Sri Lanka has requested Saudi Arabia to increase the minimum wage of SR900 set for its domestic workers because of the rising cost of living in the island, Arab News reported.
Thalatha Atukorale, Minister of Foreign Employment, made this request when she met the First Secretary of the Saudi Embassy Misary Al-Thiyabi at her office in Colombo.
During the discussion with the Saudi official, she pointed out that with the cost of living rising globally, including the Kingdom, the need for a minimum wage has become important to keep up with daily expenses.
The minister said there are discrepancies in salaries paid to Lankan expatriate workers by various sponsors while adding that these anomalies could be rectified by introducing a minimum wage.
She has conveyed to the Saudi envoy, the desire of the government to begin talks with the relevant authorities in the Kingdom on the above issue.
According to Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment sources, the First Secretary has responded positively to the minister’s request and has said he would take steps to facilitate such talks.
Saudi Arabia currently employs the highest contingent of Lankan expatriate workers numbering over 500,000. This is close to one third of the country’s total migrant worker population.
According to an official from the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) , the minimum age limit for housemaids traveling to the Kingdom is 25.
He said that housemaids who come for foreign employment are given a 21-day residential training course before being posted to overseas stations.