UAE keen to protect rights of workers, says ministry

According to a statement released by the ministry, the UAE has been party to nine ILO conventions to protect the rights of workers.

By (Wam)

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Published: Thu 12 Jun 2014, 11:52 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 11:13 PM

The UAE is committed to the promotion and protection of human rights, including the rights of workers, says the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA).

According to a statement released by the ministry on Tuesday, the UAE has been party to nine ILO (International Labour Organisation) conventions to protect the rights of workers.

Temporary workers in the UAE, including domestic workers, are regulated under contracts, which are established by specialised entities, it said.

UAE against human trafficking: The UAE was the first country in the region to enact a comprehensive anti-trafficking law (Federal Law 51 in 2006). In 2007, the UAE established a National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking, which publishes an annual report on the progress in combating human trafficking in the UAE.

New law for domestic workers: In addition, the Ministry of Interior has undertaken a number of measures to provide protection and assistance specifically to domestic workers including: A new domestic workers’ law to regulate and protect domestic workers has been drafted and is currently in the process of adoption.

A standard form contract has been established to regulate the relationship between domestic workers and their employers. The contract specifies the rights and obligations of each party in articles covering the following topics: the type and nature of work, salary, organisation of work and vacations, travel tickets, livelihood, good treatment, communications and correspondence, health care, provisions in case of death, the duration of the contract, and disputes that may occur between the parties.

The standard form contract was revised and updated as of June 1, 2014. The amended standard form contract is important in determining the obligations of the parties, and will be the only reference for identifying those obligations and regulating the relationship between the parties in accordance with the provisions of the law. The contract is available for all online.Domestic workers are provided with important legal protections under the civil transaction law, federal criminal law, and the law on countering human trafficking.

Monitoring the recruitment process: The Ministry of Interior has established a committee to examine domestic worker recruitment agencies, detect any violations of applicable laws, and make recommendations to better protect domestic workers.

The employer generally bears all expenses related to sourcing domestic workers, travel costs to the UAE, accommodation and meals. The provision of health insurance for domestic workers at the cost of the employer is mandatory.

To provide flexibility for domestic workers to change employers, a system has been established to transfer the temporary sponsorship of domestic workers with their approval.

A number of awareness-raising initiatives by the Ministry of Interior have been implemented to inform domestic workers of their rights.

The Ministry of Interior works with governmental and non-governmental institutions, including embassies and consulates of countries of origin, in order to find the best solutions to the problems of domestic workers, the Ministry of Interior also works with recruitment agencies to raise awareness of employers of the rights of domestic workers.

Victimised domestic workers: A specialised centre, the Emirates Institution of Naturalisation and Residency, has been established to train employees of the naturalisation, residency, ports and exits departments on how to handle issues related to naturalisation and residency, including those involving domestic workers.

Specialised units have been established in the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs to receive complaints from domestic workers and to assist in resolving disputes between the parties to the relationship through a permanent and open channel of communication. Workers can register their complaints on a toll-free hotline (8005005). Protection, care, and shelter are provided for domestic workers who are victims of violence or abuse. “Such individuals (victims of violence or abuse) are referred by the Public Prosecution to the Ministry of Interior’s social support centres that give them shelter and provide them with the necessary care.

Domestic workers may also take the help of civil society organisations, such as the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children.

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