Maids Rights: What you should know about hiring a maid in UAE
At the end of last year, HH Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan passed a federal law specifically concerning domestic servants and specifically maids. The law governs fees, recruitment and employment offices, employment contracts, employer and employee obligations, inspection, penalties, leave, end-of-service fees, termination of contracts and the settlement of disputes.
Here’s what you need to know:
What is the classification of a maid under the UAE Law?
According to Federal Law 10, also known as the Domestic Work Act, these professions are classified as domestic:
- Room maid
- Private sailor
- Guardian and security guard
- Shepherd of the house
- Family chauffeur
- Valet workers
- Horse groomer
- Housekeeper Hawk and Coach
- Private coach
- Private teacher
- Babysitter / nanny
- Private Nurse
- Private pro
- Private agricultural engineer
- Contractual rights
The recruitment agency must present a copy of the job offer to the worker before leaving his country of origin. This agreement must be endorsed by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE).
Workers must be informed of the terms of the contract, the nature of the work and the place of work, the salary and the hours of work as defined in the executive regulations. They should know all this before crossing their national borders.
Termination of the contract without fault
The employer or maid may terminate the contract if the other party fails to fulfill its obligations. The employer or worker may terminate the contract even if the other party has fulfilled its obligations. This is called a “no-fault” termination and is subject to compensation in accordance with the law.
Maids Work Rights
- Maid must be paid within ten days of the payment due date. Each maid should have at least one paid day off per week.
- Maids should not work more than 12 hours a day; she or he must take at least 12 hours of rest, which includes 8 consecutive hours of rest.
- Each worker should be entitled to 30 days of paid annual leave and 30 days of sick leave or sick leave.
- He or she should receive medical insurance.
- The employer is required to provide a return trip ticket to workers every two years as well as decent accommodation during their stay in the UAE.
- His / her meals must be decent and the attire appropriate for the agreed work – this must be provided by the employer.
- Workers must be allowed to keep their personal identity documents, including their passport and identity documents, etc.
- In case of cases or complaints of workers, the dispute will be quick and free for the worker.
- All disputes must go through the MOHRE. If an amicable settlement is not found in two weeks, it can be returned to court.
- No maid should be under 18 years old.
- No discrimination should be made on the basis of race, color, sex, religion or political opinion.
- No form of abuse or risk of abuse is tolerable, sexual or asexual, physical or verbal.
- He or she should be protected from physical harm and should not be forced to do anything that is not covered by the contract.
Keep in Mind
Maids in Dubai are not covered by the standard labor laws, but their employment is regulated by the Ministry of the Interior and their rights are protected by the standard contract they have signed with employers. The UAE and some other countries in the region, such as Kuwait, have made progress in protecting the rights of foreign maids. In 2014, the UAE amended the model contract for maids to ensure that days of rest and annual leave, among other conditions of employment, are effectively regulated.
In the United Arab Emirates, there is no minimum wage for chambermaids, although this wage is set by the sending country of each maid. Filipino maids, for example, must receive at least 1,469 dirhams, in accordance with the minimum wage requirement of US $ 400.
Maid Rights under the standard contract
Maids are usually employed under a standard two-year contract in the UAE. These contracts stipulate that they are entitled to one weekly day of rest, 14 days of paid vacation per year and 30 days of sick leave per year. Working hours are limited to eight hours a day.
Housekeepers are also entitled to one month of paid vacation per year of service once their contract is completed. At their discretion, they can opt for a month’s salary in lieu. Employers are required to pay for the theft of their maids if they leave the UAE during their holidays.
In case of conflict, the terms of the standard contract may be applied by the labor courts.
Filipino Maids Shortage
While the model contract helped protect the rights of maids, it also had unintended consequences.
Since its introduction, the Philippines no longer allows their citizens to travel to the UAE and to take up new domestic positions. This is because the model contract does not allow the Philippine Embassy to ratify contracts and ensures that employers respect their minimum wage and other requirements. As a result, Dubai experienced a shortage of domestic servants from the Philippines, which was previously an important sending country to the emirate and the region.
Other Countries in the Gulf
In mid-2016, Kuwait became the first country in the region to regulate the working conditions of migrant maids through labor legislation. Rather than relying solely on the minimum rates of countries of origin, Kuwait has set a minimum wage for maids – a first for the region. However, this base rate is below the minimum set by most embassies.
Kuwait’s new legislation gives maids the right to overtime pay, a weekly rest day, 30 days of annual leave, a maximum working week of 12 hours and a completion bonus contract.
Many advocacy groups believe that housework should be considered official employment in the Gulf region and that the rights of all chambermaids should be respected in labor law.
Meanwhile, in early 2015, the Gulf countries abandoned the idea of setting up a unified contract for maids. The contract was to regulate hours of work and other conditions of employment, including the right of maids to keep their passports.