New Domestic Workers Law
The new domestic workers law came into effect on Thursday, December 15. Picture used for illustrative purposes. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: A new domestic workers law has come into effect in the UAE from December 15, aimed at strengthening and regulating labour relations for domestic workers. If you have hired a house help in the UAE, it is critical to ensure that you are aware of your rights and responsibilities as an employer.

‘Federal Decree-Law No.9 of 2022 Concerning Domestic Workers’ regulates the employment of domestic workers, defines their rights and responsibilities of all the parties involved, which includes the worker, employer, and the recruitment agencies.

Recruitment or employment of a domestic worker under the age of 18 years is strictly prohibited, according to the law, which also permits the employer to refuse to employ a domestic worker if the recruitment agency had violated the terms agreed upon in the contract.

But what are the rights of a domestic worker when it comes to the leaves that they can take? Article 10 of the law looks at annual leaves that a worker is entitled to, as well as the rules that govern the relationship when a worker has to work during his or her annual leave, and whether their travel ticket should be paid for by the employer.

Here is a detailed look at Article 10.

Article 10 - Leaves

1. The domestic worker is entitled to an annual leave of not less than 30 days for each year of service which shall be paid in full before his or her departure on annual leave. For periods exceeding six months but less than one year of service, the domestic worker shall be entitled to two days per month. Depending on the circumstances, the employer may determine the date on which annual leaves are to commence, and he or she may choose to divide the leave into two parts, if necessary.

2. The employer should pay the domestic worker’s wage in addition to cash in lieu of leave for the days during which he or she worked if the exigencies of his or her work necessitate the domestic worker to work during his or her annual leave in whole or in part, and the period of leave during which he or she has worked has not been carried forward to the next year. However, it is prohibited for a domestic worker to work during his or her annual leave more than once during two consecutive years.

3. A domestic worker’s annual leave includes holidays prescribed by law that occur during the period of his or her annual leave.

4. In the event that a domestic worker wishes to spend his or her annual leave in his or her home country, the employer must incur the cost of the return ticket once every two years. In the event that both parties agree to terminate the contract following the domestic worker annual leave, the employer will bear the cost of the return ticket only.

5. Upon expiration or termination of the domestic worker’s employment contract, he/she will be entitled to receive cash in lieu of the unused annual leave days. The cash in lieu of leave is calculated on the basis of the last remuneration received by the worker.