New law will endorse UAE culture
The one-stop centres will guarantee proper visa, orientation and training for the helpers.
Dubai - New laws will create better and more positive environments that will protect both employers and helpers.
The Emirates Human Rights Association called for a speedy implementation of the federal law on domestic helpers that promises better condition for this segment. Mohammed Al Kaabi, Chairman of the association said "We have always requested for this law, and we still request its quick implementation to grant full rights to domestic workers."
Al Kaabi said while the current labour law does not include domestic helpers like gardeners, babysitters, cooks and drivers, addressing this segment is a basic human right. He added that the law will mark a shift.
"Foreign organisations have always called out UAE for noting having a law directed towards domestic helpers, and issuing this new law will close such doors and be a unique addition to the current UAE's regulations," said Al Kaabi. "It is a human right to have a weekly break and demand an annual leave."
He added that majority of the violations directed towards helpers come from their current recruitment agencies, more than the families themselves.
Exerting pressures on domestic workers or threatening to dismiss them from their duties are among the main violations witnessed in recruitment offices. Al Kaabi said the law will help monitor this process and keep it under the country's supervision to help protect people's rights.
Recently, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization Private companies announced that new regulated offices will replace domestic worker recruitment agencies by the end of the year. The one-stop centres will guarantee proper visa, orientation and training for the helpers.
"When a helper wants to leave a family, for example, we see cases that of offices using different methods to forces the helper to return to the family so they avoid loss of profit. The law will place all this process under supervision," noted Al Kaabi.
He added that similar nationalities between the helper and people in charge of recruitment offices sometimes give more room for violation.
More awareness among families
Al Kaabi stressed that Emirati families have developed awareness in their treatments to domestic helpers. In 2016, the association received only three complaints that were solved over the phone with the helpers' employers.
"We followed up these cases and raised an understanding among families on the right methods to approach problems with domestic helpers," said Al Kaabi. He added that the right treatment towards domestic helpers has been a major component of UAE culture and the law will now put a framework to it.
"There are violations, but they are all individual cases that do not represent the UAE society," said Al Kaabi. "They are low in number but with their own impact that we look forward to be halted by the law."
He highlighted documented cases where Emirati families have still provided their helpers who retired with all their necessary needs years later.
The law will protect families
On the subject of helpers' escape from employees, Al Kaabi said the law provides guarantees of compensation to families for the remaining phases of a contract. "About 90 per cent of escaping cases we have seen came from unregistered or illegal helpers who ran away in search for higher salaries," said Al Kaabi.
He stressed that the new laws will create better and more positive environments that will protect both employers and helpers.