Kuwait Law: Domestic Workers Wages

Post by Fajer Ahmed

domesticworkers

I’m glad that the Ministry has been putting a lot more effort in the past few months with regulations to sort out issues regarding foreign laborers. Unfortunately though, news outlets in the country have been reporting that the ministry has proposed new minimum wages for domestic workers and I was shocked to see the memo.

Apparently the proposed memo regarding domestic workers states the following:
Filipino: Starting salary range between KD110-120 monthly
Indian: Starting salary range between KD70-85 monthly
Sri Lankan: Starting salary KD70 monthly
Ethiopian, Nepalese, Eritrean, Ghanaian and Madagascan: Starting salary range between KD70-80 monthly

I don’t understand how this would be legal in any country yet alone Kuwait where the constitution clearly states (Article 29) that we are all equal, regardless of gender, race, color and so on. Now I know that we are unfortunately still dealing with the “white man syndrome” where certain nationalities get paid more for the same amount of work compared to other nationalities, but how is that right? And especially when it’s coming from the government itself.

Many people will argue that it’s still a lot of money compared to what they might make back in their country and since they come from different countries they should be paid according to their countries economy. But going by that logic, how would a Kuwaiti feel if they worked in London but got paid based on the the average salary for Kuwait?

If they’re insisting on fixed wages wouldn’t it make more sense the wage changes based on experience or qualifications? For example something like:

Base Salary: KD80
Speakes English: +KD10
Speaks English and Arabic: +KD25
Can Cook: +KD10
Over 5 Years Experience: +KD20
Over 10 Years Experience: +KD50

In any case I hope this all turns out to be a rumor.

Feel free to email me on ask@fajerthelawyer.com with any legal questions. I do not have the capacity to answer everyone for free (but I try), and I am happy to announce that I am currently working with a great team and therefore we are able to reply back to all emails with a reasonable time frame.

Post by Fajer Ahmed – Legal Counsel
The legal opinions expressed in this post are those of the author Fajer. Opinions expressed by Mark or any other writer on 248am.com are those of the individual’s and in no way reflect Fajer’s opinion.


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66 comments, add your own...


  1. Murrka says:

    Fajer, thanks again for the post and all the work that you do.

  2. Mak says:

    I hope they use ur proposed idea

  3. Lauren says:

    This has been standard practice for a long time. These wages are very low. 70 kd a month? Some families are not even supplying their housemaids with enough food or personal supplies. Very sad. To those who say well why did they come to Kuwait to work then if the salary is so low for them? In many cases people who are brought over are told they will either be making more money than what they eventually get or will be working in a different profession.

    • aceboy44 says:

      They are indeed getting more than what they get paid in their own countries. I have personally visited Sri lankan and know the average wage there.

      So where exactly did the lie or misunderstanding occur?

      • hellppp says:

        you have visited srilanka and the average wage is less then this, but they are working in kuwait. so you got to pay wage according to Kuwait and not srilanka.

      • wowwutanidiot says:

        aceboy44 is an idiot

      • mungeeman says:

        dude lots of people have personally visited sri lanka. that doesnt mean you know shit!

      • L says:

        How stupid. I could get by on a salary of $300 a month in Sri Lanka too.. but you think that’s viable in Kuwait? Where a Starbucks is $8

        Oh but wait foreign workers probably aren’t entitled to coffee either. Use your common sense and realize that the cost of living here is absurd compared to Sri Lanka.

  4. Sala6a says:

    Very nice and thoughtful… Thanks for sharing

  5. Jake says:

    Nice thought, Mark, but you would make anyone with 10 years+ experience unemployable!

  6. nasser says:

    where’s the source?

  7. Ruckus says:

    This is shocking. I cannot understand the Kuwaiti culture or mentality.

    • aaa says:

      If you go to Philippines or India you will see locals using Philipino and Indian maids. It’s not a Kuwaiti thing.

      • mungeeman says:

        no but the rape, torture, beatings and abuse and the fact that maids who have been raped and run away are JAILED while the rapists roam free… THAT is a kuwaiti thing

  8. dezrtninja says:

    This particular industry is controlled by a certain cross section of Kuwaitis, they are for the most part not concerned with the health and welfare of the people that they place with households in Kuwait.

  9. Nasser says:

    Some people treat domestic workers incredibly well, and give them their rights (which they rightly deserve). However others, seem to think they’re slaves and they own them (which is terrible and messed up). It is weird, considering how some people in the second group, call themselves Muslims and feel they do a lot to be close to Allah, yet treat this group of people poorly. Ironic.

  10. Ahmad says:

    Wow, you must have TONS of money, my friend he’s kuwaiti, and with his loans, he can’t even afford a maid.

    instead of focusing on domestic workers, how about focusing on real workers that get paid 250k.d. via contract with no experience, or with, or even companies that pay LESS than apartment’s rent.

    honestly, I’ll force my wife to cook and clean, so I won’t have to pay for it, and won’t allow her to have slaves :p

  11. aaa says:

    The minimum wages are set by nationality, not race. This is because their respective countries actually set them. In some cases they will set it lower because they want you to prefer maids from that country, one less mouth for them to feed back home.

