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71.59 % of domestic workers are not aware of Law 68/2015

Majority of domestic workers works for more than ten hours a day

This is the third part of the report on Rights of Domestic Workers Between Legislative System and Enforcement through Law No. 68 of Year 2015 — Editor

Employers usually justify this behavior by referring to the high costs of recruitment they pay, and because they believe that retaining the passports of domestic workers will prevent them from leaving the workplace. They also believe that this will protect them from any legal charge or any behavior or conduct the domestic worker might perform.

However, many domestic workers leave their jobs and seek refuge in the embassies of their countries(106).

6. (56.64%) of employers declared that they did not conclude a contract with the domestic workers. It turns out that the highest percentage represents employers who reported not having made an employment contract, even though the law No. 68/2015 stipulated that domestic workers shall not be employed by employers but under employment contracts (bilateral or tripartite, as the case may be) issued by the Department of Domestic Labour in the Ministry of Interior, written in both English and Arabic languages(107).

This confirms the lack of legal effective protection for domestic workers, at the required level, since law No. 68/2015 does not include procedures that require employers to conclude written employment contracts. This sets a great challenge for us, trying to resituate domestic work from the informal sector to the formal sector, as the written contract vitiates difficulties in proving the existence of the employment relationship and its agreed-upon terms, should a dispute arise between the parties. Given the isolation and vulnerability of domestic workers and the greater likelihood of domestic workers being unfamiliar with their legal rights, the written employment contract plays an important role in empowering domestic workers within the employment relationship(108).

7. Domestic workers respect the instructions given by employers. (84.79%) of employers confirmed that fact. It should be noted that most complaints submitted by domestic workers to the Kuwait Society for Human Rights involved delay of payment or non-payment of wages. This was confirmed by domestic workers while surveying their opinions in their questionnaires. However (89%) of employers claim that they do not delay payment of monthly wages, while (9%) admit that they do. (89% of the total of employers) claim that they do not deduct from the worker’s wage if they committed a mistake or violated instructions, while (9%) of employers adopt the method of deduction from time to time, whereas (2%) reported that they regularly deduct from the wage of the domestic worker if they committed any wrongdoing or violation.

8. (38.15%) of employers declared that domestic workers work for a period of more than ten hours, and (39.88%) of employers stated that they do not remunerate domestic workers for any additional work they perform.

9. (28.90%) of employers refuse to give the domestic workers one rest day weekly, while (42.19%) of them stated that they give them a weekly leave sometimes, though it is one of their fundamental rights stipulated by law. (45.66%) of employers did not allow the domestic workers working for them to leave the house during their rest days.

10. Despite the fact that domestic workers are entitled to an annual leave, (51.44%) of employers refused that, while other employers (13.87%) agreed on giving them their leave, occasionally.

11. The percentage of employers who trusted the domestic workers working for them was high, where (72.25%) of employers reported that they trust domestic workers.

12. (74.56%) of employers declared that they compensate domestic workers working for them for any damages or injuries suffered during work. (55.49%) of employers faced the problem of domestic workers, previously working for them, absconding from the workplace.

13. (53.75%) of employers preferred to find an amicable solution without the intervention of a third party to settle the dispute between them and the domestic worker, (22.54%) referred to the help of recruitment office only, while (40%) believed that their complaints were addressed in a serious way. However, the commitment of domestic workers does not reflect their knowledge of the law, since most of them are not aware of the provisions of the law, and we do not believe that it results from their satisfaction, under the many violations they suffer from.

Therefore, we can relate that the main driver behind the domestic workers’ commitment to the instructions of their employers is the fear of being abused, and that was confirmed in the questionnaire given to them (as will be mentioned in the second part of the findings analysis) about whether they feel comfortable and safe while working for their employer. Most of them declared that they did not feel comfortable or safe. (Study Two) A.Description of the sample’s characteristics. The questionnaire was distributed to (380) domestic workers having different education levels, age ranges, genders and nationalities.

The demographic characteristics of this sample are described below:

• Gender Variable It is revealed from form (24) that men constitute (48%) of the study sample of domestic workers who responded to the questionnaire, while women form (52%) of the total of the study sample aged between (23 and 45 years old).

• Nationality Variable Form number (25) shows that the majority of the study sample of domestic workers are of Indian nationality (218 workers) with a percentage of (63.92%) of the study sample. The rest of the workers were of Sri Lankan (55), Nepali (32), Filipino (26), Ethiopian (6) and Malian (4) nationalities. The tasks entrusted to male domestic workers varied between driving and cooking, while female domestic workers were assigned childcare, home cleaning, and cooking tasks.

• Education Level Variable It is revealed from form number (26) that the majority of the study sample are illiterate equal to (218) with a percentage of (63.92%) of the sample study, while domestic workers holding high school degree are equal to (116) workers with a percentage of (30.52%). It is noticeable that degrees higher than high school are rare with a percentage of (5.56%) due to the fact that most of their work is home work, while few of them head towards raising children and child care where an educated person is more required. B. Domestic Workers’ responses to law no. (68/2015) The responses of the study covered subjects related to the knowledge of domestic workers of law number 68 of 2015, its provisions, implementation, and effectiveness in terms of rights and benefits among which payment of the agreed-upon monthly wage at the end of each month by virtue of a receipt, the obligation to provide the domestic worker with food, clothing, treatment and nursing expenses, provide them with appropriate housing where conditions of a decent living are met, not assign domestic workers any hazardous work that could harm them, gave the domestic workers the rights to have and keep their passports and papers with them, gave the domestic workers the rights to have and keep their passports and papers with them.

