New law to make life better for housemaids
The UAE national parliament has approved a law that could result in sweeping changes for domestic workers.
Members of the Federal National Council (FNC) yesterday agreed a draft bill for household workers, including maids, drivers, houseboys and nannies.
The law now requires UAE presidential approval before it can be rolled out. Under the proposed legislation workers would be entitled to a weekly day off with pay, two weeks’ paid annual leave and 15 paid sick days per year.
It also states employers must provide workers with a written contract with the promise of end-of-service gratuity.
UAE Minister of Interior Lieutenant General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan said at the FNC meeting: “The ministry is keen on protecting all people in the UAE.”
The minister added: “If approved the ministry will ensure the new law is enforced.” Khalid Mohammed, from Sudan, who works as a driver for a family in Abu Dhabi, said: “The law would be very good for workers. The challenge would be its implementation.”
Another element of the proposal includes psychiatric examinations and medical tests for workers before they are recruited.
Ahmed Mohammed Al Shamsi, an FNC member for Ajman, said: “There have been increased cases of crimes involving house helpers. It’s important that they go for psychiatric examination before starting work. Workers must be mentally stable for the job.
“Agencies should also research candidates’ backgrounds to avoid bringing in criminals.” The proposed law would align the UAE with the International Labour Organisation's Convention 189 and Recommendation 201 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers, which was ratified by the UAE last year.