Employers’ perspectives towards domestic workers in Kuwait: a qualitative study on attitudes, working conditions and the employment relationship

To improve the living and working conditions of domestic workers in Kuwait – by developing more informed policies and effective advocacy and awareness programs – the attitudes of employers towards domestic workers must be better understood. The research upon which this report is based aimed to explore general attitudes and perceptions of employers towards domestic workers, as well as develop a better understanding of actual working practices and the employment relationship between employers and domestic workers.

The vulnerability of domestic workers in Kuwait has been widely researched and published by international organizations and has gained international attention. These reports have included extensive recommendations to policy-makers and have urged improvements to the conditions of domestic workers.

A number of factors contribute to the vulnerability of domestic workers. These include the general lack of labour regulations in the domestic work sector, the sponsorship, or kafala, system under which the domestic worker is dependent on and bound to their employer, and the unregulated nature of recruiting agencies.

It is vital for domestic workers to be protected through institutional policies and adequate regulations. However, it is just as important for these policies and regulations to be translated into the attitudes and practices of employers – this is the determining factor to improving the working and living conditions of domestic workers.