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March 02, 2022
The UAE federal government has abrogated the existing law on domestic workers and issued a new one, which will come into force on December 15th, 2022. According to the said law, ‘domestic service’, is defined as ‘services performed by the worker to the employer or his family, in the employer’s residence’.
This definition encompasses within its meaning a variety of professions such as guards, nursemaids, gardeners, personal trainers, personal teachers, chefs, private nurses, housekeepers, personal drivers etc.
The main requirements according to the Domestic worker's law include, amongst others:
An employment contract is to be concluded following the model approved by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization, inculcating the rights and obligations of both parties.
One copy of the employment contract has to be handed over to the worker.
The maximum probation period that can be included in the employment term is of six months.
The worker is entitled to 12 hours of rest per day, of which 8 hours are consecutive working hours.
The monthly wages of the worker should be paid within ten days from every due date.
Annual leave of thirty days can be availed by every worker who has completed one each year.
The cost of medical treatment of the worker is required to be borne by the employer.
The fixed term for the employment contract shall not exceed two years, and for the renewal or extension of the employment term, the consent of both parties is required, i.e. the employer and the worker.
When the employment contract is extended or renewed, such an additional period will be added to the total employment tenure of the worker and for calculating the end-of-service benefits, such as for ‘gratuity’ calculation.
Further, upon the completion of the tenure mentioned in the employment contract, if both parties continue to meet their obligation under the employment terms, then the employment contract shall be considered to have been extended for another term with the same terms being retained.
The domestic workers’ law will come into force to ensure that the rights of domestic workers are protected and that they are guaranteed safe as well as beneficial employment opportunities in the UAE. The law particularly prohibits:
Discrimination between workers on the grounds of race, sex, religion, nationality, social origin etc.;
Sexual harassment of the worker whether in a verbal or physical form; and
Forced labour is also prohibited, including acts of human trafficking.
Further, as additional support, the said law also provides that, in instances wherein a worker is raising a labour dispute before the courts, then, such lawsuits filed by workers following the provisions of this law shall be exempted from all judicial fees in all stages of litigation and shall be heard summarily.