Know the law when hiring domestic staff, Dubai chief prosecutor urges families

Agencies have to provide two-year guarantees

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Families hiring domestic staff have been warned by a chief prosecutor in Dubai to make sure the advice given by agencies is correct.

Some agencies claim they provide a warranty for a domestic worker for only six months, which is not the case, Dr Ali Humaid bin Khatem said on Monday in an online seminar about the rights and duties of domestic employees and agencies.

“A guarantee warranty when hiring domestic workers is two years, not six months like what some agencies claim,” said Dr bin Khatem, Dubai’s Advocate General and head of naturalisation and residency prosecution.

“People should read the law and the ministerial decision number 22 of 2019 in order to make sure the rights of all are preserved.”

The guarantee warranty allows employers to reclaim costs of recruitment from agencies for the remainder of a contract for an early termination, where the employer is not at fault.

However, recruitment agencies are exempt from refunding the costs if the employer selected the worker by name and the agency was carrying out the employer's request.

It is one of many rules and regulations regarding the recruitment and employment of domestic workers that residents and agencies should be aware of, Dr bin Khatem said.

The chief prosecutor urged families to read the UAE law on domestic workers to ensure they are aware of their rights and the rights of their employees.

United Arab Emirates -Dubai- May 15, 2009:

HOUSE & HOME: A nanny takes a child out for a stroll in the Nad Al Sheba neighborhood in Dubai on Friday, May 15, 2009. Amy Leang/The National
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The UAE Domestic Labour Law includes the following entitlements:

  • Workers must be paid no later than ten days after the end of the month
  • Workers are entitled to one day of paid rest per week
  • They must have 12 hours rest per day, including 8 hours consecutive
  • Workers are entitled to 30 days paid holiday a year
  • Medical insurance must be provided by the employer
  • They are entitled to a round-trip ticket home every 2 years

“Families need to fulfil their obligations and treat workers with respect and compassion,” Dr bin Khatem told the seminar.

He referred to a case of a maid who absconded because she wasn’t paid for six months.

“Domestic staff are also entitled to end of service gratuity calculated at 14 days salary per year,” he said.

Dr bin Khatem said all disputes related to domestic workers occur because of people’s lack of knowledge of the law.

In several cases, he said workers claimed they weren’t given wages, adding that if families read the law carefully they would have known they needed to keep records.

“Make sure you keep records of contracts and receipts for the agreement with the agency and for salary payments made to the worker,” Dr bin Khatem said.

The chief prosecutor reminded employers to notify authorities about domestic workers who have absconded, in order to be reimbursed and avoid facing fines.

Employers will receive a Dh10,000 refund if their domestic worker is found to be working illegally elsewhere.

“The place caught hiring the worker illegally will be fined Dh50,000, from which Dh10,000 will be given to the sponsor,” he said.

If the worker has absconded, or didn’t meet the requirements mentioned in the agreement, sponsors can also redeem some of the costs of hiring domestic workers from agencies within the first two years.

“In this case, the agency must return all the amounts the sponsor has paid, and if sending the worker back to their country, the agency must cover airplane ticket costs,” he said.

To avoid disputes and hassles of issuing resident visas for workers, some Emirati families have started using part-time employment.

“Families hire workers from the agency directly. The service is slightly more expensive but it spares them any troubles,” he said.

The session on Monday is part of a series of online seminars organised by Dubai Prosecution and the emirate’s Community Development Authority to help raise awareness about laws and combat illegal practices.

Updated: October 27, 2021, 4:31 AM