UAE: Should nannies get time off on Eid holidays? Paid leaves, working hours explained

The country revamped its domestic workers law in 2022, laying down the rights and duties of housemaids and employers — here's what it says about public holidays

by

Kirstin Bernabe

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Published: Fri 12 Apr 2024, 1:18 PM

Last updated: Sat 13 Apr 2024, 12:13 AM

UAE employees in the public and private sector enjoy a number of paid public holidays in a year — with the longest weekends seen during Islamic festivals.

But should housemaids and nannies be given time off on these days?


Most residents would usually plan their out-of-town trips and overseas vacations around these breaks. So, domestic workers in such households could have a better chance of getting some time off.

However, it gets tricky for families whose earners have to work on public holidays and would still need some help at home. These include those in healthcare, media, hospitality, and retail sectors. Are these residents obliged to give their nannies long weekends?


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What the law says

The UAE has revamped its domestic workers law in 2022, strengthening labour relations and laying down the rights and duties of housemaids and employers.

The new law specifies the weekly offs, paid leaves, and other benefits that domestic workers are entitled to. It also lays down working hours, daily breaks and overtime pay.

Its provisions do not include paid public holidays. This means giving nannies and housemaids time off during official long weekends is left to the discretion of the employers.

If a holiday falls within a domestic worker's annual leave, it shall be counted as part of the leave, the law says.

However, if a public holiday falls on a housemaid's rest day and he/she has been asked to work — "she/he shall be granted alternate one day off for rest or be compensated in cash".

Working hours, days off

Domestic workers are entitled to one paid rest day every week, the law states. They should also get at least 12 hours of rest per day — including eight consecutive hours of rest.

Paid leaves

Housemaids, nannies and other workers in the sector should be given 30 days of paid leave every year.

Those who had been employed for less than a year but more than six months could get "two days of leave for every month of service".

The law stressed that the employer may determine the date of the worker's leave, depending on circumstances. The 30-day period may also be divided into two parts, of necessary.

In case a housemaid needs to work during her annual leave, these days should be carried forward to the next year. "However, it is prohibited for a domestic worker to work during his/her annual leave more than once during two consecutive years," the law says.

Any unused leave shall be paid in cash once the employment contract ends.

Employers should also provide their workers a round-trip ticket home every two years.

Aside from annual leaves, nannies and housemaids are entitled to 30 days of sick leave per year.

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