    • Ipsom says:

      First 2 sentences are absolutely spot on.

    • I agree, but the proposed breakdown by Fajer seems reasonable despite.

      Guys at work are from different nationalities and they’re getting payed according to their domicile so the government suggested pay is based on a common understanding a place of permanent residence.

      • mungeeman says:

        I hope this is not your way of justifying the COMPLETELY racist/nationality based pay in Kuwait. The governments of these countries do NOT decide the payscale for their nationals (other than domestic workers( … that is employers in Kuwait, for the most part… Kuwaitis. That is not reasonable, that is not humane. It’s just how things are done here… ie racist.

        • You’re issue with racism runs deep, I can see that. I’m not a racist btw, thus my summation in my post https://kuwaitchroniclesblog.wordpress.com/2014/12/17/modern-racism/

          And lets face it, the guys I’m talking about at work are totally living it up. Compared to the pay they would get anywhere else, they are making loads of money and they get much better benefits than a local. Otherwise, they are free to leave. We all work equally, local even more sometimes just to prove a point. The majority of the expats are pocketing the money and sending it overseas which I’m sure isn’t helping the local economy. I hear them bragging about buying nice new cars, summer houses, ski cabins, fancy vacations and other luxuries they wouldn’t dream of having had it not been for their jobs here.
          I’m not justifying, this is just fact.
          did you draw the short string or something?

      • wwwoman says:

        How about this: You Kuwaitis learn to work and eliminate your own filth by yourself!
        Otherwise, you pay your employees as is customary in the civilized world.

  12. Aromal says:

    If I am correct then India has stopped sending their maids to Kuwait now.

  13. DeViL says:

    Setting minimum wages is one thing and paying them another. There have been several cases of non-payment of wages(not limited to domestic workers).

  14. Omar says:

    I disagree with this “white-man syndrome” you are talking about in your post regarding to domestic workers. The majority, start at 70 and go up (with the exception of Sri Lankan workers not being able to earn more than 70). Filipino workers are most likely more efficient, educated and/or comprehend basic tasks and instructions. One wouldn’t generally need to teach a Filipino worker to do general things, as opposed to workers of other nationalities where you might get a worker that can range from absolutely no skill or basic knowledge to a very knowledgable person. It’s the difference between paying 5 k.d. for a car wash or 15, they are basing it on quality of service and Filipino workers provide quality (7 times out of 10). Very little times have I seen an incompetent Filipino worker. Let’s not mention the amount of workers that come and speak neither English nor Arabic. At least this way they can get what they deserve. I would agree that there’s a “white-man syndrome” if the starting salary rates changed drastically between the nationalities but it’s generally the same rates across the board. I believe it’s fair. What if some half-assed blog started writing the worst posts and was getting paid the same if not more than you for ads, services or whatever it is blogs and bloggers offer other than a good read. Would that be fair? I wouldn’t think so because your posts are more efficient and more enjoyable to read than the other blog.

    • DeViL says:

      Omar! Without getting into details, I would rather pay my children more and help them in doing it, instead of being lamed for life.

    • Gary says:

      I find it disturbing how we as humans group others by their nationality based on the quality of their work, like a product being purchased at a supermarket. It doesn’t matter who it is Filipino, Indian, Ethiopian, Sri Lankan everyone has to have the same minimum salary. Just because you were born to a Sri Lankan family doesn’t make you the underdog.

      This mentality is sickening.

    • shavad says:

      iam a domestic worker … how many of u (kuwaity) can speak good english ? if u go to a police station nd u dont speak arabic they will say kallam araby, they dont even speaks basic english… they dont even feel shame ..
      if u go to any ministries the same things will happen..
      do they get paid 500 or 600? NO!.

  15. InQ8 says:

    In Kuwait Salary in all sectors are based on Nationality. an Asian especially people from India/Srilankan/Banglash are never paid same as an Arab/European even if they are better qualified.

  16. Faisal says:

    The only solution to domestic labor issues is

    a- the removal of the kafala system and transition to contractual agreements with all forms of laborers (drivers, cooks, maids, nannies) with labor protection as with any employee in any industry. Here, salary, working conditions, benefits are all listed to protect the laborers and the employers as well.

    b- deregulation of this industry; i.e. allowing market forces to dictate salaries and benefits. By removing the kafala system, if your cook for example has a better offer from somewhere else, he can give you 3-months notice and move to his/ her new job. By moving them to a working visa system, the shackles of “home slavery” and threats of sending them back home are lifted.

    I know there are complications and my solution is quite brief but I think you see where I am coming from.

