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New UAE domestic worker law to guarantee rest days, paid vacation

New UAE domestic worker law to guarantee rest days, paid vacation

The new law aims to place UAE domestic worker rights inline with the wider workforce

The UAE’s new law for domestic workers will include access to dispute resolution, 30 days of annual paid leave and minimum hours of daily rest, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation has announced.

The ministry said in a statement on its website that the law, passed by the Federal National Council on April 31, would come in effect when signed by UAE President, H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

“The bill, once signed into law, will bring the rights and protections afforded domestic employees into line with other workers in the UAE,” said minister of human resources and emiratisation HE Saqr Ghobash.

The new law regulates four key areas: contracts, rights and privileges, prohibitions and recruitment agencies.

Among the key details is the stipulation that workers are aware of their contract terms before leaving their home country by providing them with a copy of the job offer.

The law also introduces a standard contract with terms under which it can be terminated by the employer or employee and guaranteed worker rights and privileges.

These include that wages must be paid as outlined in the contract within 10 days of being due, the entitlement of one day’s rest per week and 12 hours of rest per day, including eight hours of consecutive rest, and 30 days of paid vacation a year.

Employees are also entitled to medical insurance, 30 days of medical leave per year, a round trip ticket home every two years, decent accommodation, decent meals at the employer’s expense, clothing provided by the employer if needed and to keep possession of their personal identification documents.

Furthermore, the ministry said it would aim to resolve disputes submitted by either party amicably within two weeks, with non-resolution after two weeks referred to the courts. Should this happen the employee will be exempt from court fees.

“Moreover, we are taking tough action to protect vulnerable workers, cracking down on the employment of minors, discrimination and sexual harassment. We will be announcing enforcement mechanisms in the coming months to ensure that the government can take action to uphold the law’s proscriptions,” Ghobash said.

Other key additions to the law include the restriction of overseas domestic worker recruitment to UAE registered agencies.

Agencies will also be forbidden from the practice of paying commission in exchange for employment, face punishment if found to be involved in abuse and be responsible for repatriating the worker at their own expense in the event of early termination.

Should early termination occur they must also offer the employer a suitable substitute worker or return the agency fee.

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