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Picture used for illustrative purposes. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: A new law, Federal Decree Law No. 9 of 2022 concerning domestic workers in the UAE, was announced by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) on Thursday, October 5.

The new law was issued on September 9, but it will come into effect from December 15, 2022.

In a series of online posts on their official social media channels on October 11, MOHRE highlighted the important aspects of the new law for domestic workers, employers and recruitment agencies in the UAE.

MOHRE stated: “The Federal Decree Law No. 9 of 2022 regarding domestic helpers aims to guarantee the rights of all parties involved, whether employer, employee, or recruitment agency, and outline their responsibilities towards each other, set clearly in line with the UAE's prioritisation of human rights.”

MOHRE also highlighted features of the law related to working hours, weekly breaks and leave for domestic workers and the right to a paid day off per week.

So, if you want to understand how the new ‘Domestic Helper Law’ affects domestic workers and employers in the UAE and protects the rights of all the parties involved, here is all you need to know.

What are the rights of domestic workers under the new law?

As per MOHRE, here are the important details in the new law for domestic workers:

1. A paid one-day break per week. However, if they work on their day off, they are entitled to a day in lieu or a cash compensation.

2. No less than 12 hours of break per day, 8 hours of them to be consecutive.

3. A yearly paid vacation of no less than 30 days.

4. Once every two years, the employer will bear the cost of a two-way air ticket for the domestic helper to spend vacation in their home country.

5. Sick leave of no more than 30 days, consecutive or divided, within a contractual year as needed. A medical report from a credible health authority in the UAE is needed.

6. The first 15 sick leaves to be fully paid; the other 15 days to be on half-pay.

7. Employees are entitled to receiving a copy of their employment contract.

What are the rights of employers under the new law?

MOHRE also summarised the rights of the employer outlined in the new law:

1. The employer has the right to refuse employing a domestic helper that a recruitment agency has brought in, if the agency violated conditions stated in the contract. In this case, the recruitment agency must secure another domestic helper or refund any amounts paid.

2. The employer is not obligated to pay for the domestic helper's return to their home country if they move to another job.

3. The domestic helper must respect the privacy of the employer and withhold from disclosing any secrets.

What are the duties of recruitment agencies?

To ensure that the rights of domestic workers are safeguarded and protected in the UAE, MOHRE explained a few basic points from the new law, which highlight the duties of recruitment agencies:

1. Carrying out the necessary health checks of the domestic helper at least 30 days before entering the country.

2. Educating the domestic helper of the UAE's social norms and culture.

3. Securing appropriate accommodation and living conditions for domestic helpers.