New UAE law seeks more protection, benefits for domestic workers including OFWs

Image from The National

ABU DHABI, UAE –  United Arab Emirates (UAE) President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has signed a new law that seeks to give its migrant workers, including overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), more benefits and protection from harassment and abuses by employers and agencies.

President Al Nahyan signed the 41-article federal law on domestic workers that will take effect two months after its publication in local gazette.

Among those stipulated in the law is the prohibition of hiring workers under the age 0f 18, improved working conditions, the obligation of the agency during a contract dispute with employer, rules on wage protection and regularization of contract.

Under the new law, domestic workers are entitled to payment of wages, as set out in the standard contract, within ten days from the day they are due; 1 day of paid rest per week; 12 hours of rest per day, including eight hours of consecutive rest; medical insurance provided by the employer; 30 days’ medical leave per year; a round-trip ticket home every two years; a decent accommodation; decent meals at the employer’s expense; clothing, if required by the employer, at the employer’s expense; and possession of their personal identification papers such as passports, IDs, etc.

Cases filed by workers will also be exempted from court fees during litigation stages and must be heard in a speedy and prompt manner under this law.

The law also prohibits them from exposure to physical harm’ and assignment of tasks that are not covered under the contract.

According to Saqr Ghobash Saeed Ghobash, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, this aims to strike a balanced worker-employer relationship as well as provide protection for both.

“The law, moreover, reflects the UAE’s commitment to supremacy of law and to aligning the local legislation with international labour standards,” told Gulf News.