With the help of Saudi authorities, a Sri Lankan maid received SR88,600 ($23,625) in back wages for the past 17 years.
This is considered the largest amount, around 3.6m Sri Lankan Rupees, recovered as salary arrears paid to a Sri Lankan migrant worker in the history of the island.
K.G. Kusumawathi, 44, came to the Kingdom in 2000 when she was only 27 and had a two-year-old daughter Hansika Sewwandi, and a son Thushitha Madusha, four years of age.
The sponsor kept her for this period without allowing her to go home.
According to Kusumawathi, the sponsor regularly paid her monthly salary of SR400 for the first eight years, and she had SR38,600 in cash in hand when the authorities tracked her at the workplace. The balance of SR50,000 was paid by the employer.
Speaking to Arab News, Susil Kumar Peli, the labor counselor at the Sri Lankan Consulate in Jeddah, the mission tracked the maid based on a complaint made in Colombo by the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) and Justice and Foreign Employment Minister Thalatha Atukorale six months ago.
Based on the information provided, he said the mission sought the assistance of the governorate in Taif which traced the sponsor, and the maid was promptly brought to the mission.
According to the diplomat, the maid had worked as a shepherdess in the remote village of Ateef, 40 km away from Taif on the Riyadh-Taif highway.
The maid had told the mission that there was no harassment by the sponsor except for the refusal to grant her permission to go home after the contracted period.
According to Saudi regulations, the sponsor is duty bound to send maids back home on completion of their work contracts.
The counselor said that the maid was sent home and she had a grand reunion in her hometown, he said, adding that she was very happy when she saw the two-year-old daughter she left had grown into a woman.
Nalin Rajapaksa, media spokesman of the SLBFE told Arab News that the minister was thankful to the Saudi government and the island’s consulate in Jeddah for their cooperation in sending maid back home with her paid-up salary.