The law will come into effect on December 15…

The UAE’s Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation will introduce new laws pertaining to domestic workers. The rules will help safeguard the rights of employees, employers and recruitment agencies.

It comes into effect on December 15, as announced by the ministry on October 11, 2022.

On the rights of domestic helpers, the ministry stated that employees must grant a paid one-day break per week, and if they work on their day off, they are entitled to a day in lieu or cash compensation.

Domestic workers will be granted a break of no less than 12 hours (eight hours need to be consecutive). The domestic help will be allowed a yearly paid vacation of no less than 30 days and once every two years. The employee will bear the cost of a two-way air ticket to the helper’s home country.

In a contractual year, domestic workers can take sick leave of no more than 30 days (consecutive or divided). The first 15 days will be fully paid, after which it will be half-pay for the next 15 days.

When it comes to employers’ rights, the employer has the right to refuse to employ a domestic helper if the agency has violated conditions stated in the contract. In this case, the agency will have to secure another domestic helper or defend any amount paid. Should the domestic helper shift jobs, the employer is not obligated to pay for the helper’s return to their home country. All domestic helpers must respect the employer’s privacy and withhold from disclosing any secrets.

Outlining the duties of the recruitment agencies, the ministry states that all the necessary health checks must be carried out at least 30 days before entering the country. The agency must also educate the helper on the UAE’s social norms and culture and secure appropriate accommodation and living conditions for the domestic helpers.

According to The National, the UAE has also introduced a number of new penalties against recruiters and employers that can include fines of up to Dhs10 million. A comprehensive legal framework is currently being developed to ensure contractual obligations are met over wages, accommodation and medical treatment.

A fine of a maximum of Dhs200,000 will be applicable to those who use permits for domestic workers for purposes other than those for which they were issued. Recruitment agencies who close operations without settling wages will face the same charges.

A fine of between Dh200,000 and Dh1 million will be imposed for employing a worker without a permit or misusing login credentials. If false information or fake documents are used to employ a domestic helper, there will be a fine of between Dh20,000 and Dh100,000 and up to six months in prison.

A fine of Dhs10 million will be applied if an unlicensed worker (based on the number of workers) is employed.

Repeat offenders will face double the penalty.

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