UAE issues law on domestic workers banning sexual harassment

UAE president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyanhas issued federal law on domestic helpers, banning any sexual harassment to them.

The law - consisting of 41 articles - includes a provision which prohibits the recruitment or employment of any worker under the age of 18, according to The Khalej Times, newspaper in UAE.

The legislation regulates all issues related to domestic workers, including their conditions of recruitment, rights and duties as well as rules imposed on the recruitment agencies.

It also bans any kind of sexual harassment of workers, forced labour or human trafficking. Workers will have right to keep their official documents, such as passports, the law says.

The recruitment agencies will be given six months - from the date of implementation of the law - to put into place their procedures in accordance with these provisions.

The law makes the agencies liable to provide temporary housing for the workers. They must make them aware of the customs and traditions of the UAE on their arrival.

It stipulates that labour contracts should include the total salary, method of payment, permits allowed for the worker, duration of probation and conditions that might result in the termination of the contract. Both the parties - the employer and the employee - should agree to the terms and conditions.

"The law regulates the contractual relationship and provides legal protection to safeguard the rights of all parties involved," said Saqr Ghobash Saeed Ghobash, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation. The minister added that the law reflects the UAE's commitment to uphold the rule of law and harmonise national legislation with international standards pertaining to labour issues.

Under the law, the occupations in the domestic helpers' category include housemaid, private sailor, watchman and security guard, household shepherd, family chauffeur, household horse groomer, household falcon carer and trainer, domestic labourer, housekeeper, private coach, private teacher, babysitter, household farmer, private nurse, private PRO and private agriculture engineer.

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