What are the legalities of hiring a domestic worker in the UAE?

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Even though the domestic workers are not governed by the UAE labour law, there exists a distinct and special law to govern their employment. Namely, the Federal Law No. 10 of 2017 on domestic workers governs the recruitment and employment of domestic workers in the UAE. Pursuant to the said law, ‘domestic work’, is defined as ‘ the work performed by the worker to the employer or his family, in the workplace. This provides a very broad definition and thus encompasses within it meaning a variety of professions such as guards, nursemaid, gardeners, personal trainers, personal teachers, chefs, private nurse, housekeepers, personal drivers etc.

Main Requirements:

The main requirements pursuant to the Domestic worker’s law include, amongst others:

  • An employment contract to be concluded in accordance with the model approved by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization, inculcating a work pattern as agreed between the parties.
  • One copy of the employment contract has to be handed over to the worker.
  • The maximum probation period that can be included in the employment term is that of six months.
  • The maximum normal working hours for the workers shall be eight hours per day or forty-eight hours per week. However, a worker shall not work more than five consecutive hours without a rest period of not less than an hour in total. Such rest hours are not calculated in the total working hours applicable.
  • The monthly wages of the work should be paid to the worker within a period of ten days from its every due date.
  • Annual leave of thirty days can be availed by every worker who has completed one each year.
  • The cost for medical treatment of the worker is required to be borne by the employer.
  • A worker who has completed one or more years of continuous services shall be entitled to receive gratuity, calculated on the basis of fourteen days wages for each year of work.
  • The fixed term for the employment contract shall not exceed three years, and for the renewal or extension of the employment term, the consent of both the parties are required, i.e. the employer and the worker.
  • When the employment contract is extended or renewed, such an additional time period will be added to the total employment tenure of the worker and for calculating the end of service benefits, such as for ‘gratuity’ calculation.
  • Further, upon the completion of tenure mentioned in the employment contract, if both the parties continue to meet their obligation under the employment terms, then the employment contract shall be considered to have been extended for another term with the same terms being retained.

The domestic worker’s law exists to ensure that the rights of the domestic workers are protected and that they are guaranteed safe as well as beneficial employment opportunities in the UAE. The law particularly prohibits:

  • discrimination between workers on the grounds of race, sex, religion, nationality, social origin etc.;
  • sexual harassment of the worked whether in a verbal or physical form; and
  • Forced labor is also prohibited, including acts of human trafficking.

Further, as additional support, the said law also provides that in instances wherein a worker is raising a labor dispute before the courts, then, such lawsuits filed by workers in accordance with the provisions of this law shall be exempted from all judicial fees in all stages of litigation and shall be heard summarily.

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