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A maid cleaning. For illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Agency

Abu Dhabi: Domestic workers can now be replaced or the hiring fees fully or partially refunded within the entire period of the two-year recruitment contract, a senior official said on Wednesday.

The guarantee period for domestic workers hired through Tadbeer or other firms, has been extended to two years, in keeping with the executive rules of the Domestic Workers’ law, Khalil Ebrahim Khouri, assistant under-secretary of the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation for domestic workers affairs.

Initially, the Domestic Workers Law set six months as a guarantee period, during which an employer can get the hiring fees refunded or a worker replaced. Khouri said licensed firms are now obliged to refund all or part of the hiring fees of domestic workers, as per the remaining period of the contract.

Under the new rules that took effect recently, full hiring fees will be refunded, or the worker is replaced as the employer wishes, during the first six month of the contract (probationary period) in the event of termination of the contract by the worker without a legal reason, quitting work without an acceptable reason, the worker’s lacking of fitness or inability to carry out his duties as required and agreed upon.

After the probationary period and up to the end of the recruitment contract, a part of the hiring fees will be refunded if the worker terminates the contract without a legal reason or quits work without an acceptable reason, Khouri said.

The amount refunded will be calculated on the basis of the remaining period of the contract. “For example, if an employer paid to a recruitment firm Dh15,000 as hiring fees and the work quit after 15 months of the two-year contract, the employer has the right to refund Dh5,625 for the remaining nine months of the contract,” Khouri said.

Khouri added recruitment firms are obliged to refund the fees to the employer within a month of the date the employer returns the worker or reports his absence from work.

Khouri explained that in the case of an employer specifically named a domestic worker to be recruited and the recruiting firm so did, no hiring fees will be refunded.

The ministry recently launched its new app Tadbeer, which allows users to access Tadbeer centres’ services and related information around the clock from any location, using smart devices. The app is in line with the ministry’s strategy to facilitate access to its services 24/7 from any location, using smart phone apps. It is also part of the ministry’s commitment to ensuring customer happiness.

Domestic workers are hired by 32 Tadbeer firms via four packages

First package: It relates to the recruitment of domestic workers from outside the country.

Second package: It applies to hiring domestic workers who are registered for a contractual period of six months. At the end of six months, the workers will be allowed to work as resident workers for their employers or host families, subject to the approval of involved parties.

Third package: It involves the temporary recruitment of domestic workers for a two-year period. The workers will not be allowed to work as resident workers for their employers or families after the set period.

Fourth package: It features a flexible system for employers, who can hire workers on an hourly, daily or weekly basis.