01 August 2012

Many domestic workers without contracts

East Timor Legal News 01 August 2012 Source: The Dili Weekly Written by Isabel Ermelita - Many domestic workers are currently being employed without a contract, resulting in most not earning the Government stipulated wages. Some recruit the assistance of friends and relatives to share the work.

“Here in the Districts, when people ask us to look after their children or do other household chores such as the laundry, we just do it, but in return we get paid very little,” said Luisa Elu, a domestic worker from Oe-cussi, at a social dialogue between civil society and Government on Domestic Workers which took place on the 18th of July in Hotel Timor, Dili.

She said they were forced to accept the little money being offered due to their financial situation.

Secondary School cleaners said they had no knowledge if the new Labour Code developed by the Secretary of State for Employment and Professional Training (SEFOPE).

One of them said she was pleased to participate in this seminar because it resulted in them knowing much more about their rights and duties.

“Through all this time I have only been paid US$20 a month to do a range of chores from washing cleaning and cooking, but now I know the minimum wage is US$115, so if my employer won’t pay this I will just leave,” said the domestic worker.

Meanwhile domestic worker Sabina Ase from the District of Oe-Cusse as well, said she started working in 2007 but he wages are far lower than what the government prescribes.

“I earn between US$15 and US$30 a month and the amount of work I do is disproportionate to this wage,” said the domestic worker.

She believes her employer may also be unaware of the Labour Code and asked SEFOPE to disseminate it and educate more people about it.

Angelina Soares form Baucau said she was happy to participate because of the information she gained on the Labour Code.

“I am pleased because should I find employment I will already be aware on my rights,” said a very happy Angelina.
She also hoped employers abide by the regulations established by SEFOPE.

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