 (Dh9,195) to be furnished by the employ er and attested by the Indian missions. Emigration clearance will not be granted if the attested bank guarantee is not furnished.
Vayalar Ravi, Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs, said the minimum rate will also apply to butlers, cooks and drivers. “Indians, especially women, who go abroad as unskilled workers are terribly vulnerable,” he said.
“They receive a pittance as salary and are at the mercy of their employers. And unlike those with office jobs they are confined to their employers’ homes. So we thought it was time to bring in measures to protect them.” The minimum wage has been calculated on the basis of the salary structure in India and to enable housemaids from the country to compete with other nationals.
A ministry official said: “In India, a person working in a similar capacity will be paid between Dh136 and Dh273. So we arrived at Dh1,469 because it is well over what people receive in India and at the same time not so high as to be a deterrent.” Visa applications for Indian maids have to be attested by their embassy or consulate and will not be approved if the salary to be paid is less than the minimum rate.
Currently there are two salary structures in the UAE for housemaids. Families sponsoring a maid and providing a visa and other facilities pay between Dh500 and Dh600 a month.
Those recruiting maids who already have a visa pay between Dh1,200 and Dh1,400. Priya, who works as a doctor in a clinic in Deira, said the new structure will further increase the burden on families trying to employ maids.
“The costs of bringing in a housemaid are so high that many of my friends now employ runaway housemaids from within the country,” she said.
“I myself am looking to recruit a housemaid living in Dubai. Two others who were working with me for Dh600 ran away to obtain higher salaries.” In Dubai, employers have to deposit Dh5,000 at the Naturalisation and Residency Department, when they apply for a visa for a housemaid.