The Domestic Workers’ responses to the subjects of the questionnaire were as follows:

1. Are you aware of the existence of law No. 68 of 2015 regarding Domestic Labour in Kuwait? In case your answer was (yes), how do you think the law is dealing with the rights of domestic workers? Form (27) shows that (272 individuals) equivalent to (71.59%) of the domestic workers are not aware of law no. (68/2015), while (40 individuals) of domestic workers stated that they have good knowledge of the law, and (68 individuals) answered that they have knowledge of the law to some extent, with a total of (108 individuals) having knowledge of the law even though at a basic level. However, (85 individuals among them) believe that the law didn’t give them the minimum rights standards as it appears in form number (28), where the percentage of people who are aware of the law is (10.52%) of the domestic workers only.

2. Do you know that you have the right to get a return ticket to your country at the end of the employment contract? Form number (29) shows that (167 individuals) with a percentage of (43.95%) of domestic workers have no knowledge about their right to get a return ticket to their country of origin, after the end of their employment contract, as stipulated by the law; while (213 individuals) of domestic workers are aware of this right, with a percentage of (56.05%) of domestic workers only.

3. Do you know that you have the right to end-of-service benefits at the end of the employment contract? Form number (30) indicates that the largest number of domestic workers (236) with a percentage of (62.11%) of domestic workers are not aware of their rights to receive end-of-service benefits equal to one month wage for each year, as stipulated by the law, while (37.89%) of them know about this right.

4. In the event that you are paid your monthly wage in cash, do you sign any cash receipt? Form number (31) shows that, in terms of signing a cash receipt to acknowledge the receipt of the domestic worker of their monthly wage, (76.32%) of domestic workers do not sign cash receipt stating that they have received their monthly wage, while (23.68%) of them indicated that they sign a receipt when their salary is paid in cash.

5. Does your employer deduct money from your wage sometimes? Form number (32) shows that (44) domestic workers reported that their employers deduct money from their monthly wages, with a percentage of (11.57%) of them, (34.21%) of domestic workers stated that their employers make deductions on their monthly wages sometimes, while (206) persons claimed (54.22%) of domestic workers confirmed that no amount is deducted from their monthly wages which is a big percentage.

6. Are you assigned any hazardous tasks that could affect your health? Form number (33) shows that (111) male and female domestic workers are assigned hazardous activities with a percentage of (29.21%), while (26.31%) are sometimes asked to perform dangerous works that affect their health, and (44.48%) are never asked to do hazardous works that threaten their lives.

7. Is your housing appropriate and involves all requirements for an adequate living? Form number (34) indicates that (51.31%) of domestic workers see that their housing is appropriate and involves all requirements for an adequate living, while (18.69%) believe that it is not but it takes into account the requirements for a decent living, and (30%) of them answered this question with sometimes.

8. Do you keep in your possession all your personal documents such as your passports? Form number (35) shows that (92.63%) of domestic workers do not keep in their possession their travel documents, while only a very small number of them (28) keep them in their possession (7.36%). Which is a sign that the provisions of law that give the domestic workers the right to keep in their possession their travel documents without being confiscated by the employer are not adhered to.

9. Are you treated in a decent way respectful of your privacy? Form number (36) reveals that (157 individuals), with a percentage of (41.33%) of domestic workers, believe that their employers treat them in an inhumane way disrespectful of their privacy. (27.36%) of them stated that they are sometimes subject to inhumane treatment, whereas (31.31%) reported that their dignity and privacy are respected within their work environment.

10. Is there any written contract between yourself and your employer (Kafeel)? Form number (37) shows that (56.32%) of domestic workers perform their work without concluding contracts between them and their employer (Kafeel), while only (43.68%) of them are working in accordance with a contract concluded between them and their employers.

11. Do you receive your monthly wage on time, without any delay? Form number (38) shows that only (38.15%) of domestic workers receive their monthly wage on time, without any delay. (40.26%) pointed out that the payment of their monthly wages is sometimes delayed, while (145 individuals), equal to a percentage of (21.59%), stated that their pays are always delayed.

12. Do you get any additional pay for the extra working hours? Form number (39) indicates that (73.68%) of domestic workers do not get additional pay for additional working hours, whereas only (8.94%) of domestic workers said that they are remunerated for the additional work they perform, and (17.36%) of them stated that they, sometimes, get additional pay for working additional hours.

13. Do you work more than ten hours a day? Form number (40) shows that (295) domestic workers, equivalent to (77.64%), work for more than hours a day, while only (3.94%) of them do not work for more than ten hours daily. (18.94%) of domestic workers work for more than ten hours a day, occasionally.

14. Are you allowed to have a one rest day weekly? Form number (41) indicates that (55.80%) of domestic workers are not allowed to get one rest day weekly, while (21.84%) are sometimes allowed to have it, and (22.36%) confirmed that they are given a rest day weekly. This refl ects the lack of knowledge of law No. (68/2015) and the weak compliance with the provisions thereof that give the domestic worker the right to a weekly rest day.

