Bahrain is a country with a diverse population, including a significant number of overseas Filipino workers. It is important for OFWs to understand their rights as employees, as well as the laws that govern their working conditions. This article aims to provide a brief overview of the labor laws and workers’ rights in Bahrain, including information on minimum wage, working hours, and other important rights and protections. It will provide valuable information for OFWs and help them navigate their rights and responsibilities as employees in Bahrain.
If this is something that you would like to learn more about, keep on reading the following sections:
- The Philippines – Bahrain Labor Agreement
- What is a Standard Contract?
- Employment Contract Requirements
- Basic Rights of Workers
- Terms and Conditions of Employment
- Employee Representation and Industrial Relations
- Maternity and Family Leave Rights
- Termination of Employment
- Data Protection and Employee Privacy
- Returning to the Workplace After COVID-19
- What You Should Know as an OFW in Bahrain
- Frequently Asked Questions
- 1. What rights do OFWs have under Bahraini labor laws?
- 2. What are the minimum working conditions that OFWs are entitled to in Bahrain?
- 3. What is the process for OFWs to file a complaint about a violation of their rights?
- 4. What happens if an employer is found to have violated an OFW’s rights?
- 5. Are OFWs in Bahrain entitled to receive their wages on a regular basis?
- 6. Are OFWs entitled to have their passports and other personal documents returned to them by the employer?
- 7. What legal remedies are available to OFWs if their rights have been violated?
- Final Thoughts
The Philippines – Bahrain Labor Agreement
The Philippines – Bahrain labor agreement is a bilateral agreement between the Philippines and Bahrain that allows Filipino workers to work in Bahrain under specific conditions. It is administered by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), which has offices in Manama and Muharraq.
The bilateral labor agreement outlines the rights and protections for Filipino workers in Bahrain. The agreement aims to ensure that overseas Filipino workers are treated fairly and are protected from exploitation. It covers several key areas, such as:
- Recruitment: The agreement requires that all recruitment agencies in the Philippines must be licensed by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). This is to ensure that OFWs are properly informed about job opportunities and the terms of employment.
- Working conditions: The agreement stipulates that OFWs must receive fair wages and working hours. It also requires employers to provide safe and healthy working conditions and to comply with Bahrain’s labor laws.
- Repatriation: The agreement requires that employers must bear the cost of repatriating their Filipino employees if they are terminated from their employment, regardless of the cause.
- Protection of rights: The agreement ensures that OFWs have the right to access justice and to legal representation. It also establishes a mechanism for the resolution of disputes between OFWs and their employers, through the labor attaché of the Philippine Embassy in Bahrain.
Overall the agreement provides important protections and rights for OFWs in Bahrain, by ensuring that they are treated fairly and not exploited by employers.
What is a Standard Contract?
A standard contract is a contract that covers all employees in the same job category. This type of contract must contain the terms and conditions of employment, such as salary, working hours, leave, etc., which are applicable to all employees. It also includes provisions on wages, payment of benefits/allowances and other entitlements under different circumstances (e.g. termination).
The employer must provide a copy of the standard contract to its employees upon hiring them and it should be signed by both parties before work commences.
Employment Contract Requirements
In Bahrain, a valid labor contract is a legally binding agreement between an employer and an employee that outlines the terms and conditions of their employment. The contract must be in writing, signed by both parties, and include specific information about the nature of the work to be performed and the conditions of employment. To ensure that all parties understand the terms of the contract, it must be written in the local language (Arabic) or translated into a language that the employee understands. The requirements outlined in a labor contract are legally binding and can be used to enforce an employee’s rights and obligations if there is any dispute.
Basic Rights of Workers
You are protected by the labor laws of Bahrain. Here are some of your basic rights:
- You have a right to a safe and healthy workplace.
- You must be paid for all overtime work.
- If you become ill, you must receive payment for any days missed from work.
- When your contract ends, you are entitled to be paid for annual leave days remaining on your contract as well as any unused sick leaves or maternity leaves owed to you.
