MANILA — The deployment of household service workers (HSWs) to Kuwait will now resume after the temporary ban on the sending of such workers has been lifted by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) announced on Friday.
Under POEA Governing Board Resolution 7, approved on Thursday, the government will now resume the processing and deployment of all types of workers bound for the Gulf state.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, who is also POEA governing board chairman, said the lifting of the ban was reached in view of the filing of charges against the suspects in the killing of OFW Jeanelyn Villavende.
“After due consultation with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) 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 in a news release.
Last month, the DOLE imposed a total ban on the deployment of OFWs to Kuwait following the findings by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) that the OFW was sexually abused and brutally murdered.
She reportedly died in the hands of her Kuwaiti employers last December.
Earlier this month, the DOLE partially lifted the deployment ban to Kuwait only for skilled, semi-skilled, and professional workers.
This came after Manila and Kuwait City agreed to the implementation of a harmonized employment contract for Filipino domestic workers.
The salient provisions of the signed document between the two countries 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 a one-hour break after five consecutive hours of work, and the right to at least eight hours of consecutive night’s rest.
Employers are also prohibited from assigning a domestic worker to work outside 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.
Government data showed that more than 50 percent of nearly 250,000 documented workers in Kuwait are HSWs. (PR)