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New law on domestic workers in the works in UAE
June 26, 2013, 12:07 pm
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A new draft law on hiring of domestic workers is in its final stages and will be issued in the coming months in the UAE

The law seeks to regulate their hours of work and salary, and also provide for their medical treatment.

This was revealed by Brigadier Dr Abdullah bin Sahooh, Director of the Sharjah Department of Naturalisation and Residency, while opening a workshop on the theme ‘My family with legal domestic workers’ organised by the Hawa (Eve) Committee of the department recently.

The law deals with various issues including the responsibility and duties of the recruitment offices which bring domestic workers to the country. And it will help both the sponsors and domestic workers and eliminate illegal practices, Brig Bin Sahooh said.

It includes a unified contract for domestic workers. The contract would bring about comprehensiveness and clarity, and it would regulate the relationship between the workers and their sponsors, as well as the relationship between the employers and the recruitment offices to ensure the rights of each parties.

As per the draft law, there would be a probationary period of six months for every new appointee, and the employer would have the right to request for changing a worker if he/she is found not suitable for the work, does not have the required experience or suffers from any problem that prevents the person from continuing the work.

The employer would be entitled to the money paid in full if the office does not replace the person with a worker who meets all criteria, Brig Bin Sahooh said.

Besides regulating the hours of work and salary, the law will also stipulate the provision of necessary medical treatment and healthcare for the domestic workers.

The domestic workers would be subject to medical tests before their arrival in the country to ensure that they do not have communicable diseases and that they have the necessary fitness to do the work.

“The recommendations of the United Nations Convention on Domestic Workers giving special consideration to their rights will come into force this September. The UAE is an integral part of the global system but is bringing in its own law. All parties should abide by and respect the terms and conditions of the unified contract,” he said.

The new law would protect the rights of the parties and both parties are supposed to read each article before signing the contract. Three copies of the contract would be made: one each for the government department concerned, the employer and the worker.

Hawa Committee

Brig Bin Sahooh stated that the Hawa Committee initiative was launched as part of the Ministry of Interior’s strategy for protecting the rights of the women. “The committee has been engaging the community on issues and spreading awareness and fighting against some of the negative practices in the society like hiring of domestic workers not in their sponsorship.”

The people must be made aware that employing domestic workers who have run away from their sponsors would invite a fine of Dh50,000. The practice would also have security, health, cultural and safety implications. For instance, children may not be safe in the hands of runaway maids as they may not have undergone medical tests, which people have to do while renewing visas, and may have infectious or serious illnesses. Or if they commit thefts in the house and escape, arresting them would be difficult because of the difficulty in identifying them and due to lack of data or reference.

Brig Bin Sahooh called on families to make the domestic workers work in a comfortable atmosphere and consider them as part of the family,  give them good accommodation and food, give them enough rest hours and pay their salaries on time. He also urged them to not employ illegal workers.

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