- If a public holiday falls during your work week, it will be considered an ordinary working day and no additional pay will be provided for that day’s absence from work.
Minimum wage refers to the lowest amount of compensation an employer is legally required to pay an employee for their work. In Bahrain, the minimum wage is set by the Bahraini government, but it doesn’t apply to all workers, it is not set for all sectors and doesn’t include domestic worker and agricultural worker.
For Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Bahrain, the minimum wage is an important aspect of their working conditions and it affects their overall income and standard of living. OFWs typically work in sectors such as domestic work, construction, and hospitality, where minimum wages might not be set. Therefore, it’s crucial for OFWs to negotiate and agree on a fair salary that meets their basic needs before accepting a job in Bahrain.
OFWs who are not receiving the minimum wage or fair compensation should contact the Philippine Embassy in Bahrain or seek legal aid and representation to ensure that their rights are protected and they are not being exploited by their employers.
It’s important to note that, in addition to the minimum wage, there are other labor laws in Bahrain that protect workers’ rights, such as working hours, overtime pay, and the provision of safe and healthy working conditions. OFWs must be aware of these laws and should know how to advocate for their rights and interests.
In Bahrain, the standard workweek is 48 hours, which is typically spread over six days. The law allows for a maximum of 8 hours of work per day, and employees are entitled to one day off per week. The working hours could be flexible and determined by the employer but they should not exceed the maximum limit and should be considered as per the agreement on the labor contract.
Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Bahrain are also entitled to the same working hours and rights as any other worker in the country, as per the Philippines-Bahrain labor agreement. This means that they should receive fair working hours and should not be required to work excessive overtime. Employers are also required to provide safe and healthy working conditions for OFWs, which includes compliance with the standard working hours.
OFWs should be informed about their rights and working hours before they depart the Philippines, by their recruitment agency, and also should be indicated in the labor contract. If an OFW is asked to work excessive hours, they should bring this up with their employer, or contact the Philippine Embassy in Bahrain for assistance.
It is important for OFWs to be aware of their rights and working hours, as well as the laws that govern their employment in Bahrain, to ensure that they are treated fairly and not exploited by their employers.
Terms and Conditions of Employment
In Bahrain, the terms and conditions of employment are outlined in an employment contract. Both parties agree to uphold their responsibilities as employer and employee. Employees have basic rights that employers must respect. These include the right to be treated with dignity and respect at all times, right to privacy, and the right to return to work after COVID-19.
In addition to the general rights, there are several legal requirements for companies based in Bahrain that employ overseas Filipino workers. One of these is the requirement for Employer Representation and Industrial Relations (ERIR). ERIR is a union or association that represents employees in the workplace and negotiates collective agreements on behalf of its members with employers or management representatives on wages, hours of work, holidays, and other conditions of service. This ensures that the rights and welfare of OFWs are protected and that their employment conditions are fair and reasonable.
Employers are also responsible for complying with Bahrain’s labor laws and regulations and for providing safe and healthy working conditions for OFWs. They are also required to comply with the Philippines-Bahrain labor agreement, which ensures the rights and protections of OFWs.
Employee Representation and Industrial Relations
In Bahrain, workers have the right to form or join a union of their own choosing, and no worker can be fired for joining a union. This is in line with the Constitution of Bahrain which guarantees the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining.
Employees also have the legal right to strike, which means they have the right to stop working in order to negotiate working conditions with their employer. But this right is subject to certain procedures and regulations, such as providing a notice to the employer and the government before striking, and not striking over certain disputes.
Workers also have the right to collective bargaining, also known as “bargaining collectively.” This means that employers are required to negotiate with an authorized representative of employees over wages, hours, working conditions, and other terms of employment. It’s important to note that Collective bargaining is not a right to avoid being paid by refusing to work altogether, meaning that workers can not stop working and still expect to get paid. Overall, these rights are in place to protect the rights of the workers, to negotiate for better working conditions, and to ensure that the employees are treated fairly by their employers.