15. Do you permit the domestic worker to leave the house on their weekly rest day? Form number (42) shows that the majority of domestic workers (54.75%) are not allowed to leave the house during their weekly rest day, while (26.31%) are allowed to. (18.94%) of them are given the permission to leave the house from time to time. This may be justified by the fact that employers are afraid that domestic workers abscond from work or meet undesirable people, which could expose them to danger.

16. Do you give the domestic worker an annual paid leave? Form number (43) indicates that (278) domestic workers, equal to (73.16%) are not given their paid annual leave stipulated by the law, by their employers, whereas (26.84%) of them are given their paid annual leave. Nevertheless, the law stipulates that domestic workers shall be entitled to a paid annual leave.

17.Do you allow the domestic worker to own or use a mobile phone? Form number (44) shows that the employers of a large number of domestic workers (82.36%) allowed them to own and use mobile phones, while the employers of (17.64%) of domestic workers did not allow them to own and use a mobile phone.

18. Are you subject to any kind of abuse during your work? Form number (45) reveals that (26.31%) of domestic workers are subject to abuse during their performance of their work, whereas (25.52%) are sometimes subject to abuse, and (48.17%) of domestic workers are not abused by their employers during their work.

19. Are you satisfied with you work in Kuwait? Form number (46) shows that (60%) of domestic workers are satisfied with their work in Kuwait, whereas (40%) of domestic workers are not.

20.In the event of a dispute with the domestic worker, who do you refer to? According to form (47), (62.10%) of domestic workers refer to their embassies in Kuwait to solve disputes arising between them and their sponsor, while (19.73%) of them tend to submit complaints directly to the Department of Domestic Labour; (7.89%) of domestic workers refer to the recruitment offices, while a small percentage of them (5.55%) prefer solving the problem by themselves without reaching any party, and (4.73%) of them have no idea about where to go.

21.Has a dispute or misunderstanding ever arose between you and the domestic worker? Form number (48) shows that (234) domestic workers, equivalent to (61.75%), had disputes with their employers, during different periods of time, and whose complaints were not seriously addressed, while (146) domestic workers did not face any disputes or problems with their employers, with a percentage of (38.43%).

22. Has your complaint been addressed seriously? Form number (49) reveals that the complaints of (68.42%) of domestic workers were not seriously addressed and followed up, whereas the complaints of (17.63%) of domestic workers were seriously handled and settled, as required. The responses of (13.95%) of domestic workers were indefinite.

C.Key findings and remarks regarding the (Domestic Workers’) knowledge of the Law No. (68/2015), and their compliance with it: Domestic workers’ responses to the questionnaire show some observations that should be taken into consideration and followed up by decision-makers and people in charge of the domestic workers file, especially that the law No. (68/2015) was issued three years ago, where the law imposed obligations on all parties (the employer – the worker – the recruitment office), among which the employer’s obligations are considered to be the most important, and which entail many rights for domestic workers, such as the right to receive a return ticket at the end of the contract, end-of-service benefits and other rights related to working conditions such as ensuring appropriate housing, clothing, food and treatment costs, as well as not assigning any hazardous work to them that could affect their health or insult them. Nonetheless, after analyzing the responses of the domestic workers, we believe that the responses were exaggerated in terms of the compatibility of the work assigned to domestic workers with the contents of the employment contract (according to the employers’ opinions).

In their questionnaires, domestic workers confirmed the opposite of what employers mentioned, in addition to the perceived violations committed against domestic workers, including but not limited to long working long hours without rest, working for extra hours without any additional pay, delay in monthly wage payment, depriving them from their annual leave or weekly rest day, forbidding them to leave the house to spend it, and confiscation of their passports by employers, all of which confirm the incompatibility of the works assigned to domestic workers with the contents of the employment contract.

It is necessary to assess the domestic workers’ knowledge of the law, its implementation, and its effectiveness. Some of these remarks related to domestic workers will be discussed in the form of results as follows:

1. The results show that large number of domestic workers (71.59%) are not aware of the law no. (68/2015) despite its importance and the fact that they need it to regulate their relation with employers. This is due to many reasons, among which the lack of legal awareness, the low level of support offered by the embassies of labour-sending countries, the low level of education of domestic workers, failure to disseminate the law, and lack of firmness in its enforcement. The Moreover, it showed that 43.95% finds the lack of the on the lack of the domestic worker’s knowledge of their right to get a return ticket to their country of origin, despite the fact that it is a fundamental right stipulated by the law. (62.11%) of domestic workers stated that they are not aware of their right to receive end-of-service benefits even though it is aright provided for by the law. The legislator has endeavored through the aforementioned law to ensure equality between domestic workers and private sector workers who receive end-ofservice benefits equivalent to fifteen working days for each year of the first five years, and one month wage for each following year, provided that the overall total of benefits does not exceed the wage of a year and a half for workers who are paid on a monthly basis(109).

