Monday, November 17, 2008

Bahrain Mulls Giving Maids a Day Off

In many ways, Bahrain is an "easy" country... It is easier to be a "Westerner" there than it is in Saudi Arabia. You do not have to don a full-length, shapeless black bag when you leave your house [or compound]. There is no forced segregation of the sexes - an entrance for men and an entrance for women. Malls and shops do not all close for prayer times [except during Ramadan] - and they certainly do not close for the entire afternoon like they do here. Clothing stores have fitting rooms... Women can drive in Bahrain. But then, women can drive in almost every other country in the world, but here! You can go out to eat at a nice restaurant and order a glass of wine with your meal - or a beer - or whatever it is that you want to drink [except, of course, during Ramadan]. You can go to a movie theater... For a short while, when DH was a contractor here in the Sandbox and I was not allowed to accompany him, we considered getting an apartment in Bahrain - where I would have been allowed. [Yes. Of course we were married - but until DH was a full-time employee at the company he works for, as a contractor he was "single" as far as the powers that be, here, were concerned, and I was not allowed to come with him.]

Bahrain is ahead of the curve insofar as being a civilized country. In yesterday's paper there was an article that says that a special committee has been formed "to work on the rights of domestic workers" which will mandate that the maids have a "compulsory weekly day off." I am hopeful, for the maids' that this will be made a law and that they will receive a day off. It would be great if the practice was adopted throughout the entire Gulf...


  1. good luck with that every maid has a written contract in Saudi which stipulates a day off each week. Does she get it? nope.. and where would they go?

  2. Even if she just sat in her room, wouldn't it be good to have a break, NZ? Don't a lot of them congregate on Friday's downtown to shop and be with their friends? A lot of them - being the few that do actually get a day a week off...

  3. but your forgetting the risk sponsors take with their maids popping up pregnant. I've had some friends who had that problem and it isn't pretty legally for the sponsor let alone the maid. Not to mention those who want to make a few extra dolloars not so legally (happens more than ya think). I mean saudi isn't bahrain in this respect so it is a bit different.

    And sitting in a room isn't much fun at all. I let my maids have a relaxed friday, of course my maids are not worked like dogs either I break their schedule down to where they have loads of free time.

    but nope won't let anyone I sponsor out without a direct relative. The nanny goes out with her brother and so does our maid. Doesn't bother me as long as it doesn't become a problem in my house and this is an issue some families are having.. tough situation.


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