Domestic workers in Kuwait can sometimes have really tough jobs. They work in large houses with big families running errands from cleaning, washing, cooking, and entertaining the children for exceptionally low salaries. We should be grateful for them, yet some people take advantage of them, or even worse, speak about them or refer to them as commodities, selling them back and forth or putting up ads referring to their domestic worker as property.
Question: I got my domestic worker more than 100 working days ago and now I am not happy with her service. She does not want to take care of my kids anymore. The office does not want to return her. What should I do?
Fajer: Let us make one thing clear: there are laws that organize the relationship between domestic workers and their employers and it is a work relationship. I understand that you have a contract with an office but your domestic helper is not an item that you have purchased. Please be nice to her. Please treat her like a human being., the same way you would want to be treated by your employer. Be considerate. As her employer, if the 100 days pass and you would like to terminate her, then you will have to face consequences. You need to give her notice and you need to make sure she returns to her home country safely or finds another job and then transfer her residency.
Question: I know that hiring a domestic worker is a responsibility and it is my first time. What advice can you give me?
Fajer: I am glad you understand that it is a responsibility. It is very important that you understand this. Here is some advice that hopefully is helpful:
1. Please make sure any domestic worker that you hire get to keep her passport.
2. I know that you might want to lock your house at all times, especially if you have kids, but make sure you do not lock domestic workers in.
3. They should not be working more than 12 hours a day, that means the other 12 hours they can do what they want.
4. They should have a day off once a week. This is the law. Please let them go where they want.
5. If your hiring them because you want them to be nannies, please make sure they have experience and that they understand that.
6. They deserve bonuses, termination indemnity, and other monetary benefits.
I hope the above was helpful, if you have any further questions please email me at [email protected]. If you are a domestic worker in Kuwait and you are in danger, please email me.
By Attorney Fajer Ahmed