Maids asked to compensate sponsors for quitting jobs

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RIYADH – The House Helpers’ Affairs Security Center is keeping in custody 31 house helpers for disputes relating to work refusal and payments issues.

These house helpers, who quit their jobs and wanted to be sent back home, have been asked to pay their respective sponsors the amounts they spent on their recruitment. Twenty-five of these house helpers are from Sri Lanka, three from Philippines, and one each from Ethiopia, Chad and India.

The head of the center, Col. Abdulrahman Al-Jerayed, said that the center tried to reason with these workers and convince them to return to work, but they refused.

Their embassies have been informed, and procedures are being finalized to send them back to their countries after they repay the claimed amount.

Last month, a Riyadh Shariah court ordered three Sri Lankan housemaids to pay their sponsors SR43,000, the fees for their recruitment and procurement of residency permits, because they refused to work and insisted on being sent back to their home country.

The sponsors recruited the maids a few months ago and were surprised when they demanded deportation to their home country.

Riyadh police tried several times to talk the housemaids out of quitting their jobs. But when their efforts failed they referred the case to the court.

The housemaids even refused to have their sponsorship transferred to another employer.

They are being held at the center and won’t be released until they have paid the amount to the sponsors.

Regulations on the rights and duties of domestic helpers and sponsors, which were approved by the Council of Ministers on July 15 last year, came into force last October.

According to the regulations, a domestic helper does not have the right to reject work, or leave a job, without a valid reason.

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