2. (29.21%) of domestic workers stated that they are assigned hazardous activities that could affect their health, and (26.3%) declared that they are sometimes assigned such activities, despite the fact that the law set out, among the employers’ obligations, that it shall not be permitted to assign domestic workers any hazardous works that could affect their health or insult their human dignity(110). Therefore, special characteristics of home work should be taken into account, and where appropriate, conditions applicable to the same or similar type of work carried out in an enterprise, as well as promoting protection in the field of occupational safety and health(111). The convention No. (177) stipulated that national laws and regulations on safety and health at work shall apply to home work, taking account of its special characteristics, and shall establish conditions under which certain types of work and the use of certain substances may be prohibited in home work for safety of reasons and health(112).

3. The results show that (92.63%) of domestic workers do not keep in their possession their personal travel documents, contrary to the provisions of law. It should be noted that the provisions of Law No. 68/2015 prohibited employers from keeping in their possession any documents or personal identification documents for the domestic workers such as their passports, or civil cards. However, the same aforementioned law did not lay down any dissuasive penalties against employers who retain the personal documents of domestic workers, though confiscating passports is a frequent violation. Employers usually justify this behavior by referring to the high costs of recruitment they pay, and because they believe that retaining the passports of domestic workers will prevent them from leaving the workplace. They also believe that this will protect them from any legal charge or any behavior or conduct the domestic worker might perform. However, many domestic workers leave their jobs and seek refuge in the embassies of their countries(113).

4. (56.3%) of domestic workers declared that they did not conclude a contract with the employer (Kafeel). It turns out that the highest percentage represents domestic workers who reported not having made an employment contract, even though law No. 68/2015 stipulated that domestic workers shall not be employed by employers but under employment contracts (bilateral or tripartite, as the case may be) issued by the Department of Domestic Labour in the Ministry of Interior, written in both English and Arabic Languages( 114). This confirms the lack of legal effective protection for domestic workers, at the required level, since law No. 68/2015 does not include procedures that require employers to conclude written employment contracts. This sets a great challenge for us, trying to resituate domestic work from the informal sector to the formal sector, as the written contract vitiates difficulties in proving the existence of the employment relationship and its agreed-upon terms, should a dispute arise between the parties. Given the isolation and vulnerability of domestic workers and the greater likelihood of domestic workers being unfamiliar with their legal rights, the written employment contract plays an important role in empowering domestic workers within the employment relationship(115).

It should be noted as well that the majority of the complaints submitted by domestic workers to the Kuwait Society for Human Rights involved delay of payments and non-payment of wages.

6. The majority of domestic workers works for more than ten hours a day as stated by more than (77.64%) of domestic workers, while only (8.9%) of them confirmed that they receive extra pay for the additional work they perform.

7. Only (22.3%) of domestic workers are allowed to have a rest day weekly, and more than (73%) of them reported that they are not granted a paid annual leave even though the law stipulates that domestic workers shall be entitled to a paid annual leave.

8. (62.10%) of domestic workers refer to their embassies in Kuwait to solve disputes arising between them and their sponsors, while (19.73%) of them tend to submit complaints directly to the Department of Domestic Labour, and (7.89%) of domestic workers refer to the recruitment offices. The roles of recruitment offices and the Department of Domestic Labour are clearly absent even though the law has regulated and defined competent authorities to file complaints. The fact that domestic workers refer to their embassies denotes a lack of knowledge of law No. (68/2015) on one hand, and the lack of trust in the ability of official authorities to solve the complaint on the other hand. The questionnaire’s results confirmed this statement, where only (17.96%) of domestic workers reported that their complaints were addressed in a serious way. (Study Third) Employees of Civil Society Organizations

A.Description of the sample’s characteristics. The questionnaire was distributed to (25) people working in civil society organizations performing different activities, related to the subject of the study (the survey). Several civil society organizations took part in conducting the study, such as: Kuwait Social Association, Kuwait Society for Human Rights, Social Work Society, Kuwait Trade Union Federation, Kuwait Association for Basic Elements of Human Rights, Kuwait Society for Inventors Support, Kuwait Society of Lawyers, Women’s Cultural & Social Society, and Kuwait Public Relations Association. A group of volunteers participated as well in the study to help the domestic workers, along with the Center for Disabled Persons, the International Islamic Charitable Organization, the Indian Community “Kerala Region”, the Child Protection Office, and at last UN Women.

The demographic characteristics of this sample are described below:

• Gender Variable Form number (50) shows that males form (52%) of the study sample of employees of civil society organizations in Kuwait who responded to the questionnaire, while women form (48%) of the study sample. B. Activities and works performed by Organizations The activities of the (15) organizations were diversified, with relation to the type of services the association was established to offer, all of which aimed at providing awareness, advocacy and moral and financial support.

However, the services provided by these organizations to domestic workers are limited to:

• Providing domestic workers with education regarding their rights through handbooks. • Providing consultancy. • Receiving complaints from domestic workers, submitting them to the competent authorities, and trying to solve them. • Providing support and assistance to resolve issues. • Providing legal, humanitarian and social services.

1. Are you aware of the existence of law No. 68 of 2015 regarding Domestic Labour in Kuwait? In case your answer was (yes), how do you think the law is dealing with the rights of domestic workers? Form number (51) shows that more than half of the employees of civil society organizations believe that the level of the society’s knowledge of law No. (68/2015) is weak, while (16%) of them see that the knowledge is non-existent at all, and only (3) of them think that the level of knowledge is beyond good. This indicates the persistent need for intensive awareness among members of society. Whereas, form number (52) shows that (51%) of the employees in civil society organizations believe that they are well-informed of the law number (68/2015), and more than (20%) of them have a very weak level of knowledge. This is a risky indicator especially that these organizations are entrusted with providing legal support and consultancy, so how would the situation be if the level of their knowledge is average.

