Law to protect maids and employers

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Ruler of Dubai, cited Islamic values for preserving the rights of workers.

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The federal cabinet has approved a law to ensure maids are paid and employers are protected against runaway employees, the prime minister said yesterday.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, who is also Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, posted on Facebook yesterday that the council of ministers had approved a law, passed to them from the Ministry of Interior, that "shall protect the rights of both the employee and employer".

"Our Islamic values always encourage us to preserve the rights of the workers and to treat them well, and the law is emphasising this," he said.

Maj Gen Nasser Al Minhali, the ministry's acting assistant undersecretary for naturalisation, residency and ports affairs, said the law will replace the current patchwork of emirate-by-emirate regulations.

"It is a good draft for maids," he said. "It will organise the relations between the sponsor and the sponsored."

He said the law will give both parties rights, protecting the sponsor from runaway maids, and ensuring maids receive wages owed.

"This will help them a lot," he said. "It will help to decrease the number of runaway maids and other cases the ministry deals with on a regular basis."

Thousands of illegal maids were arrested last year, the ministry said.