With the increasing incidents of child abuse by maids, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs called on the government and private institutions to set up nurseries for their women staff as it would ..

By Eman Al Baik

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Published: Mon 21 Nov 2005, 6:57 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 3:08 PM

help accelerate the productivity of this segment of employees, following the psychological comfort they would gain from having their children nearby and well taken care of.

This call was made by Fawziya Taresh Rabee, Director of the Family and Child Care Department of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, noting that the setting up of nurseries by the government and private sector establishment is not prevented by the Nurseries Law No 5 of 1983.

On the occasion of the Universal Children’s Day celebrated worldwide yesterday, Fawziya stressed the need to provide better services to working mothers and their babies. She said: “We hear and read about cases when the child was subject to abuse and ill-treatment by maids recruited by families. Why do we subject our children to these circumstances? Apart from child abuse, many maids — especially those who do not have the minimum levels of education — are not qualified to provide care to children,” she said.

“If the maid is unhappy with the treatment of family members, the child would be directly affected as the maid will have her anger released on the baby,” she elaborated, adding, “Such aggressive behaviour could either be attributed to the family ill-treating the maid or due to the family’s attempt to discipline the maid’s behaviour in accordance with its own norms and principles. However, this field is not our concern here. What we aim at is to protect our children from the outcome of such family-maid relationship.”

“We encourage the setting up of nurseries by government and private sector establishments where children of working mothers will be cared for by qualified staff from infancy to the pre-school age. This is better than to leave the child at home in custody of maids or baby-sitters, exposing them to child abuse at worst and negligence at best.”

“The set up of such nurseries, especially if they are at the same workplace, will give the mother the opportunity to breastfeed her baby, which is, in health terms, of mutual benefit to both the child and the mother, and is also called upon by Islam and world organisations,” she said, adding, “We call for providing appropriate care of children by both the qualified staff and the mothers.”

Fawziya said that many government departments and private sector companies have significant numbers of working mothers who wish to have nurseries at the workplace. Calls for the setting up of nurseries at the workplace have been made during many meetings and conferences of women and some government councils.

Working mothers have also spoken about the worries and stresses they suffer from because of leaving their children behind at home under the maid's custody. They have also said that as a result of these circumstances, their attention to work is negatively affected, noted Fawziya. “Having nurseries at the workplace is of benefit to the employer, because they will have positive effects on the mother’s psychology, and subsequently her productivity, despite the fact that the mother would spend some time with her baby during the working hours,” added Fawziya, calling on employers to take such a factor into consideration.

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