2. What does society need to activate its role in the use and enforcement of the law? Based on the level of knowledge of the law that ranges from average to weak, within the society, and the weak level of knowledge among domestic workers, the employees presented a number of proposals to enforce the law and disseminate it within the society: • Establishing common activities with governmental authorities and civil society to raise awareness through courses, media, publications and others.

Domestic workers respect the instructions given by employers. (84.79%) of employers confirmed that fact. It should be noted that most complaints submitted by domestic workers to the Kuwait Society for Human Rights involved delay of payment or non-payment of wages. This was confirmed by domestic workers while surveying their opinions in their questionnaires. However (89%) of employers claim that they do not delay payment of monthly wages, while (9%) admit that they do. (89% of the total of employers) claim that they do not deduct from the worker’s wage if they committed a mistake or violated instructions, while (9%) of employers adopt the method of deduction from time to time, whereas (2%) reported that they regularly deduct from the wage of the domestic worker if they committed any wrongdoing or violation.

8. (38.15%) of employers declared that domestic workers work for a period of more than ten hours, and (39.88%) of employers stated that they do not remunerate domestic workers for any additional work they perform.

9. (28.90%) of employers refuse to give the domestic workers one rest day weekly, while (42.19%) of them stated that they give them a weekly leave sometimes, though it is one of their fundamental rights stipulated by law. (45.66%) of employers did not allow the domestic workers working for them to leave the house during their rest days.

10. Despite the fact that domestic workers are entitled to an annual leave, (51.44%) of employers refused that, while other employers (13.87%) agreed on giving them their leave, occasionally.

0. Despite the fact that domestic workers are entitled to an annual leave, (51.44%) of employers refused that, while other employers (13.87%) agreed on giving them their leave, occasionally.

11. The percentage of employers who trusted the domestic workers working for them was high, where (72.25%) of employers reported that they trust domestic workers.

12. (74.56%) of employers declared that they compensate domestic workers working for them for any damages or injuries suffered during work. (55.49%) of employers faced the problem of domestic workers, previously working for them, absconding from the workplace.

13. (53.75%) of employers preferred to find an amicable solution without the intervention of a third party to settle the dispute between them and the domestic worker, (22.54%) referred to the help of recruitment office only, while (40%) believed that their complaints were addressed in a serious way. However, the commitment of domestic workers does not reflect their knowledge of the law, since most of them are not aware of the provisions of the law, and we do not believe that it results from their satisfaction, under the many violations they suffer from. Therefore, we can relate that the main driver behind the domestic workers’ commitment to the instructions of their employers is the fear of being abused, and that was confirmed in the questionnaire given to them (as will be mentioned in the second part of the findings analysis) about whether they feel comfortable and safe while working for their employer. Most of them declared that they did not feel comfortable or safe. (Study Two) A.Description of the sample’s characteristics. The questionnaire was distributed to (380) domestic workers having different education levels, age ranges, genders and nationalities.

The demographic characteristics of this sample are described below: • Gender Variable It is revealed from form (24) that men constitute (48%) of the study sample of domestic workers who responded to the questionnaire, while women form (52%) of the total of the study sample aged between (23 and 45 years old).

• Nationality Variable Form number (25) shows that the majority of the study sample of domestic workers are of Indian nationality (218 workers) with a percentage of (63.92%) of the study sample. The rest of the workers were of Sri Lankan (55), Nepali (32), Filipino (26), Ethiopian (6) and Malian (4) nationalities. The tasks entrusted to male domestic workers varied between driving and cooking, while female domestic workers were assigned childcare, home cleaning, and cooking tasks.

• Education Level Variable It is revealed from form number (26) that the majority of the study sample are illiterate equal to (218) with a percentage of (63.92%) of the sample study, while domestic workers holding high school degree are equal to (116) workers with a percentage of (30.52%). It is noticeable that degrees higher than high school are rare with a percentage of (5.56%) due to the fact that most of their work is home work, while few of them head towards raising children and child care where an educated person is more required.

B. Domestic Workers’ responses to law no. (68/2015) The responses of the study covered subjects related to the knowledge of domestic workers of law number 68 of 2015, its provisions, implementation, and effectiveness in terms of rights and benefits among which payment of the agreed-upon monthly wage at the end of each month by virtue of a receipt, the obligation to provide the domestic worker with food, clothing, treatment and nursing expenses, provide them with appropriate housing where conditions of a decent living are met, not assign domestic workers any hazardous work that could harm them, gave the domestic workers the rights to have and keep their passports and papers with them, gave the domestic workers the rights to have and keep their passports and papers with them.

The Domestic Workers’ responses to the subjects of the questionnaire were as follows:

1. Are you aware of the existence of law No. 68 of 2015 regarding Domestic Labour in Kuwait? In case your answer was (yes), how do you think the law is dealing with the rights of domestic workers? Form (27) shows that (272 individuals) equivalent to (71.59%) of the domestic workers are not aware of law no. (68/2015), while (40 individuals) of domestic workers stated that they have good knowledge of the law, and (68 individuals) answered that they have knowledge of the law to some extent, with a total of (108 individuals) having knowledge of the law even though at a basic level. However, (85 individuals among them) believe that the law didn’t give them the minimum rights standards as it appears in form number (28), where the percentage of people who are aware of the law is (10.52%) of the domestic workers only.

