The Federal Decree-Law No. 9 of 2022 Concerning Domestic Workers was published on October 5, 2022, according to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MOHRE), to enhance domestic workers’ rights in the United Arab Emirates.
The Law approved on September 9 will go into effect when three months have elapsed after it was published in the Official Gazette. All parties to a relationship, including workers, employers, and recruitment firms, have their rights protected. It includes every element of domestic labour legislation. The new laws, which are outlined in the Law’s executive rules, strengthen domestic employees’ right to a paid day off each week and specify their working hours, weekly breaks, and leave.
ESSENTIAL REQUIREMENTS OF DOMESTIC WORKER LAW
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- Employers are not permitted to hire domestic assistants unless they have a domestic worker work licence under the new domestic helpers’ Law, which is expected to take effect on December 15.
- The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MoHRE) stated that the new legislation prohibits the temporary or permanent hiring of domestic workers without obtaining a licence from the ministry.
- The new Law aims to ensure that all parties’ interests in an employment contract are safeguarded. Recruitment agencies cannot take a commission for finding jobs, either directly or through intermediaries. They won’t be allowed to pay for household staff either.
- Once the guidelines are in place, recruiting agencies must ensure that domestic workers are treated appropriately and be given a handbook outlining their pay. The agency is responsible for paying the domestic worker’s travel expenses if they want to return to their origin country. In this case, the agency must also arrange for a substitute helper or refund the money paid by the employer.
WHAT ARE DOMESTIC WORKERS’ RIGHTS UNDER THE NEW LAW?
According to MOHRE, the following are the key provisions of the new domestic worker law:
- A weekly one-day paid vacation. They are entitled to a day in lieu or financial compensation if they work on their day off.
- A minimum of 12 hours of break every day, 8 hours of which must be continuous.
- A paid vacation of at least 30 days every year.
- The employer shall pay for a two-way flight ticket for the domestic assistant to spend a vacation in their native country every two years.
PENALTY FOR VIOLATING THE RIGHTS OF DOMESTIC WORKERS
The legal consequences of breaking domestic labour legislation are described in Article 27 of the statute. Article 27(3) states, “An individual who hires domestic employees in the UAE unlawfully shall be subject to a punishment of at least Dh50,000 and up to Dh200,000.” This punishment is also applicable if you hire a worker under 18 or misuse domestic worker work licenses that were provided to you.
The Law’s Article 27 (3) is examined in more depth below.
Article 27(3): Those who violate the following are subject to a fine of at least Dh50,000 and up to Dh200,000:
- Hires a domestic helper without securing the latter’s work visa.
- Hiring a domestic helper but failing to employ them.
- Using domestic worker work licenses for reasons other than those given, the translation provided here is not official.
- The termination of recruiting agency activities without adhering to the essential procedures for paying domestic workers’ dues, in contravention of the terms of this Decree-Law, its Implementing Regulation, and the judgments made following that.
- Contravenes this Decree-Law by hiring or recruiting a minor under 18.
- Helping domestic worker quit their job or giving them a place to live to take advantage of them or use them in an unlawful job.
WHAT ARE THE RIGHTS OF EMPLOYERS UNDER THE LAW?
In addition, MOHRE summarized the new Law’s provisions on the rights of the employer:
- If a recruiting agency breaches the terms of the contract, the employer may refuse to hire the domestic assistant they provided. The hiring agency must find a different domestic assistant or reimburse any fees.
- If a domestic assistant accepts a different position, the employer is not required to cover the cost of the worker’s return to their country of origin.
- The domestic assistant must keep all employer secrets to herself and maintain her employer’s privacy.
WHAT RESPONSIBILITIES DO RECRUITING AGENCIES HAVE?
MOHRE outlined a few key provisions from the new legislation that underline the responsibilities of recruiting firms to guarantee that domestic workers’ rights are upheld and protected in the UAE:
- Conduct the appropriate health tests on the domestic worker at least 30 days before entry into the country.
- Educating domestic workers about UAE social standards and culture.
- Providing adequate housing and living facilities for domestic workers.
For more information on Domestic Worker Law, please don’t hesitate to contact Dubai Lawyers at HHS Lawyers and Legal Consultants.