From Arab News this morning:
JEDDAH, 31 May 2007 — A new system of insurance for housemaids is currently under study in Saudi Arabia, according to Saad Al-Baddah, head of the National Committee for Labor Recruitment.
“The system is aimed at safeguarding the interests of employers who incur financial losses when their maids do not fulfill contractual obligations or run away,” Al-Baddah told Arab News yesterday. The insurance will, among other things, cover the cost of sending back unwanted maids, which used to be the responsibility of the employers.
A meeting of labor officials, employer representatives and insurance companies will be held in Riyadh on July 4 to draft new regulations related to the scheme.
Some countries already have insurance schemes for maids employed overseas. “We already have an insurance scheme for our workers, maids in particular, so that they are taken care of during their service abroad. The scheme provides insurance coverage to them in the event of death, accident or hospitalization,” S.P. Dharmakirti, consul at the Indonesian Consulate General, told Arab News.
Saudi Arabia is the largest employer of overseas maids. At least 10 percent of the maids escape from their original employers for many reasons, notably non-payment of wage, physical abuse and sexual harassment.