2. Do you know that you have the right to get a return ticket to your country at the end of the employment contract? Form number (29) shows that (167 individuals) with a percentage of (43.95%) of domestic workers have no knowledge about their right to get a return ticket to their country of origin, after the end of their employment contract, as stipulated by the law; while (213 individuals) of domestic workers are aware of this right, with a percentage of (56.05%) of domestic workers only.

3. Do you know that you have the right to end-of-service benefits at the end of the employment contract? Form number (30) indicates that the largest number of domestic workers (236) with a percentage of (62.11%) of domestic workers are not aware of their rights to receive end-of-service benefits equal to one month wage for each year, as stipulated by the law, while (37.89%) of them know about this right.

4. In the event that you are paid your monthly wage in cash, do you sign any cash receipt? Form number (31) shows that, in terms of signing a cash receipt to acknowledge the receipt of the domestic worker of their monthly wage, (76.32%) of domestic workers do not sign cash receipt stating that they have received their monthly wage, while (23.68%) of them indicated that they sign a receipt when their salary is paid in cash.

5. Does your employer deduct money from your wage sometimes? Form number (32) shows that (44) domestic workers reported that their employers deduct money from their monthly wages, with a percentage of (11.57%) of them, (34.21%) of domestic workers stated that their employers make deductions on their monthly wages sometimes, while (206) persons claimed (54.22%) of domestic workers confirmed that no amount is deducted from their monthly wages which is a big percentage.

6. Are you assigned any hazardous tasks that could affect your health? Form number (33) shows that (111) male and female domestic workers are assigned hazardous activities with a percentage of (29.21%), while (26.31%) are sometimes asked to perform dangerous works that affect their health, and (44.48%) are never asked to do hazardous works that threaten their lives.

7. Is your housing appropriate and involves all requirements for an adequate living? Form number (34) indicates that (51.31%) of domestic workers see that their housing is appropriate and involves all requirements for an adequate living, while (18.69%) believe that it is not but it takes into account the requirements for a decent living, and (30%) of them answered this question with sometimes.

8. Do you keep in your possession all your personal documents such as your passports? Form number (35) shows that (92.63%) of domestic workers do not keep in their possession their travel documents, while only a very small number of them (28) keep them in their possession (7.36%). Which is a sign that the provisions of law that give the domestic workers the right to keep in their possession their travel documents without being confiscated by the employer are not adhered to.

9. Are you treated in a decent way respectful of your privacy? Form number (36) reveals that (157 individuals), with a percentage of (41.33%) of domestic workers, believe that their employers treat them in an inhumane way disrespectful of their privacy. (27.36%) of them stated that they are sometimes subject to inhumane treatment, whereas (31.31%) reported that their dignity and privacy are respected within their work environment.

10. Is there any written contract between yourself and your employer (Kafeel)? Form number (37) shows that (56.32%) of domestic workers perform their work without concluding contracts between them and their employer (Kafeel), while only (43.68%) of them are working in accordance with a contract concluded between them and their employers.

11. Do you receive your monthly wage on time, without any delay? Form number (38) shows that only (38.15%) of domestic workers receive their monthly wage on time, without any delay. (40.26%) pointed out that the payment of their monthly wages is sometimes delayed, while (145 individuals), equal to a percentage of (21.59%), stated that their pays are always delayed.

12. Do you get any additional pay for the extra working hours? Form number (39) indicates that (73.68%) of domestic workers do not get additional pay for additional working hours, whereas only (8.94%) of domestic workers said that they are remunerated for the additional work they perform, and (17.36%) of them stated that they, sometimes, get additional pay for working additional hours.

13. Do you work more than ten hours a day? Form number (40) shows that (295) domestic workers, equivalent to (77.64%), work for more than hours a day, while only (3.94%) of them do not work for more than ten hours daily. (18.94%) of domestic workers work for more than ten hours a day, occasionally.

14. Are you allowed to have a one rest day weekly? Form number (41) indicates that (55.80%) of domestic workers are not allowed to get one rest day weekly, while (21.84%) are sometimes allowed to have it, and (22.36%) confirmed that they are given a rest day weekly. This reflects the lack of knowledge of law No. (68/2015) and the weak compliance with the provisions thereof that give the domestic worker the right to a weekly rest day.

15. Do you permit the domestic worker to leave the house on their weekly rest day? Form number (42) shows that the majority of domestic workers (54.75%) are not allowed to leave the house during their weekly rest day, while (26.31%) are allowed to. (18.94%) of them are given the permission to leave the house from time to time. This may be justified by the fact that employers are afraid that domestic workers abscond from work or meet undesirable people, which could expose them to danger.

16. Do you give the domestic worker an annual paid leave? Form number (43) indicates that (278) domestic workers, equal to (73.16%) are not given their paid annual leave stipulated by the law, by their employers, whereas (26.84%) of them are given their paid annual leave. Nevertheless, the law stipulates that domestic workers shall be entitled to a paid annual leave.

