‘How many days of annual leave is my housemaid entitled to?’

A domestic worker should be granted annual leave of not less than 30 days for each year of service

For periods exceeding six months but less than one year of service, domestic workers shall be entitled to two days of leave per month. Pawan Singh / The National
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Question: I am about to employ a housemaid for the first time but would like to understand their entitlement to annual leave.

What is the official situation about days off and what about public holidays? VL, Abu Dhabi

Answer: The working hours and general conditions for domestic staff are set out in Federal Decree Law No.9 of 2022 Concerning Domestic Workers. This replaces earlier legislation and is designed to ensure that all domestic staff are protected by law.

The terms of employment should be as set out in the contract of employment that must be formally organised.

Article 10 of Decree Law No.9 states: “The domestic worker is entitled to an annual leave of not less than 30 days for each year of service, which shall be paid in full before his/her departure on annual leave.

New UAE labour laws come into effect

New UAE labour laws come into effect

“For periods exceeding six months but less than one year of service, the domestic worker shall be entitled to two days per month. Depending on the circumstances, the employer may determine the date on which annual leaves are to start, and he may choose to divide the leave into two parts, if necessary.”

Article 9 covers the hours of work that are permitted. “Domestic workers are entitled to a paid weekly rest day … If the domestic worker is required to work during his rest day, she/ he shall be granted alternate one day off for rest or be compensated cash in lieu of this rest day.

“Domestic workers are entitled to rest of at least 12 hours per day, of which at least eight hours are consecutive working hours ...”

I would also point out that domestic staff are entitled to paid sick leave, subject to employer agreement or formal medical certificate. The first 15 days are paid in full and the next 30 days at half pay.

The law makes no reference to public holidays, so this will be at the discretion of the employer, although one would hope that kindness prevails.

Should any domestic employee be asked to work on a public holiday that falls on their rest day, the conditions of Article 9 apply.

Question: I am currently on annual leave out of the UAE and have decided that I do not want to go back to my job.

Can I give my notice of resignation while I am away? I only have to give 30 days’ notice to leave the job. PL, Dubai

Answer: The law states that an individual needs to be at work to resign from their job. It cannot be done legally when away on annual leave, so PL will need to wait until his return to take action.

If someone fails to return to work after annual leave, they can be marked as absconding and that can have serious consequences, including being unable to take up further employment or a ban on entering the UAE.

In reverse, an employer is not permitted to terminate employment when an employee is on leave.

Question: I sponsor my daughter, aged 20 years, who is currently at college in the US. She usually visits us in the UAE at the end of each term, but did not come home for spring break in April this year.

This means that when she travels to the UAE in a couple of weeks, she will have been away for more than seven months.

I know that there is a problem if someone is out of the country for more than six months, so will she have trouble trying to enter the country?

Is there anything we can do so resolve the situation so she can enter without a problem or delays? CK, Abu Dhabi

Answer: Unless someone holds a Golden Visa, their residency visa will be invalidated if they remain outside the UAE for more than 180 days.

There may be complications on re-entering the UAE, causing significant delays at immigration, so action needs to be taken before travelling.

There has been a rule change which will permit people who have been out of the country for 180 days or more to request an extension, provided they have been away for a valid reason.

The stated reasons are for work, study, or medical treatment, so this will apply to CK’s daughter.

The application must be submitted while the individual is outside the country, with proof that she is a student, via this link.

There is a fine of Dh100 ($27) for every 30 days, or part thereof, spent outside the country, plus service fees of Dh150.

Note that when the extension application is approved, the applicant must enter the country within 30 days from the approval date.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser and senior partner with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with more than 30 years’ experience. Contact her at keren@holbornassets.com. Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only

Updated: August 13, 2023, 5:00 AM