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‘Domestic workers face poor working conditions in Jordan’

By Elizabeth Turnbull - Aug 04,2019 - Last updated at Aug 04,2019

AMMAN — Experts warn about poor working conditions for domestic helpers in Jordan. Of the 30,000 unregistered and 50,000 registered domestic workers in the Kingdom, some are subject to long working hours, delayed payments, confiscation of documents and deprivation of days off.

“The majority of domestic workers are subjected to severe violations amounting to the level of forced labour,” Ahmad Awad, Director of the Phenix Centre told The Jordan Times on Sunday.

Awad said that the poor working conditions of domestic workers are a result of the failure of policies and government actions to significantly improve working conditions and “a relative social acceptance” of such violations. 

“The most prominent of these violations are long working hours, no weekends, no annual leave, and delayed receipt of salary.  Sometimes domestic workers are even deprived of their salary and their travel documents,” Awad said.

Most domestic helpers come from the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Kenya, which, according to Suliman Jamaani, the chair of the Independent Federation of Trade Unions, means that they are unable to be members of trade unions.

“They have a lot of problems, many of them may be facing harassment and violence,” Jamaani said. 

Awad said that Jordanians do not want to hold jobs as domestic workers due to the model of such work, as domestic workers often stay in the homes of their employers, in addition to the low economic return of this work in terms of wages. 

“We as human rights defenders have to deal with domestic helpers as workers,” Awad said. ”They have rights.”

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