According to the National, Abu Dhabi’s English language newspaper, all maids and domestic workers need to be informed how to file a complaint regarding their employers according to a new proposal by the Ministry of Interior and passed by the FNC.
According to the proposal it’s a crime to illtreat maids and other workers, not pay them on time, provide days off or inform them how to file complaints.
Employers also need to ensure their employees are informed about UAE culture and tradition, in addition to being provided with appropriate accommodation.
According to official UAE statistics, domestic worked have committed in excess of 1000 crimes this year, compared with 862 during the same period the previous year. Part of this increase is attributed to lack of information about the cultures and practices in the UAE.
The agreement to list the workers’ rights was passed by a vote of 23-10.
In order to make sure that no false complaints are filed against employers, staff are required to provide their employer with a salary receipt.
Added to the proposal was the necessity to ensure that all domestic workers arriving in the UAE be mentally sound and free from mental illness.
With lots of coverage, particularly for nannies, of crimes and killings in the media Dr Mona Al Bahar believes that the issue of mental health is especially important for employers who are giving maids jobs in their homes.
Regarding off day the law currently states that it should be a day of relaxation and does not specify if the worker may leave their place of work or not. The members have now asked for the law to permit domestic workers to leave their place of employment.
According to this law the worker needs to be given their contact before the enter the UAE. In order to ensure that all recruitment agencies follow the letter of the law, every recruitment office must be managed by an Emirati.
All domestic workers must complete medical tests before arriving in the UAE, the law states.
Should a maid or domestic helper have a communicable disease, the recruitment agency is responsible for reimbursing the employer for all fees and for paying for the worker’s return ticket.
Should a housemaid become pregnant, quit for no reason or breach contract, the recruitment agency is liable to cover all costs. Should the housemaid become disabled while undertaking their job, the employer is solely responsible for the cost of the return flight ticket.
Violations of the law will result in fines or imprisonment.
Up to date list of professions included in this list include maids, nannies, cooks, sailors, security guards, shepherds, stable boys, falconers, farm workers, private nurses, housekeepers, gardeners, private tutors and personal drivers, but exclude imams.
This updated proposal will now go to the Cabinet for review, and must be enacted by the president.