Employment ban was enforced after death of Filipino maid Jeanelyn Villavende, who was murdered by her Kuwaiti employers
Filipino household service workers (HSWs) can once again travel to Kuwait for employment after a temporary ban was lifted by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).
The move was announced by the Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) and comes after charges were filed in the case of Filipino maid Jeanelyn Villavende, who was murdered by her Kuwaiti employers.
Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello III, said: “After due consultation with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and 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.”
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.
Earlier this month, the DOLE partially lifted the deployment ban to Kuwait only for skilled, semi-skilled, and professional workers.
Harmonised employment contracts
This came after Manila and Kuwait City agreed to the implementation of a harmonised employment contract for Filipino domestic workers.
The 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 the 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 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.