Whether you're looking for a live in house maid, nanny, baby sitter, governess or driver you need to know the rules.
30 July 2013| Last updated on 19 January 2020
When deciding on hiring a maid, make sure that you are well informed of the laws in the UAE pertaining to house help as illegal hiring of maids can call for hefty consequences.
- November 2014: A new unified maids contact has been proposed and accepted by all the countries in the GCC. This contract will regulate the rights of the maids across the GCC with rules regarding leave, flights home and the rights to passports. Read more>>
- July 2014: The new contract aimed at protecting the domestic worker's rights does not require that the sponsor ratifies the contract with the embassy of the domestic worker. This requirement contradicts the requirement that the Embassy of the Philippines will only process employment contracts that are ratified by them. This has affected the number of Philipino domestic workers entering the UAE since the new contract law came into place. Currently,the two sets of laws are at odds. Read more here>>
- June 1st 2014: The Ministry of Labour in Dubai has put into law a new contract that will protect domestic workers and stop employers and agencies from cheating maids out of their hard earned cash.According to the new rules, domestic staff will have to have one day off a week, 14 days paid leave and 30 days sick leave. The sponsor will also be responsible for the repatriation of the maid.
- August 29th 2012: Nepal has placed a ban on housemaids under 30 being recruited for the Gulf region
- July 26th 2012: Ethiopia has placed a temporary ban on employment of its nationals in the UAE and Nepal has lifted its ban on employment of maids in the UAE- so you won't be able to employ a maid directly from Ethiopia but you can from Nepal now.
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Hiring of Illegal Maids
There has been a crackdown since 2012 on the employment of illegal maids.
The fines and punishments are steep- between 50,000 AED to 100,000 AED, possible jail term and possible deportation. Do not expose yourself to this risk. Illegal helpers include one's that describe themselves as part timers on someone else's visa, full or part timers with no visa at all, odd job men, gardeners not belonging to any company etc.
Your options are either to sponsor your own maid/ helper who must only work for you or use a reputable, registered agency.
Even though this is the law you will still see adverts for part time maids, babysitters, gardeners etc. so sometimes it can be confusing for newcomers as they do not realise this is illegal. Yes, many people do do it but we really wouldn't want you to be the one caught out and hit with a hefty fine all for the sake of having a clean floor.
Here is the latest information that was published in the Gulf News:
"A draft law has proposed the imposition of severe penalties on sponsors of domestic helpers if they breached the contract of employment and ask their domestic help to do a job which they are not supposed to do. A senior official at the Ministry of Interior, said those who employ domestic helpers not on their sponsorship would also incur severe penalty.
"Once the draft law is approved, it will help the ministry to implement rigorously the rules and regulations governing the employment of domestic workers," he said.
The official said the ministry will deal sternly with the sponsor or any other person who violates the terms of contract of a domestic worker.
"Once the law is approved, there will be zero tolerance from the ministry against those who even lend their domestic helpers to friends or family members," he said.
"There will be a new law that will take care of the domestic helpers' rights, the sponsors' rights and will keep close watch on recruitment agencies too," the official said.
The official said 17 professions will come under the domestic helpers' category of the residency law.
"We have added new professions to the list of domestic helpers such as sailor, private PRO, private teacher, private nurse, private coach, horse groomer, and private worker," he said.
He said the new law will also reduce the fees expatriates pay to the residency department in order to employ domestic helpers. It will likely be on par with the amount paid by Emiratis.
"We will reduce the Dh5,000 deposit paid by the expatriates to employ domestic helpers. It could become Dh2,000 fees without the deposit," he said.
According to the existing law for domestic helpers, residence permits for maids or domestic help are for a period of one year if the sponsor is an expatriate, but if the sponsor is Emirati then the period is two years.
The official said a committee of the Interior and Defence at the Federal National Council is working on a new comprehensive domestic helpers' law which is under study and will be approved soon by the authority.
He added that the Ministry of Interior will be the only body that will be in charge of all issues related to visas, work permits and dispute of domestic workers.
The official said there will be new work permit between the sponsor and the domestic helper that will preserve the rights of both. However, the official did not give details about the draft of the new work permit.
"The committee is at the moment working on regulating the prohibiting of making the domestic helpers do work not mentioned in the labour contract or work for someone else other than the sponsor," he said. He said the next step will focus on domestic helpers' work permit.
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"We are aware that there are many recruitment agencies that are abusing the law and for that reason there will be Ministry of Interior rules and regulations that will closely monitor those agencies who will be under the ministry," he said.
Currently, there are different sections at the residency department to deal with disputes involving domestic workers and their sponsors. Cases which cannot be solved at the sections are then referred to the courts, he said.
Once the new law comes into force, a special court will handle cases of domestic helpers, he added.
The new professions that will fall under the domestic helpers' category are (only for household, not companies): Housemaid, imam, private sailor, watchman, household shepherd, household horse groomer, private driver, household falcon carer and trainer, domestic worker, housekeeper, private coach, private teacher, baby sitter, household farmer, private nurse, private PRO, private agriculture engineer.
The existing professions under domestic helpers category: Maid, household farmer and private driver."