Like in many countries, Bahrain has laws in place to protect workers from discrimination on the basis of certain protected characteristics, such as race, national origin, gender, religion, and other grounds. These laws apply to all workers, including Overseas Filipino Workers.
The Bahrain Labor Law prohibits discrimination in the workplace on the basis of certain protected characteristics, such as race, sex, religion, and nationality. This means that employers are not allowed to treat employees differently based on their race, sex, religion, or national origin.
However, it’s important to note that discrimination can be subtle, and may be difficult to prove. OFWs who believe that they have been the victim of discrimination should report the matter to the Philippine Embassy in Bahrain. They can also contact the Ministry of Labor and Social Development in Bahrain, which is responsible for enforcing labor laws in the country.
In addition to the legal protections, OFWs should be aware of their rights and should not be afraid to speak out if they feel that they have been treated unfairly. They should also seek assistance from the Philippine Embassy or community organizations if they need help in dealing with discrimination in the workplace.
Lastly it’s worth mentioning that Philippines-Bahrain labor agreement also has a provision on non-discrimination of workers, where employers must respect the rights of the OFWs to work in safe and healthy working conditions, free from discrimination. In summary, Bahrain has laws in place to protect workers from discrimination, including OFWs, and there are also protections under the Philippines-Bahrain Labor Agreement, OFWs who experience discrimination should report it and seek assistance.
Maternity and Family Leave Rights
The new Maternity Law in Bahrain is a significant step forward for the rights of Filipino women working in the country. The law provides for paid maternity leave of 120 days, with the option to extend this by 30 days. This means that women who are employed on a fixed-term contract or are hired through an agency (where the employer pays directly) will receive their full pay during their maternity leave. For those women with direct hire contracts, their employers must pay their salaries during their maternity leave.
The new law also allows domestic workers and live-in caregivers the option to take unpaid leave. These workers are not entitled to any compensation while they’re out taking care of their children. However, it should be noted that employers cannot withhold their passports during this period under any circumstances.
This new law is beneficial for Filipino women in Bahrain as it provides them with more time to take care of their newborn children and allows them to take a break from work without worrying about their finances. This also means that Filipina workers will have a better work-life balance and will not have to choose between caring for their new born and working. The law provides a significant step forward in protecting the rights of Filipino women working in Bahrain and also supports the idea of valuing family time.
Termination of Employment
If the employer wishes to terminate the contract without cause, he or she must give notice of termination in writing. The number of days’ notice varies depending on whether or not the employee is a probationary employee. If an employee has served less than 6 months in continuous service, he or she will be considered a probationary employee and will be entitled to one day’s notice for every month worked up until 6 months’ service, after which time they are no longer considered a probationary employee.
Data Protection and Employee Privacy
It is important for workers to know how their personal data is being used.
Employers must also inform employees about how their personal data will be collected and used. In addition, employers are required to make sure that the information collected from employees is accurate, up-to-date, correctable and secure. Employers should also have policies in place so that they can monitor the use of this information by third parties who work for them such as suppliers or contractors who may have access to employee data via IT systems or other means.
Returning to the Workplace After COVID-19
If you are an OFW and were infected with COVID-19, it is important to know the following:
First and foremost, it is important to follow the guidelines and advice provided by healthcare professionals. You may only return to work after COVID-19 if you have been cleared by your doctor and it is safe for you to do so. Your employer should also be aware of this and should be informed of your condition.
Before returning to work, you will need to obtain a health certificate from your doctor stating that you have recovered from COVID-19 and that it is safe for you to return to work. It is important to keep a copy of this certificate on hand when going back to work and make sure that it includes information about when you can start working again and whether or not any required vaccinations need to be administered prior to doing so.
In addition to the health certificate, you will also need an Exit Clearance Certificate (ECC) issued by the Labor Office at the Ministry of Labor & Social Development (MOLSD). This certificate is an important step for ensuring that no other workers are infected with COVID-19 while they’re at work; It serves as proof that you have been cleared to travel and/or return to work after being infected with COVID-19 and that you were vaccinated against pneumonia before leaving Bahrain.
