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the optional insurance for domestic workers

Third Objective: Strengthen Regulatory Framework on Access to Work and Workers’ Rights

A- Fill and review regulatory gaps

Recruitment of expatriate workers is primarily subject to the needs and requirements of each sector and economic development and should not be a substitute for hiring Bahraini workers. Instead, it should focus on bridging the skills gap in the market until citizens have developed the necessary expertise. The policies and procedures for hiring expatriate workers must strike a balance so that the employment of these workers does not lead to unfair competition for Bahrainis nor flood the market with a surplus of irregular labour, while meeting the employment needs of businesses. The national plan calls for a regular review and evaluation of required Bahrainisation rates in private sector establishments to ensure that it is updated according to the different variables and indicators of the Kingdom’s labour market. This process should enhance the preference for hiring Bahrainis without harming the workflow of establishments.

The plan is also keen to improve the Flexi Programme to reduce the number of irregular workers. Additionally, there will be a review of the regulatory procedures related to commercial registration to protect workers’ rights while emphasising the importance of adhering to Bahrainisation rates.

The plan will also review the procedures for registering job seekers and developing the eligibility and disbursement criteria.

B- Dealing with the economic effects of the pandemic

One of the important initiatives approved by the Cabinet of Ministers is dealing with the economic effects of the pandemic and ensuring the stability of nationals in the labour market. This is achieved through the payment of salaries of insured Bahrainis who work in the private sector and by the launch of the National Employment Programme. The programme includes a package of initiatives and measures extended for three years to enhance employment and training, aiming to employ 25,000 Bahrainis and provide 10,000 training opportunities in 2021.

The programme includes several initiatives such as subsidising wages, extending the period of job advertising in the press for recruitment requests from abroad from two to three weeks, facilitating the registration of job seekers, and providing a permanent electronic job portal.

The plan also aims to: provide the necessary flexibility for the involvement of various segments of society in the labour market, develop the social insurance system, and encouraging the employment and integration of Bahraini women into the labour market, taking into account successful experiences such as of part-time work and remote work. This is in accordance with the directions of the National Plan for the Advancement of Bahraini Women 2013 – 2022 which aims to sustain the participation of Bahraini women in the labour market and is supervised by the Supreme Council for Women.

C- Regulating residency for expatriate workers

The plan emphasises the importance of regulating workers’ housing and adhering to safety requirements in these facilities, through continuous follow-up inspections of the facilities to ensure workers safety and their rights are protected.

D- Measures against violators

The plan calls for intensifying efforts and measures to monitor irregular workers and reduce their numbers in the labour market to prevent unfair competition. The tightening of controls will ensure that business owners are not affected by the presence of such workers, and joint inspection campaigns will ensure the integration of the responsibilities and tasks of these various bodies in the enforcement of Law.

E- Safeguarding the rights of all workers

The plan and various government policies also aim to guarantee the rights of all workers and protect their income through the implementation of the wage protection system, developing labour inspection bodies and settling labour disputes, and strengthening efforts to combat forced labour and human trafficking.

Last Update: Tuesday 15 February 2022