Navigating Domestic Helper Labor Laws in UAE
Updated: Nov 30
Understanding the labor laws applicable to domestic helpers is a crucial part of ethical hiring. While these laws vary by country, we'll use Dubai as an example to provide you with a general understanding. Domestic helper labor laws in UAE are designed to protect the rights of domestic workers and ensure fair treatment.
Who are Domestic Workers?
There are 19 occupations that fall within the scope of employment of domestic workers, namely:
Private agricultural engineer
Understanding the Labor Law
As per Federal Decree Law No. 9 of 2022 Concerning Domestic Workers regulates the recruitment and employement of domestic workers in the UAE. Employers must abide with the terms of employment contract, in addition to other obligations which include:
Contracts: Before starting work, the employer and the domestic helper must sign a contract approved by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE). The contract should clearly state the worker's job duties, salary, holidays, and other conditions of employment.
Working Hours and Rest Periods: Domestic helpers are entitled to a rest period of at least 12 hours per day, including 8 consecutive hours.
Weekly Rest Day and Annual Leave: Domestic helpers have the right to one full day of rest per week
Annual Leave & Ticket Allowance: Domestic helpers have the right to 30 days of paid annual leave and a round-trip ticket home every 2 years
Healthcare: The employer is required to provide medical insurance and bear any necessary medical expenses for the domestic helper.
Health & Safety: Domestic workers are entitled to the appropriate facilities needed for the worker to perform his or her duties effectively
Sick Leave: Domestic workers are entitled to a sick leave of 30 days for each year of service, calculated in the following manner: a. The first fifteen days are paid in full. b. The next thirty days at half pay.
Salary: The helper's salary should be as agreed in the contract, and it must be paid by the end of the following month at the latest. It is recommended to pay through a method that can be documented.
End of Service Benefits: Upon termination of the contract, the domestic helper is entitled to an end-of-service gratuity, typically calculated based on the duration of service. Upon expiration or termination of the domestic worker's employment contract, she will also be entitled to receive cash in lieu of the unused annual leave days.
Personal Documentation: Domestic helpers have the right to possession of their personal identification papers such as passports, IDs etc.
Obligations of the Domestic Worker
Domestic workers are required to follow the obligations outlined in employment contracts, in addition to the following:
Perform their duties under the supervision of the employer and in compliance with the provisions of employment contract
Maintain a high standard of care and diligence while performing their duties
Refrain from absenteeism without valid reason
Observe the customs and traditions of the UAE’s community
Comply with the employer's instructions regarding the completion of the agreed work
Care for and maintain the items in their possession or dispose by following the necessary safekeeping procedures
Respect the privacy of the workplace
Keep work tools/items inside the workplace and in their designated locations at all times
Provide necessary aid and assistance in the event of disasters and hazards that threaten the workplace and its occupants.
Implementing these Regulations Respectfully
While these points provide a legal framework, it's also important to understand and respect the spirit behind these laws, which is to protect the rights and wellbeing of domestic helpers. Ensure your practices are ethical, fair, and in line with the principles of human rights.
Remember, when hiring a domestic helper, you're not just employing someone for household chores; you're inviting a person to become part of your home. Respect, fairness, and understanding can go a long way in ensuring a harmonious relationship with your domestic helper.
Note: Federal Decree Law No. 21 of 2023 Amending Certain Provisions of Federal Decree Law No.9 of 2022 Concerning Domestic Workers, will come into effect on 1 January 2024.