What You Should Know as an OFW in Bahrain
As an OFW in Bahrain, it is important to be aware of your rights and know what you are entitled to as a worker in the country. This includes understanding the labor laws and policies in Bahrain, as well as other important matters such as your contract with your employer, health insurance, and other benefits.
The Labor Law of the State of Bahrain contains provisions that apply to all workers in Bahrain, regardless of nationality or citizenship. This law covers a wide range of topics including working hours, overtime pay, leave, termination, and more. Additionally, there are other laws and policies in place that address specific sectors or conditions, such as oil and gas workers.
It is important to familiarize yourself with these laws and policies so that you are aware of your rights and can take action if something goes wrong at work, or if there is an accident or incident onsite where you are working. This might include reporting any issues or concerns to your employer, the Ministry of Labour and Social Development (MOLSD) or the Philippine Embassy in Bahrain, if the situation is not resolved internally.
In addition, It’s highly important to have a clear understanding of the labor contract you have signed with your employer, you should ensure that the contract is valid and legal and that it complies with the labor laws of Bahrain. Being aware of your rights and responsibilities will help you negotiate better terms and conditions with your employer and also protect you from any malpractice or exploitation.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What rights do OFWs have under Bahraini labor laws?
OFWs in Bahrain are entitled to the same rights and protections as Bahraini citizens under the country’s labor laws. This includes the right to a fair wage, safe working conditions, and protection against discrimination and harassment.
2. What are the minimum working conditions that OFWs are entitled to in Bahrain?
OFWs in Bahrain are entitled to a minimum wage, rest breaks, paid leave, and protection against forced labor. They are also entitled to form or join trade unions.
3. What is the process for OFWs to file a complaint about a violation of their rights?
OFWs can file a complaint about a violation of their rights with the Ministry of Labour and Social Development, which is responsible for enforcing Bahrain’s labor laws. Complaints can be made in person, by phone, or online.
4. What happens if an employer is found to have violated an OFW’s rights?
If an employer is found to have violated an OFW’s rights, they may face fines or other penalties, depending on the nature and severity of the violation. In some cases, the employer may also be required to compensate the OFW for any losses or damages suffered as a result of the violation.
5. Are OFWs in Bahrain entitled to receive their wages on a regular basis?
Yes, OFWs are entitled to receive their wages on a regular basis, as stated in labor law of Bahrain. Employers are required to pay their employees on time and should not delay or hold back wages without a valid reason.
6. Are OFWs entitled to have their passports and other personal documents returned to them by the employer?
Yes, OFWs are entitled to have their passports and other personal documents returned to them by the employer. Employers are not permitted to keep an OFW’s personal documents, including their passport, as a form of security or punishment.
7. What legal remedies are available to OFWs if their rights have been violated?
If an OFW’s rights have been violated, they may file a complaint with the Ministry of Labour and Social Development, seek assistance from their embassy or consulate, or seek legal remedies through the courts. OFWs may also use the resources provided by the labor welfare office, NGO or other organization to seek help on their rights protection.
In conclusion, understanding the labor laws and workers’ rights in Bahrain is essential for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) to ensure that they are treated fairly and that their rights are protected. The laws and policies of Bahrain, including the Labor Law, provide important protections for workers in the country, and cover a wide range of topics such as working hours, overtime pay, leave, and termination. Additionally, the Philippines-Bahrain Labor agreement also addresses several concerns of the OFWs such as discrimination, safety, health and protection of rights.
It is important for OFWs to be familiar with these laws and policies, as well as the terms of their contract with their employer, in order to navigate their rights and responsibilities as employees in Bahrain.
In this article, we provided a brief overview of the labor laws and worker’s rights in Bahrain. But, If you want to learn more about the laws and policies that govern the rights and protections of OFWs in Bahrain, It is recommended to seek guidance from the Philippine Embassy in Bahrain or other community organizations that can provide information and assistance. Additionally, it’s worth noting that this article is not a comprehensive guide, and the laws and policies may change over time.
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