How much annual leave are UAE domestic staff entitled to?

Keren Bobker advises on the laws connected to employing domestic staff.

I have diplomatic status in the UAE and as a result have been able to sponsor a nanny/care­giver under a two-year contract. Having read some of your articles, I note that UAE Labour Law does not strictly apply to domestic staff. Can you please tell me what is my legal obligation relating to her annual leave? Is she entitled to 30 days per year or does her contract apply? Am I legally obligated to pay her return airfare once per year? If she does not use the full amount of her 30 days (for example, if in year two she takes only 15 days' holiday) on termination of the contract, am I required to pay her pro-rated wages for leave that is not taken? HS, Abu Dhabi

Domestic staff are not protected by UAE Labour Law, but instead their employment is regulated by the Ministry of Interior. Their employment is contractual and rules pertaining to this were officially announced in November 2014. There is now a standard contract of employment so that the terms of employment can be set out clearly for the benefit of all parties. These contracts are usually now issued for a period of two years, renewable for a year at a time with the agreement of both parties. The contracts state that the employee “shall be given one month paid vacation after contract completion. The second party (the employee) may opt for a salary of one month in lieu of month vacation”. If, as in the case of HS, the contract is for two years the benefits will be extrapolated so that the employee would receive one month’s leave per year of service. If the employee returns to their home country during their annual leave, the ticket must be paid for by the employer, and if they decide not to travel the contract states that the employee is entitled to receive, “the value of one return ticket to (their) home country”. If annual leave is not taken the employee is entitled to receive payment in lieu.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with over 20 years’ experience. Contact her at Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE

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