Jeddah: An Indian nurse along with her new born baby left stranded in Saudi Arabia following a dispute over her employment agreement’s vacation term clause. She was arrested at the airport based on the complaint of her employer but was let out on bail after that she delivered a baby girl.
Tinu Stephen, a native of Kottayam in Kerala, along with her new born is now waiting for the court judgement to travel home. Following the unfortunate turn of events, she approached the Governorate to seek justice, but her major obstacle was that she was maliciously declared an absconder by her employer. She was, however, cleared by authorities concerned after the Governor’s office intervention that ensured prompt justice.
According to the 28-year-old nurse, her trouble began when she sought maternity leave to go home during the early stage of her pregnancy. The employer, a polyclinic in Abha province, where she works as staff nurse, delayed it citing one or the other reasons.
The nurse came to Saudi on February, 2017 on a three year contract, and claims that the recruitment agent had assured that though the contract period was for three years, she can avail vacation for valid reasons and accordingly, she travelled home after the first year to get married. After a month of her marriage, Tinu returned to work on May, 2018.
When she found that she was pregnant, she again sought maternity leave to head back home. “The management told me that I will be allowed to take maternity leave only after inspection of the polyclinic by the Ministry of Health officials, and later they said that I have to wait further till other newly recruited nurses arrive from Sudan,” Tintu said.
“The sponsor laid down conditions that I should bring an accredited nurse and also pay salary for two months in addition to security deposit in case of Tinu fails to return to the Kingdom”, explained Ashraf Kuttichal, an Indian community worker who negotiated with the sponsor on behalf of the Indian consulate.
Refusing to accept these terms, Ashraf approached officials and secured her exit through deportation center and dropped the nurse at Abha airport to board the flight. The sponsor, however, spotted the nurse at the airport and called the police to arrest her, and she was taken to the police station.
“I secured her release on bail when I came to know that she was arrested, and later her sponsor falsely implicated me in the case, and I too was arrested by the police,” Ashraf said.
After release from police custody, Tinu delivered a baby girl at Abha maternity hospital. The matter is being probed by the Labour Court of the Ministry of Justice.