Dubai: The new federal law on hiring domestic workers in the UAE will come into force starting Thursday, December 15, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) said on Wednesday.
MoHRE first announced the issuance of Federal Law No. 9 of 2022 Concerning Domestic Workers on October 5 this year. The Ministry noted the law does not only regulate the employment of domestic workers but “also defines the rights and responsibilities of the various parties concerned.”
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“The law establishes a comprehensive framework to strengthen and regulate labour relations for the recruitment and employment of the domestic workers in the UAE and defines the responsibilities of the parties to the relationship in a way that safeguards their rights and duties,” MoHRE said in a statement.
The Ministry added, the law clearly “stipulates an appropriate work environment for the domestic workers in accordance with the national legislation and international agreements in force in the UAE.”
Minimum age requirement
According to the new law, recruitment or temporary employment of domestic workers is only allowed if a relevant license from MoHRE is obtained.
Recruitment or employment of a domestic worker under the age of 18 years is strictly prohibited, and the employer can refuse to employ a domestic worker if the recruitment agency had violated the terms agreed upon in the contract.
The decree-law stipulates that the domestic worker must not be recruited from their country unless they are informed of the nature of the work, salary and other benefits. Evidence of their fitness, health conditions, psychological and occupational status should also be made available prior to employment.
The employment contract shall be formalised based on the format approved by MoHRE, specifying the conditions related to the recruitment of the domestic worker. This should include the specified period of recruitment as well as the basic rights and obligations that the employer shall be committed to in terms of the domestic worker’s type of work and salary.
The contract should also specify the relevant financial obligations of the employer to bring the worker from their home country to the UAE, as well as the recruitment agency fees.
In the event of violations of conditions by the recruitment agency, the stipulates that an alternative worker should be provided, or a refund of the recruitment fees should be made to the employer who would be, in this situation, entitled to ask the agency for a compensation for any potential damages due to breach of contract.
The recruitment agencies are also prohibited, whether directly or through third parties, from charging any commissions or collecting any fees for the worker’s employment.
The recruitment agencies are obliged by law to treat the domestic worker in a humane manner, without exposing them to violence, and to make them aware of the culture and traditions of the UAE society, and to inform them about the relevant authorities to voice any complains or concerns about their rights and freedom, in addition to providing appropriate accommodation in accordance with the rules and regulations governing labour accommodations in the country.
The law also specifies the obligations of the employer toward the domestic worker, including providing appropriate accommodation, a food and clothing to perform their duties as long as they work for the employer on a full-time basis not temporarily, unless otherwise agreed.
The employer must also treat the domestic worker properly, preserving their dignity and physical integrity, and pay their salary based on the agreed employment contract, the provisions of the decree-law and the resolutions issued by the Ministry, besides bearing the costs of any medical treatment for the worker, or providing health insurance in accordance with the applicable legislations.
Clear nature of work
The law prohibits the employer to recruit any domestic worker, unless they are licensed to work and not employing them for others, or with a profession different from the nature of the work defined, except with their consent and provided that it is one of the professions mentioned in the executive regulations of the decree-law.
Right to keep passport
The law grants the domestic worker the right to keep their personal identification documents (including passport). It also stipulates the conditions and guidelines to grant the heirs of the domestic worker who dies during service in the UAE, along with the salary for the month in which they passed away besides paying any other applicable dues.
As for the obligations of the domestic worker, the worker must perform the work as per the guidance and supervision of the employer and in accordance with the employment contract.
They must provide the necessary care and not interrupt work without an acceptable excuse, in addition to considering the culture and traditions of the UAE society and adhering to public decency and the instructions of the employer in implementing the work agreed upon, unless it is in violation of the contract, the law, public morals, or it exposes them to danger or legal accountability.
The domestic worker must also respect the privacy of the workplace, preserve the employer’s property, work tools, and everything in their custody, and not use them outside work without the employer’s approval, and not work except under a work permit issued to them by the Ministry and in accordance with the applicable conditions.
If the domestic worker wishes to travel to their country for annual leave, the employer shall bear the value of the round-trip fare once every two years. If the two parties agree to terminate or not renew the work contract after the annual leave, the employer shall bear a one-way ticket only for the domestic worker to their home country.
In the event of a dispute between the employer and the domestic worker and the inability to settle it amicably, it must be referred to MohRE, which has the right to take whatever steps it deems appropriate to settle the dispute amicably in accordance with procedures stipulated in executive regulations of the decree-law.
If an amicable settlement is not possible within the specified period, the dispute shall be referred to the relevant court. The law grants the domestic worker the right to work for a new employer, provided that all contractual requirements are met, and the rights of the original employer are taken into account and in accordance with the conditions and procedures in force in the Ministry.
The employer is not obligated to pay the expenses of the worker’s return to their country if the worker joins another job, in accordance with the provisions of this decree-law and its executive regulations.