17.Do you allow the domestic worker to own or use a mobile phone? Form number (44) shows that the employers of a large number of domestic workers (82.36%) allowed them to own and use mobile phones, while the employers of (17.64%) of domestic workers did not allow them to own and use a mobile phone.

18. Are you subject to any kind of abuse during your work? Form number (45) reveals that (26.31%) of domestic workers are subject to abuse during their performance of their work, whereas (25.52%) are sometimes subject to abuse, and (48.17%) of domestic workers are not abused by their employers during their work.

19. Are you satisfied with you work in Kuwait? Form number (46) shows that (60%) of domestic workers are satisfied with their work in Kuwait, whereas (40%) of domestic workers are not.

20.In the event of a dispute with the domestic worker, who do you refer to? According to form (47), (62.10%) of domestic workers refer to their embassies in Kuwait to solve disputes arising between them and their sponsor, while (19.73%) of them tend to submit complaints directly to the Department of Domestic Labour; (7.89%) of domestic workers refer to the recruitment offices, while a small percentage of them (5.55%) prefer solving the problem by themselves without reaching any party, and (4.73%) of them have no idea about where to go.

21.Has a dispute or misunderstanding ever arose between you and the domestic worker? Form number (48) shows that (234) domestic workers, equivalent to (61.75%), had disputes with their employers, during different periods of time, and whose complaints were not seriously addressed, while (146) domestic workers did not face any disputes or problems with their employers, with a percentage of (38.43%).

22. Has your complaint been addressed seriously? Form number (49) reveals that the complaints of (68.42%) of domestic workers were not seriously addressed and followed up, whereas the complaints of (17.63%) of domestic workers were seriously handled and settled, as required. The responses of (13.95%) of domestic workers were indefinite. C.Key findings and remarks regarding the (Domestic Workers’) knowledge of the Law No. (68/2015), and their compliance with it: Domestic workers’ responses to the questionnaire show some observations that should be taken into consideration and followed up by decision-makers and people in charge of the domestic workers file, especially that the law No. (68/2015) was issued three years ago, where the law imposed obligations on all parties (the employer – the worker – the recruitment office), among which the employer’s obligations are considered to be the most important, and which entail many rights for domestic workers, such as the right to receive a return ticket at the end of the contract, end-of-service benefits and other rights related to working conditions such as ensuring appropriate housing, clothing, food and treatment costs, as well as not assigning any hazardous work to them that could affect their health or insult them. Nonetheless, after analyzing the responses of the domestic workers, we believe that the responses were exaggerated in terms of the compatibility of the work assigned to domestic workers with the contents of the employment contract (according to the employers’ opinions).

Some of these remarks related to domestic workers will be discussed in the form of results as follows:

1. The results show that large number of domestic workers (71.59%) are not aware of the law no. (68/2015) despite its importance and the fact that they need it to regulate their relation with employers. This is due to many reasons, among which the lack of legal awareness, the low level of support offered by the embassies of labour-sending countries, the low level of education of domestic workers, failure to disseminate the law, and lack of firmness in its enforcement. The Moreover, it showed that 43.95% finds the lack of the on the lack of the domestic worker’s knowledge of their right to get a return ticket to their country of origin, despite the fact that it is a fundamental right stipulated by the law. (62.11%) of domestic workers stated that they are not aware of their right to receive end-of-service benefits even though it is aright provided for by the law. The legislator has endeavored through the aforementioned law to ensure equality between domestic workers and private sector workers who receive end-ofservice benefits equivalent to fifteen working days for each year of the first five years, and one month wage for each following year, provided that the overall total of benefits does not exceed the wage of a year and a half for workers who are paid on a monthly basis(109).

2. (29.21%) of domestic workers stated that they are assigned hazardous activities that could affect their health, and (26.3%) declared that they are sometimes assigned such activities, despite the fact that the law set out, among the employers’ obligations, that it shall not be permitted to assign domestic workers any hazardous works that could affect their health or insult their human dignity(110). Therefore, special characteristics of home work should be taken into account, and where appropriate, conditions applicable to the same or similar type of work carried out in an enterprise, as well as promoting protection in the field of occupational safety and health(111). The convention No. (177) stipulated that national laws and regulations on safety and health at work shall apply to home work, taking account of its special characteristics, and shall establish conditions under which certain types of work and the use of certain substances may be prohibited in home work for safety of reasons and health(112).

3. The results show that (92.63%) of domestic workers do not keep in their possession their personal travel documents, contrary to the provisions of law. It should be noted that the provisions of Law No. 68/2015 prohibited employers from keeping in their possession any documents or personal identification documents for the domestic workers such as their passports, or civil cards. However, the same aforementioned law did not lay down any dissuasive penalties against employers who retain the personal documents of domestic workers, though confiscating passports is a frequent violation. Employers usually justify this behavior by referring to the high costs of recruitment they pay, and because they believe that retaining the passports of domestic workers will prevent them from leaving the workplace. They also believe that this will protect them from any legal charge or any behavior or conduct the domestic worker might perform. However, many domestic workers leave their jobs and seek refuge in the embassies of their countries(113).

