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The Rules For Housemaids In The UAE

Feb 2, 2024 | Human Resources, Legal

Understanding the UAE housemaids’ rules is essential for employers and domestic workers to ensure a harmonious and legal working relationship. The UAE’s comprehensive Domestic Labour Law sets forth clear guidelines on various aspects such as employment contracts, working hours, wages, and benefits. These regulations are designed to protect the rights of housemaids and offer a structured approach to their employment, ensuring fair treatment and respect within the household they serve. With the UAE’s commitment to upholding international labour standards, this article provides a detailed overview of the legal framework governing the employment of housemaids, reflecting the country’s dedication to fostering a supportive and just environment for domestic workers.

UAE Housemaid Regulations

Overview of Labour Laws for Domestic Workers

In the United Arab Emirates, the Domestic Labour Law ensures that the rights of housemaids and other domestic workers are protected and their employment conditions are fair and just. The law covers everything from working hours to wages, living conditions, and healthcare.

Employers are tasked with getting the necessary entry permits and residency visas for their foreign domestic workers and making sure all immigration rules are followed to the letter. This includes offering a job with clear responsibilities, working conditions, and pay.

A detailed employment contract is drawn up, which must be checked to make sure it meets legal standards and protects both parties. Housemaids in the UAE should receive a fair wage, as outlined in their contract. The law also sets precise working hours, rest periods, and days off to ensure that domestic workers are treated fairly and respectfully.

Employers have to provide decent accommodation, with living conditions that meet health and safety standards. The relationship between employers and housemaids should be based on mutual respect and fairness. Employers also need to provide healthcare and insurance, further looking after their domestic workers’ well-being.

Moreover, domestic workers get annual leave and vacation time, helping them rest and keep a healthy work-life balance. Opportunities for education and training are encouraged, allowing housemaids to improve their skills and personal growth. This approach shows the UAE’s commitment to international labour standards and the value of continuous learning, even in domestic work.

Employers should use legal channels to sort out the issue if a domestic worker breaches the contract. On the flip side, domestic workers are shielded from abuse or sexual harassment, with the law requiring employers to ensure a safe and respectful environment.

Communication is key for a domestic worker’s life, and the new law recognises this by allowing housemaids access to phones or the internet. This helps them stay in touch with their families and keep up social connections, which is crucial for their emotional health.

When a contract ends, domestic workers might get an end-of-service gratuity, a sum based on their length of service. You’re usually eligible after a set period of continuous work.

The process for working out and paying the gratuity is clear-cut, with employers providing the necessary paperwork. Hiring housemaids involves several regulated steps to ensure a fair and lawful employment relationship. Each step is designed to protect the domestic worker’s rights, from the job offer to the contract drafting and from the medical check-up to orientation and training upon arrival.

Employers should use an electronic salary transfer system for timely and transparent payments. At the end of a contract, they can renew it or follow the right steps for termination. The obligations and rights of domestic workers are well-regulated, with provisions like the Domestic Workers’ Annual Leave showing that the UAE’s domestic labour laws consider the workers’ needs and well-being.

Housemaid Making Bed

Legal Documentation and Contracts

Required Visas and Work Permits for Housemaids

Securing an entry permit is a prerequisite for obtaining a residency visa for your domestic helper. The Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation (MOHRE) is instrumental in this process, particularly for employment within the public and government sectors. You must hire domestic workers of legal age, which is a minimum of 18 years, as per the regulations.

Renewal and Termination Rules

The decision to renew or terminate a domestic worker’s contract must adhere to established protocols. A housemaid has the prerogative to end their contract, provided they have legitimate grounds for doing so. After completing six months of service, resignation is permissible under the standard employment agreements.

While gratuity payments are not as prevalent for domestic workers as they are in the formal job sector, the employment contract may specify eligibility for such benefits after a certain duration of service. The contract should delineate the formula for calculating gratuity. Employers and employees must comply with the legal framework when addressing contract violations or circumstances leading to termination.

Working Hours and Time Off

Official Working Hours for Housemaids

Housemaids are entitled to 12 hours of rest each day, including a continuous stretch of 8 hours.

Overtime and Compensation Guidelines

Housemaids who work beyond their standard hours should be compensated appropriately. The specifics of this remuneration are not detailed here, but the principle of fair payment for extra work is upheld.

Employers must ensure that any overtime is both necessary and compensated fairly.

Holidays and Days Off Entitlements

Each housemaid is entitled to one full day of paid rest weekly. Additionally, they are granted 30 days of paid annual leave, offering an opportunity for extended rest and the chance to visit their home country if they wish. Housemaids are entitled to a round-trip ticket to their home country every two years.

Suppose a housemaid’s weekly rest day falls on a public holiday, and they’re required to work. In that case, they should either get an alternative day off or additional pay. Housemaids should only be required to work up to two consecutive rest days in a fortnight unless there’s an agreement to do so.

The entitlement to 30 days of sick leave per year is also a key aspect of the housemaids’ rights, ensuring they have access to necessary healthcare and time to recover from illness without the worry of losing income. Collectively, these provisions create a supportive work environment that respects the rights and needs of housemaids.

