Sponsors have been urged to recruit workers only from licensed agencies that have a good reputation. Picture for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: Sponsors and their domestic workers can both face heavy fines for breaking laws governing their employment in the UAE, a senior prosecutor has warned.

Senior advocate general Ali Humaid Bin Khatem, Head of Naturalisation and Residency Prosecution in Dubai, said the fines can reach Dh50,000 in some cases.

Calling upon sponsors to report absconding domestic workers to avoid fines of Dh50,000, he said, “If a person reports an absconding worker, then they can be entitled to Dh10,000 in compensation if the worker is found to be working for a different employer, who is then fined Dh50,000.”

Speaking at a public awareness drive organised in cooperation with Dubai’s Community Development Authority, the official said a person caught hiring the worker illegally will be fined Dh50,000. A sum of Dh10,000 from this will be given to the sponsor.

Recovering costs

Bin Khatem added that sponsors can also redeem some of the costs of hiring domestic workers from agencies within the first two years if the worker absconds or doesn’t meet the requirements mentioned in the application.

He said: “The agency must return the amount the sponsor has paid and in the case of sending the worker back to their country, the agency must cover the air ticket’s cost as well,” he added.

Payment of wages

He called on sponsors and workers to read all relevant laws to protect each other’s rights and duties.

“I urge people to make the contract with recruitment agencies and put in all their conditions, including wages, to avoid any problems,” Bin Khatem said.

Bin Khatem said some agencies falsely claim that they can guarantee the services of a domestic worker for only six months, when in fact the guarantee period is for two years.

He also cautioned sponsors to be specific about their requirements. He said: “If you ask for a cook, then you need to specify that in the agreement with the agency, so the money can be refunded if the agency doesn’t provide a cook.”

“People should read Federal Law No. 10 of 2017 and Ministerial Decision No. 22 of 2019 in order to make sure the rights of all are preserved,” Bin Khatem said.

He urged sponsors to recruit workers only from licensed agencies that have a good reputation.

Workers’ rights

Sponsors must pay workers’ wages no later than 10 days after the end of the month, in addition to end-of-service benefits due when they leave.

“Sponsors should pay the wages on time. Domestic workers are entitled to end-of-service gratuity calculated at 14 days salary per year,” he said, adding that disputes in general are the result of people’s lack of knowledge of the law.

Keep a record of payments

He urged sponsors to keep records of contracts and receipts for the agreement with the agency and for salary payments made to the worker.

“People should make a receipt of the salary payment with the worker’s signature to preserve their rights. This helps avoid problems if the worker claims that he or she didn’t receive the salary.”