New law to protect domestic servants

ABU DHABI - The draft law on maids and domestic servants focuses on protecting them from abuse and imposing penalties, including imprisonment, on the offenders. The draft law is expected to be finalised in two months.

By Ahmed Abdulaziz (Our staff reporter)

Published: Tue 11 Mar 2008, 8:29 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 6:41 PM

The draft law would focus on the rights of maids by establishing a new investigation bureau to investigate the complaints made by the maids without delay, said an informed source at the Legal Department in the Ministry of Interior (MoI).

The bureau will set up a hotline to receive complaints from maids round the clock.

In an exclusive interview with Khaleej Times, Major Rashid Sultan Al Kheder, head of the committee to discuss the draft of the maids’ law, said: “The committee was formed on the orders of Minister of Interior Lt-Gen. Shaikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan to discuss with the authorities concerned, such as the Labour and Justice ministries, the articles and the suggested codes that will protect the rights of both the maids and the sponsors.”

The law will include penalties similar to those outlined in the criminal code as any sponsor who will abuse his/her maid will face imprisonment in addition to other penalties such as ban on employing maids.

“However, we seek the legal way to have a suitable and balanced law to protect the maids from sponsors’ abuses as well as highlight the maids’ rights, |including |the |end-of-service benefits, air tickets, weekend holiday, annual leave, and the daily work hours,” said Major Al Kheder.

He added that the draft may be finalised in the next two months to be submitted to the Minister of Interior.

The number of working hours and other rights such as minimum wages for maids and domestic servants would be declared soon after the endorsement by the minister.

Major Al Kheder said that he met the committee members yesterday - the fifth such meeting - and discussed the rights of maids in case of abuse, including an end to the contract with the sponsors as well as the right to file a case in the court demanding compensation.

The draft also includes a suggested plan to provide healthcare and health insurance to maids in case of accidents.

Major Al Kheder affirmed that all the suggestions made in the draft law are in compliance with the International Charter of the Human Rights.

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