Bangladeshi housemaids in UAE get mandatory insurance policy

The Bangladesh embassy in the UAE has said sponsors will now have to pay for an insurance policy that will guarantee a Dh42,000 payout to a maid's family in the event of death.

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ABU DHABI // The Bangladesh embassy has introduced an insurance policy to help dom­estic workers support their families in the event of their death or should they suffer ­major health problems.

If they should die, an insurance company will pay the family Dh42,000 and, in the case of injury, they will be granted relative financial support, according to the policy.

Other countries that send domestic workers to the UAE, such as the Philippines and Nepal, do not provide such cover and claim compensation through the courts in the event of an accident.

Under the policy, which was introduced in September last year but only revealed publicly now, for any domestic helper coming to the UAE, the sponsor has to pay a one-time premium of Dh200 for insurance, which is valid for three years.

Arman Ullah Chowdhury, ­labour counsellor at the embassy, said that, other forms of compensation aside, beneficiaries would be able to claim Dh42,000 in the event the housemaid died, no matter the reason.

While those working for private and government companies in most emirates are required to have health insurance, the rules do not apply to domestic helpers. The onus is on the sponsor to provide healthcare cover for their maid.

The aim is to give housemaids some security that their family would be compensated in the event of their death, Mr Chowdhury said.

There have already been a few cases where the policy has been enforced, including a payout to the family of a housemaid who died, “while another received medical assistance,” Mr Chowdhury said. Last year, about 15,000 domestic helpers came to the UAE from Bangladesh.

Dhananjay Jha, the Nepalese ambassador to the UAE, said there was no such legal arrangement for housemaid life insurance for his compatriates.

In Nepal, all workers who travel abroad for work have life insurance that means their families get 500,000 Nepalese rupees (Dh17,233), in case of death, Mr Jha said.

Very few sponsors or companies insure housemaids with life and damage policies here, the ambassador said.

Ophelia Almenario, at the Philippine overseas labour ­office in Abu Dhabi, said: “For housemaids, there is no such insurance policy in place.”