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New labor law needed to free migrant women domestic workers from bondage

5-9-2017

In its edition of today, L’Orient Le Jour shed light on the heartbreaking story of a Sri Lankan migrant domestic worker, Shandra, who was forced to leave Lebanon a year after her arrival as a result of the ordeal she went through at her employer’s house because the current labor regulations prevented her from taking on another employer. In this respect, the newspaper spoke to ILO Beirut experts, Sofia Kagan and Zeina Mezher, who revealed that work is underway between the Lebanese government and the international organization on a project that enhances recruitment conditions based on respect for the rights of MWDWs. According to both experts, and in best case scenarios, workers should be subject to a labor law or any similar law that observes and protects their rights, pointing that their employment should be based on a clear job offer or contract, enclosing the salary, job description or tasks and weekly day-off or holiday. MWDWs, Kagan and Mezher stated, have the right to choose the workplace, change their job like any other employee or staff member and personally renew their papers, stressing their free choice of accommodation at their employer or any other place. Regarding the payment procedure, it should observe a mechanism that protects the rights of both parties, ILO experts said. For the reference, Lebanon did not sign the ILO Convention No. 189 on domestic workers issued in 2011, while it ratified the two UN fundamental conventions related to forced labor. To note, Lebanese labor law excludes the categories of MWDWs. (L’Orient Le Jour, September 5, 2017)

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