Are You a Domestic Worker in UAE? Know Your Rights and Obligations of Employer

By knowing their rights and responsibilities, domestic workers can face challenges confidently

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on June 25, 2024, 16:46:15


rights of domestic workers in dubai


Federal Decree-Law No. 9 of 2022 governs the law concerning domestic workers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Enacted to ensure the protection and fair treatment of domestic workers, this decree-law represents a significant step towards regulating this often overlooked sector, providing clarity on responsibilities and avenues for dispute resolution.

Understanding the Law

Under Federal Decree-Law No. 9 of 2022, several key provisions outline the rights and obligations of domestic workers and their employers, including:

Working Hours and Rest Periods: Domestic workers are entitled to a maximum of 12 hours of work per day, with at least 8 hours of rest. They should also be provided with one day off per week, preferably on a Friday.
Compensation and Benefits: Domestic workers are entitled to receive their wages in full and on time. Employers must also provide suitable accommodation, food and medical care to ensure the worker's basic needs are met.
Respect and Dignity: Employers are obligated to treat domestic workers with respect and dignity, refraining from any form of physical or verbal abuse. Likewise, workers are expected to carry out their duties diligently and respectfully.
Termination and Dispute Resolution: The decree-law stipulates procedures for termination, ensuring fair treatment for both parties. In case of disputes, avenues for resolution through mediation and legal channels are provided.
Minimum Salary: The law does not specify a minimum salary.
Annual Leave: Workers are entitled to 30 days of paid annual leave.
Probation Period: The probation period should not exceed six months from the date of commencement.

Obligations of the Employer

  • Provide appropriate accommodation for the domestic worker.
  • Provide meals and necessary clothing for the performance of duties, unless employed on a temporary basis.
  • Cover the costs of medical care or provide health insurance as per the UAE health system.
  • Allow the domestic worker to retain all official documents.
  • In case of death during service, the worker's heirs are entitled to wages for the month of death and any other due entitlements.
  • Cover repatriation costs to the worker's country of origin as per the Decree-Law and its regulations.

Challenges Faced by Domestic Workers

Despite the legal framework, domestic workers in the UAE often struggle to assert their rights due to language barriers, fear of retaliation and lack of awareness about legal protections. Common issues include underpayment, excessive working hours and inadequate living conditions.

Questions and Legal Remedies

For domestic workers seeking clarity on their rights and obligations, here are some common questions addressed:

Q1: What should I do if I'm not being paid my wages or if my employer breaches the terms of my contract?
A: Document any violations and seek assistance from relevant authorities such as the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) or legal aid organisations specialising in labour rights.

Q2:My employer is demanding I work beyond the stipulated hours. What recourse do I have?
A: Inform your employer of the legal limits on working hours and request adherence to the law. If the issue persists, consider seeking assistance from labour authorities or legal advisors.

Q3:I am facing mistreatment and abuse from my employer. How can I ensure my safety and seek redressal?
A: Contact law enforcement or seek refuge at shelters provided for victims of abuse. Additionally, legal aid organisations can assist in filing complaints and obtaining protection orders.

Workmen Gratuity

For domestic workers in the UAE, entitlement to gratuity depends on the terms outlined in their employment contract and whether they fall under the purview of the UAE Labour Law or other regulations.

While Federal Decree-Law No. 9 of 2022 may not explicitly mention gratuity provisions, it focuses on aspects such as working hours, compensation, and dispute resolution mechanisms.

Domestic workers should review their contracts carefully to understand their entitlements regarding gratuity. If gratuity is not explicitly stated, they may seek clarification from their employer or legal advisors.

In conclusion, while Federal Decree-Law No. 9 of 2022 marks progress in safeguarding the rights of domestic workers in the UAE, effective implementation and awareness are crucial.

By understanding their rights and obligations, domestic workers can navigate challenges more confidently, while employers can uphold ethical standards and foster a culture of respect and dignity in the workplace.

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