Indonesia ups minimum pay for maids

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INDONESIA will raise the monthly minimum wage for its citizens working as domestic workers here in Brunei from $250 to $350 today, its embassy here said.

In a memorandum issued by the Indonesian embassy dated March 26, it stated that the new regulation will apply to domestic helpers and formal workers who sign their working contracts starting today.

Formal workers, which include those working in the construction and manufacturing industries, will see their wages increased from $16 to $18 (for eight working hours).

Speaking to The Brunei Times, Minister Counsellor at the Indonesian Embassy in Brunei Muhammad Gufran said the terms of working contracts signed before April 1 would remain the same until the contract has been terminated.

He added that new working contracts would only be approved if employers agreed to the new regulation.

Earlier in February, the Philippine Overseas Labour Office said Filipino domestic workers, unskilled workers and semi-skilled workers will be entitled to a minimum salary of US$400 ($520) per month.

However, Muhammad said the wage increase is still low compared to their Philippines counterpart and that the salary raise is still lower than in Brunei’s neighbouring countries.

The memorandum also stated that employers must provide a resting period of at least nine hours in a day and a day off once a week for the workers. Employers who do not provide a day off or sufficient resting time must compensate the workers.

“This is actually basic human (rights). This is a regulation under the International Labour Organisation. How can anyone work without any rest the whole week? Employers can ask domestic helpers to work during the weekend but they must be compensated in wages,” he said.

The memorandum put forward several provisions that employment agencies have to abide by with regards the placement and protection of the workers. The provisions are as follows:

1) Recruitment of Indonesian workers, especially domestic workers, have to go through agencies involved in the placement of Indonesian workers (PPTKIS) in Indonesia and employment agencies in Brunei by applying for a job order and recruitment agreement set by the Indonesian government.

2) Each agency in Brunei is required to prepare a working contract with the employer, whether for new workers, workers who change employers or workers who renew their contracts. The contracts must be signed at the Indonesian Embassy in Brunei.

Muhammad said the memorandum had been distributed to employment agencies in the country.

The Brunei Times