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New Domestic Worker Law in the UAE: December 15, 2022

The Federal Decree-Law No. (9) of 2022 governing domestic labour  has come into force from 15th December 2022. The decree-law offers a comprehensive framework to improve and regulate labour relations for the hiring and employment of domestic workers in the UAE and specifies the parties’ obligations to the relationship in a manner that protects their rights and responsibilities.

Additionally, it calls for creating a workplace that is suitable for domestic employees and complies with both local laws and international agreements that are in effect in the UAE. According to the legislation, it is completely forbidden to hire or recruit domestic workers under 18. The employer is also allowed to reject hiring a domestic worker if the recruiting agency disregards the employment contract conditions.

Prerequisites of UAE New Domestic Worker Law

  1. Workers must be informed of their work before employment

The decree-law mandates that domestic workers must be hired outside their nation after being given information about the job’s requirements, compensation, and other perks. Before employment, they should also make accessible documentation of their physical and mental health, occupational status, and psychological state.

  1. Formal Terms of Employment Contract

The employment contract terms must be formalized following the format authorized by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization, and it must include information on the requirements for hiring a domestic worker. Included in this should be the period for hiring and the fundamental legal and ethical duties the employer must uphold on the nature of the domestic worker’s employment and compensation. The contract should include the necessary financial responsibilities of the business for transporting the employee from their home country to the UAE, as well as the costs associated with hiring a recruiting agency.

  1. Violation of terms of the contract by the Recruitment Agencies

Suppose the recruitment agencies violates the terms of the contract. The decree-law mandates that either an alternative worker be provided or the employer receive a refund of the recruitment fees. In this case, the employer would then have the right to request compensation from the agency for any potential damages resulting from a breach of contract.

  1. No additional Commission request

Additionally, it is not permitted for recruiting agencies to demand commissions from or collect fees from the worker’s employer, either directly or indirectly, via third parties.

  1. Humanely Treatment by Recruitment Agencies

Following the laws governing labour accommodations in the nation, recruitment agencies are required to:

  • treat domestic workers humanely without subjecting them to violence,
  • educate them about the culture and traditions of the UAE, and
  • Provide them with information about contacting the appropriate authorities with any complaints or concerns about their rights and freedom.
  1. To Provide necessities

The decree-law also outlines the employer’s responsibilities toward the domestic worker, including giving them the necessary housing, food, and clothes to carry out their tasks, so long as they work for the employer full-time and not only sometimes, unless otherwise agreed.

  1. To Provide Medical care.

The employer must also pay for any necessary medical care for the employee or provide health insurance following the relevant laws.

  1. Hire domestic workers without a work permit

The law makes it illegal for an employer to hire any domestic worker unless:

  • They have a work permits,
  • Not working for others, or
  • Have a profession unrelated to the job’s definition,
  • They consent to it as long as it is one of the professions listed in the decree-executive law’s regulations.
  1. Right to keep personal identification documents.

According to the decree-law, domestic workers can maintain their identity papers. It also lays forth the requirements and procedures for giving the wage for the month the deceased domestic worker died, as well as paying any other related debts to their heirs.

  1. To carry out work as per the employment contract

The domestic worker must carry out their tasks under the direction and supervision of their employer and in line with the terms of their employment contract.

  1. Payment of Air fares

Once every two years, the employer must pay the cost of the round-way journey if the domestic worker wants to take an annual leave vacation to their home country. The employer is only responsible for paying for the domestic worker’s one-way flight home if both parties decide to cancel or not renew the employment agreement after the yearly break.

  1. Dispute between Employer and Domestic worker

According to the law, if an employer and a domestic worker disagree and cannot resolve it amicably, the matter must be reported to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization. The Ministry must be free to take whatever actions it deems necessary to resolve the disagreement amicably, following the steps outlined in the executive regulations of the decree law.

  1. Litigation before Court

The disagreement will be brought before the appropriate court if a mutually agreeable resolution cannot be reached within the time frame.

  1. Work for different employer

A domestic worker is allowed to work for a different employer as long as all contractual obligations are satisfied, the rights of the first employer are respected, and the domestic worker complies with all rules and regulations the Ministry sets.

For more information relating to the UAE New Domestic worker law, please remember to Lawyers in Dubai.

Hazim Darwish

Hazim Darwish, is a Senior Partner of HHS Lawyers in UAE. Practicing law for almost a decade, he has in-depth knowledge on UAE legislation with particular expertise on legal drafting, contract drafting, labor disputes, family law, and regulatory compliance for business organizations. Hazim Darwish also provides counsel on legal rights and obligations in the UAE to clients, including individuals and businesses subject to investigation or prosecution under Criminal Law by major regulators.