4. (56.3%) of domestic workers declared that they did not conclude a contract with the employer (Kafeel). It turns out that the highest percentage represents domestic workers who reported not having made an employment contract, even though law No. 68/2015 stipulated that domestic workers shall not be employed by employers but under employment contracts (bilateral or tripartite, as the case may be) issued by the Department of Domestic Labour in the Ministry of Interior, written in both English and Arabic Languages( 114). This confirms the lack of legal effective protection for domestic workers, at the required level, since law No. 68/2015 does not include procedures that require employers to conclude written employment contracts. This sets a great challenge for us, trying to resituate domestic work from the informal sector to the formal sector, as the written contract vitiates difficulties in proving the existence of the employment relationship and its agreed-upon terms, should a dispute arise between the parties. Given the isolation and vulnerability of domestic workers and the greater likelihood of domestic workers being unfamiliar with their legal rights, the written employment contract plays an important role in empowering domestic workers within the employment relationship(115).

5. Domestic workers respect the instructions given by employers. (84.79%) of employers confirmed that fact. However, (68.6%) of domestic workers reported that employers do not treat them “always” in a decent way respectful of their privacy, or “sometimes” do. (11.57%) of domestic workers stated that deductions are made on their monthly wage, while (34.2%) of them stated that deductions are made on their salaries from time to time. Only (32.15%) of domestic workers receive their monthly wages without any delay. More than half of domestic workers declared that they are subject to abuse sometimes. And it turned out that (40%) of domestic workers are not satisfied with their work in Kuwait. These data should be seriously observed with the lack of the law’s effectiveness and enforcement. It should be noted as well that the majority of the complaints submitted by domestic workers to the Kuwait Society for Human Rights involved delay of payments and non-payment of wages.

6. The majority of domestic workers works for more than ten hours a day as stated by more than (77.64%) of domestic workers, while only (8.9%) of them confirmed that they receive extra pay for the additional work they perform.

7. Only (22.3%) of domestic workers are allowed to have a rest day weekly, and more than (73%) of them reported that they are not granted a paid annual leave even though the law stipulates that domestic workers shall be entitled to a paid annual leave.

8. (62.10%) of domestic workers refer to their embassies in Kuwait to solve disputes arising between them and their sponsors, while (19.73%) of them tend to submit complaints directly to the Department of Domestic Labour, and (7.89%) of domestic workers refer to the recruitment offices. The roles of recruitment offices and the Department of Domestic Labour are clearly absent even though the law has regulated and defined competent authorities to file complaints. The fact that domestic workers refer to their embassies denotes a lack of knowledge of law No. (68/2015) on one hand, and the lack of trust in the ability of official authorities to solve the complaint on the other hand. The questionnaire’s results confirmed this statement, where only (17.96%) of domestic workers reported that their complaints were addressed in a serious way. (Study Third) Employees of Civil Society Organizations A.Description of the sample’s characteristics. The questionnaire was distributed to (25) people working in civil society organizations performing different activities, related to the subject of the study (the survey). Several civil society organizations took part in conducting the study, such as: Kuwait Social Association, Kuwait Society for Human Rights, Social Work Society, Kuwait Trade Union Federation, Kuwait Association for Basic Elements of Human Rights, Kuwait Society for Inventors Support, Kuwait Society of Lawyers, Women’s Cultural & Social Society, and Kuwait Public Relations Association. A group of volunteers participated as well in the study to help the domestic workers, along with the Center for Disabled Persons, the International Islamic Charitable Organization, the Indian Community “Kerala Region”, the Child Protection Office, and at last UN Women. The demographic characteristics of this sample are described below: • Gender Variable Form number (50) shows that males form (52%) of the study sample of employees of civil society organizations in Kuwait who responded to the questionnaire, while women form (48%) of the study sample. B. Activities and works performed by Organizations The activities of the (15) organizations were diversified, with relation to the type of services the association was established to offer, all of which aimed at providing awareness, advocacy and moral and financial support. However, the services provided by these organizations to domestic workers are limited to: • Providing domestic workers with education regarding their rights through handbooks. • Providing consultancy. • Receiving complaints from domestic workers, submitting them to the competent authorities, and trying to solve them. • Providing support and assistance to resolve issues. • Providing legal, humanitarian and social services.

1. Are you aware of the existence of law No. 68 of 2015 regarding Domestic Labour in Kuwait? In case your answer was (yes), how do you think the law is dealing with the rights of domestic workers? Form number (51) shows that more than half of the employees of civil society organizations believe that the level of the society’s knowledge of law No. (68/2015) is weak, while (16%) of them see that the knowledge is non-existent at all, and only

(3) of them think that the level of knowledge is beyond good. This indicates the persistent need for intensive awareness among members of society. Whereas, form number (52) shows that (51%) of the employees in civil society organizations believe that they are well-informed of the law number (68/2015), and more than (20%) of them have a very weak level of knowledge.

This is a risky indicator especially that these organizations are entrusted with providing legal support and consultancy, so how would the situation be if the level of their knowledge is average.

2. What does society need to activate its role in the use and enforcement of the law? Based on the level of knowledge of the law that ranges from average to weak, within the society, and the weak level of knowledge among domestic workers, the employees presented a number of proposals to enforce the law and disseminate it within the society: • Establishing common activities with governmental authorities and civil society to raise awareness through courses, media, publications and others.

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