Maids pin hopes on new UAE law that ensures basic rights
The workers have the right to keep their official documents such as passports
Dubai - Khaleej Times spoke to two maids who said their previous employers did not give them any days off or their gratuity.
Housemaids are desperately waiting for the new domestic workers law to be implemented, as many claim they are overworked by their employers.
Khaleej Times spoke to two maids who said their previous employers did not give them any days off or their gratuity.
The UAE Federal National Council (FNC) has approved the draft law; however, it is yet to come into effect. The law, which aims to protect the rights of domestic workers, states that they have the right to a weekly rest day and be compensated adequately if he or she has to work on an off day. The worker is also entitled to an annual leave of 30 days every year.
The workers have the right to keep their official documents such as passports, and the recruitment offices should bear the expenses of returning the worker to his or her country.
One housemaid, Josefina Lopez de Guzman, said that her previous employer did not give her a single holiday.
A single mother of three young children, Guzman said: "The employers treat us like animals. I recently resigned from an agency that made me work so many hours. I couldn't take it anymore, so I resigned. I'm looking for a new employer and waiting for this new law, so that I can negotiate for a better contract.
"I'm very happy that this law will make it an obligation for employers to give us the basic rights we deserve.
"I worked for a family two years ago, who also didn't give any days off. They didn't give my gratuity either when I left. It's very difficult being a single mother. My children are in the Philippines and I haven't had enough money to pay for their schooling."
Another Filipina housemaid, Jennilyn Sopranes, also had a similar experience, where she was not getting any days off. The mother of two also resigned from her last employer due to the heavy workload and no time off. "When this new law comes into effect, we'll be able to stand up for our rights. The rights that have been given to us in this law, will be written in our contracts," Sopranes said.
One housemaid, based in Indonesia, said she is looking forward to her country lifting the ban on domestic workers working in the UAE, after the law has been approved. The Indonesian Ministry of Labour has imposed a ban on sending new domestic workers to all countries in the Middle East, including the UAE, on May 2015, citing "the lack of legal framework that could provide protection to Indonesian maids."
Khaleej Times reported in June 2017 that Indonesia will soon lift the ban on deployment of new household service workers to the UAE one the draft law is implemented.
Speaking to Khaleej Times from Indonesia, Hanny said that she wants to seek employment as a housemaid here after the new law is put in place.
"I have never worked abroad, but I want to work in the UAE. I need to pay my child's tuition, I want to buy a house and help my husband," she said.