UAE: How hiring part-time maids has become a better option for families

Temporary packages controlled domestic worker-related violations, and also reduced the problem of runaway housemaids



Photo: File
Photo: File
by

Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Sun 7 Nov 2021, 4:05 PM

Hiring housemaids on part-time basis has helped reduce domestic worker violations, including unfair-treatment of workers and runaway cases, said a senior UAE government official.

During a virtual forum, Counsellor Ali Hamid bin Khatam, Advocate General and Head of the Nationality and Residency Prosecution, said that many families in the UAE have started hiring domestic workers on a temporary basis instead of bearing the cost of the housemaid’s residence visa.

“The time-based packages give the employers the freedom to return the maid to the agency if things don't work out. Also, through Tadbeer centres, the housemaid may choose to work for another family if she is uncomfortable with the current employer,” he said.

The official stressed that the time-based package system, that provides on-demand services, has controlled domestic worker-related violations, hiring workers on expired visas, and also reduced the problem of runaway housemaids. Housemaids can now work legally while being under the sponsorship of their recruiting agencies.

Counsellor Ali bin Khatam also said that the temporary work package allows recruitment offices to keep workers under their sponsorship and allocate them to different families on hourly or day basis.

“Although this system is a bit costly, families have become more comfortable with it because it is easy and saves them from several obligations, including the procedures for issuing residency for the worker,” he said.

He noted that it was important for employers to protect the rights of domestic workers.

The official urged employers to ensure that they keep records for payments of housemaids’ salaries which have to be signed by the worker.

Employers were also told to file complaints to Tadbeer centres and claim their legal rights, including refunding the value of the remaining period for the contract if a domestic worker runs away before the end of the two-year work contract.

Tadbeer centres, whose services are regulated by Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE), had replaced the agencies for recruiting domestic helpers in the UAE. The move was to streamline the hiring of this category of blue-collar employees in the country and to better protect their rights.

These centres set up by the ministry, are now responsible for bringing housemaids, nannies and other domestic workers from abroad.

These centres had set a new standard for the provision of services to domestic workers, protect their rights, enable access to better information and training, and ensure that working conditions and accommodation are complied with.

The Federal Law No. 10 of 2017 on support service workers covers 19 service work occupations, which include sailors, guards, parking valet workers, farmers, gardeners, domestic workers, cooks, and nannies, as well as private trainers, nurses, and drivers.

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How domestic workers are recruited at Tadbeer

According to authorities, Tadbeer centres guarantee a visa, orientation and training to domestic workers.

Tadbeer centres provide customers with four packages to choose from to recruit domestic helpers. These include:

-Direct sponsorship: In this package, Tadbeer centres recruit domestic helpers from outside the UAE and guarantee their performance and loyalty for 180 days, while their visa will be under direct sponsorship of the employing family.

-Direct sponsorship after 6 months: This package allows families to hire a worker on a temporary basis for six months after which, the helper’s visa can be transferred under the family sponsorship on the agreement of both parties.

-Tadbeer sponsorship: The third package provides the option of hiring workers under the sponsorship of the Tadbeer centre.

-Time-based packages: This package provides on-demand services that allow families to hire a helper under the sponsorship of Tadbeer centres to provide flexible services according to the requirements of the customers.

What domestic workers are entitled to:

As per the domestic labour law, domestic workers are entitled to payment of wages, as set out in the standard contract, within 10 days from the day they are due, one day of paid rest per week, 12 hours of rest per day, including 8 hours consecutive rest, 30 days paid vacation per year, medical insurance provided by the employer.

They are also entitled to 30 days medical leave per year, a round trip ticket home every 2 years, a decent accommodation, decent meals at the employer’s expense and so on.

ismail@khaleejtimes.com


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