Housemaid Vacuuming Floor

Salary and Benefits

Minimum Wage Requirements

The specific amounts for minimum wage are determined by the agreement between the employer and the domestic worker, which must adhere to the UAE’s domestic labour law guidelines.

Accommodation and Living Conditions Standards

Article 11 of the domestic labour law mandates that employers must supply adequate housing, food, and clothing for their domestic staff. The decree-law enacted on September 15, 2022, reinforces the UAE’s commitment to enhancing work conditions for domestic workers.

Health Insurance and Medical Care Obligations

Employers are responsible for providing medical treatment or health insurance for domestic helpers. The Essential Benefits Plan (EBP) in Dubai outlines the minimum coverage required for domestic workers, including an annual claim limit, emergency medical treatment within the UAE, and basic healthcare services within Dubai.

The EBP specifies co-insurance payments for in-patient services and prescriptions, setting caps to limit out-of-pocket expenses. Treatment for chronic and pre-existing conditions is covered after the first six months of the policy. The EBP costs range from USD 550 to USD 196 (AED 550 and AED 720) per year.

Dispute Resolution and Legal Protection

Mechanisms for Reporting Abuse or Contract Violations

A new decree law was introduced on September 15, 2022. It took effect on December 15, 2022, creating a comprehensive framework to tackle abuse and contract violations. This legislation ensures that domestic workers are informed about their roles, wages, and rights before arriving in the UAE. It also prohibits recruitment agencies from charging them any recruitment fees.

Furthermore, the law mandates medical examinations for domestic workers before their arrival. Agencies must provide accommodation and an orientation on UAE customs and traditions. If a domestic worker’s rights are violated, they’re instructed by the hiring agency to report to the relevant authorities, making sure their concerns are acknowledged and resolved.

Role of the Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation (MoHRE)

MoHRE is pivotal in the legal protection of domestic workers. It’s responsible for licensing domestic workers and enforcing this sector’s minimum employment age of 18. The ministry also ensures the enforcement of a unified employment contract, which details duties, wages, leave, and termination conditions, under domestic workers’ law, thus standardising employment terms and providing a clear reference for both parties.

Inspectors from MoHRE have the authority to check the operations of recruitment agencies. They also inspect the workplaces and residences of domestic workers. However, they must respect privacy and require either the homeowner’s consent or authorisation from the Public Prosecutor to enter a family residence. This approach balances oversight and privacy, ensuring domestic workers’ living and working conditions meet legal standards.

Legal Avenues for Housemaids if Rights Are Infringed

The UAE’s legal system offers multiple avenues for domestic workers to seek justice if their rights are compromised. If these rights aren’t honoured, domestic workers can switch to a different employer once they’ve fulfilled all contractual obligations with the current employer. The legislation also ensures that domestic workers receive adequate housing, food, clothing, and medical care or health insurance. It bans employing workers without the necessary work permit.

Violations of these provisions result in significant penalties, including fines and imprisonment. Falsifying information for recruitment, employing domestic workers without a work permit, hiring underage workers, or aiding a worker in abandoning their employment for exploitative or illegal activities can lead to fines ranging from USD 5,445 to USD 272,924 (AED 20,000 to AED 1 million), and in some cases, imprisonment.

These legal protections and reporting mechanisms are in place to create a safer and more equitable working environment for domestic workers in the UAE, ensuring that their rights are recognised and protected.

Housemaid Changing Linen

Upholding Domestic Workers’ Dignity

As we’ve explored, the UAE has laid a solid foundation of laws designed to protect the welfare and rights of housemaids. This ensures they can work with dignity, enjoy fair compensation, and have access to legal recourse should issues arise. Employers must remain vigilant and comply with these regulations, reinforcing the UAE’s position as a place where the rights of all workers are taken seriously and protected by the full extent of the law.

For housemaids, the clear guidelines and protections serve as a reminder that their contributions to households are valuable and respected. The systems in place promote not just compliance but a culture of respect and fairness—where the well-being of each individual is a shared priority. As the UAE modernises its workforce, these progressive measures will likely evolve further, maintaining its reputation as a leading advocate for workers’ rights in the region.

FAQs

What are the New Rules for Housemaids in UAE?

The rules for housemaids in the UAE are governed by the UAE’s Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) and are subject to change. A housemaid MUST have a licence from MoHRE. The regulations emphasised fair working hours, rest days, paid leave, and proper living conditions. The same law regulating work also requires a formal contract between the employer and the housemaid, outlining duties, salary, and other terms. It’s essential to check the latest updates from MoHRE or relevant local authorities for the most current rules.

Can a Housemaid Resign after 6 Months in the UAE?

Yes, a housemaid can resign after six months in the UAE. The resignation process should be in accordance with the terms outlined in the employment contract. Both parties must adhere to the notice period and other conditions specified in the contract. If the contract does not define these terms, the general labour laws and guidelines provided by MoHRE apply.

Can a Maid Terminate a Contract?

Yes, a maid can terminate a contract in the UAE. The process and implications of contract termination depend on the terms of the contract and the circumstances of termination. If termination occurs due to a breach of contract or abuse by the employer, the maid may have additional rights under UAE law. In all cases, the maid should consult with MoHRE or a legal professional to understand their rights and obligations before terminating a contract.

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