    Sadly, too many powerful people are benefiting from the current state of affairs and this will probably not happen in the near future

  17. spymania says:

    I’m not Kuwaiti and I live in kuwait
    I think if someone don’t like a certain country laws then he can live in a different country … especially if his not from that country (I mean you btw)

  18. Dr.Real says:

    Excuse me,

    I believe they are all suppose to be paid the same however. It’s not Kuwait or Kuwaitis that set the rates. For example the Filipino embassy “strictly implement” the 110KD minimum salary for FILIPINO domestic workers.
    Here is the link

    http://news.kuwaittimes.net/kd-110-minimum-salary-domestic-helpers/

    Therefore you should take this issue with the

    Indian
    Sri lankan
    Ethopian
    etc etc

    Embassy

    • mungeeman says:

      Dr Real… do you know about each dealing between the kuwatii govt and these embassies? do you? If you did youwould know there has been a back and forth for years… with the kuwaiti govt refusing to give up an inch of its arrogant bullshit stance in most cases.

      ANd its not the govt making kuwaitis treat these ppl like shit – any Kuwaiti who actually thinks this is unfair is FREE to pay their slave… sorry domestic worker… a fairer wage and beat and rape her a little less

  19. mungeeman says:

    did you know that it’s ILLEGAL to have european maids? you know the sort that are professional and know what they are doing when it comes to taking care of the house and children? But no – Kuwait would rather have inexperienced, poor ppl from villages carry on slave work – and then whine like a bitch (see chronicles up there) when the unskilled labour turns out to be… oh my god – unskilled!

    • Btw, not all are unskilled, just the recent rejects the majority of the agencies are bringing. We’ve had excellent housekeepers – from small rural towns – that were and still are great help. I’m totally against treating the help as slaves. On the contrary, because we treat them with respect we get shit on. That’s my problem.

  20. Security Adviser says:

    mungeerman, you bring in European maids and the next thing you know is you have just opened the door to a new kind of trade called the flesh trade. Bring in exotic white women on maid visa’s and hire them out to do jobs that have nothing to do with housework or baby sitting. Kuwait’s divorce rates would sky rocket and say if you had one at home and she was pretty good looking as most European women are, you could never stay alone at home or take a sick day without the spouse thinking why ;-)

  21. Joe says:

    NO OFFENSE , but the people here do not know to deal with issues. The easiest way they could is just to deport. You go to the avenues and see people eating from restaurants that gives you a bill of Kd 100plus , but they are stingy to pay KD 80 for a maid who takes care of their work. These people for some reason think that they are a superior class, thanks to Oil which made them forget that they used to go to the sea to find their living and do trade. They forgot that they even married from countries like India and Pakistan once. They even forgot that the currency once they used even as capital of the major companies and banks here were Rupees. You see the checking happening these days with sophisticated technology they buy from other countries , the other countries use these to crack down criminals and Terrorists. Here in kuwait they use it to track down poor labourers who end up here without a visa just because he wants to keep his and his family’s life. I cannot stop commenting without also mentioning those good kind hearted kuwaiti familys in kuwait that even we have to learn from them, the humblness and simplicity they carry sometimes have taught us too many things. Even they know that their country is invaded by New generation that actually does not belong truthfully.

  22. Joe says:

    Shame of those who crib. I pay 130 KD for my maid from the very minimal salary i have. After paying the rent of KD 350 and 130 KD for maid to look after my children and flat iam still thankful to God .I have nothing to save but still thankfull to Allah the most highest.

  23. miszbuf10 says:

    i agree with the proposed salaries by the writer. why should i be paying 100kd+ for someone who is fillipino that has no idea how to cook or clean or do anything that the job requires? i should be getting paid to teach her a training course first.

    • Rashid says:

      Miszbuf10, would you honestly hire a domestic helper that doesn’t know how to cook or clean? Good agencies wouldn’t recommend domestic helpers without them going through a series of training, seminars and government paperwork (insurance and overseas worker welfare) in the Philippines.

  24. Faisal says:

    I completely understand what youre saying. But all you said was based on race and equality. It isnt about that in this issue. The workers in kuwait and the agencies that bring them are a market. If you look at it from a business point of view and compare supplies and demand, you will find that the demand for the philipinos is the highest, while the demand for etheopians is the lowest. It makes perfect sense for the prices to be that way, because if they were priced equally, people would take all of the philipinos and none would take the etheopians, which over time would increase the price for philipinos because of the high demand and decrease the price for etheopians because of the low demand.

    *by price i do mean salaries, please do not think im referring to slavery.

  25. Chantel says:

    Up till now some salaries arent been increased. But never mind. We have ourrightsin here. But when u try remanding them of it, then they become angry. Right now i want to go back to my country, i have paid u my ticket fee and yet still they havent bought me my ticket.. if incase i have a problem with my renewal of my ID, and my employers couldnt make it, am i not able to go back to my country???

  26. Chantel says:

    Even if u have an exprience for 30years u will still be paid 60kd. Their salary wage is really poor. Some take less than 70kd. Why? Andmore over the work she does at home isnt a small thing. Then at the end of the month she will take 60kd. What a wicked.. All ths must be solved..


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