On September 26, the UAE announced that Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan approved the country’s first law on domestic workers. The law will come into force once relevant executive regulations and standard job contracts are finalised. According to Gulf News, the law will be implemented two months after it is published in the Official Gazette, a monthly publication of laws, decrees, circulars, and regulations.
MR previously reviewed the law through its published stages. Highlights of workers’ entitlements include:
- A daily rest of at least 12 hours, with at least eight consecutive hours
- One day of paid rest per week
- Payment of wages within 10 days of their due date
- Possession of their personal identity documents, including their passports
- Workers may end contracts for any reason without penalty, provided they inform the Ministry of Human Resources 48 hours in advance
- Exemption from all litigation fees should a dispute with the employer be taken to tribunals or court
The law comes alongside reforms to the recruitment industry. By the end of this year, existing domestic worker recruitment agencies will be replaced by a public-private partnership plan operating by the name of Tadbeer centres. The centres will function as a one-stop shop for recruitment, training, and mediation.
The most recently available figures indicate that around 750,000 domestic workers form 20% of the emirates workforce, with 65% working in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah alone.
The UAE is the third country in the Gulf to implement a law on domestic workers, following Kuwait and Qatar. Bahrain has extended parts of its labour law to domestic workers, while Saudi has a comprehensive set of executive regulations.