COVID-19: Labour ministry, Embassy and POLO come together to help Filipino expats in Qatar
Tribune News Network
The Philippine Embassy and Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Doha continues to coordinate closely with the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs (MADSLA) in attending to the needs of Filipinos in Qatar during this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.
During this period, POLO has supported all requests for assistance from Filipino workers to file employment complaints and queries through MADLSA’s Amerni Online application, email accounts and hotlines. These requests are promptly reviewed and resolved by MADLSA.
In cases where the Embassy has received requests for assistance regarding salaries and living expenses, MADLSA has ensured that employers adhere to their legal obligations. POLO also coordinates with some Filipino community organisations who give food assistance to their members, while being mindful of the health and safety measures introduced by the Qatari authorities.
In April 2020, the Philippine Embassy and POLO facilitated the repatriation of 128 Filipino workers to the Philippines in coordination with the Search and Follow Up Department (SAFD) of the Ministry of Interior, which processed their exit clearances and provided the workers’ air-line tickets free of charge.
MADLSA gives special attention to the conditions of our household service workers, home care nurses and cleaners in light of the current pandemic. The Ministry has informed the Embassy and POLO that it is also currently doing the following:
• Keeping track of the numbers of workers whose family members have been diagnosed, appear infected, or came into close contact with persons who are infected with COVID-19, especially those who came from Europe, in cooperation with the Ministry of Public Health, while providing the necessary health care to them, and requiring employers to pay salaries and provide the food needed for those in quarantine.
• Requiring employers of cleaning companies and nursing home care companies and heads of household to provide protective equipment (masks, gloves, cleaning and sterilization supplies, and others).
• Requiring recruitment agencies to enhance awareness about COVID-19 and to follow the adopted instructions, and provide protective equipment (gloves, cleaning and sterili-zation and others)
• Preparing a list of names and numbers of household service workers, cleaning compa-nies, and their nursing home care companies, along with the names of the heads of households, their addresses and their contact numbers to communicate with them for the purpose of awareness and proper information.
• SMSs were sent to employers including heads of households, to instruct them of the need to raise awareness among their employees about, and to abide by, the precautionary measures for the prevention of COVID-19, through personal hygiene, using the nec-essary sanitizers, and wearing masks and gloves during work.
The Embassy and POLO also support the circular issued by the Qatar Central Bank and calls from ADLSA for employers to open bank accounts for household service workers as part of the country’s efforts to provide banking services to all sectors of society.
MADLSA has a 24-hour hotline service to receive complaints and remarks from workers in-cluding domestic workers on the numbers (40280661) and (16008). Work complaints can also be sent via SMS to 92727 by entering number (5) then QID number or visa number. Work complaints can also be sent to the Ministry’s email: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.