Bahrain has passed a new labor law, Labor Law 36, protecting the rights of workers after four years of delays. The legislation, which has been ratified by King Hamad, will impose harsher penalties on employers risking employees’ health and safety, and will also increase vacation time to 30 days and lengthen maternity leave. The law also, for the first time, protects domestic workers.
The new labor law is also the first to protect the rights of domestic workers. Domestic workers are entitled to contracts and vacation days. They have the right to petition if employers violate their rights, and they are also entitled to join trade unions. If unemployed, the government will pay expat workers 60 percent of their basic salary until they find new employment.
"Including domestic workers (even though it is in a limited capacity) under Bahrain Labour Laws is a step in the right direction. However, the implementation will be very important. Laws are effective only when there is compliance and enforcement," said Mehru Vesuvala, an active community volunteer in India.