Domestic workers in the Emirates say the UAE protects our rights and respects our differences’….reports Asian Lite News
The United Arab Emirates has a unique experience in protecting the rights of workers and providing them a decent life, given its status as home to more than 200 nationalities.
The Emirates News Agency, WAM, has interviewed a number of domestic workers from different religions, nationalities and ethnicities who talked about the conditions of employment in the country and what it means to them to live and work in the UAE.
Somni Siri, a Christian who has been living in Dubai for 30 years, says that his feeling of security and safety is a reason to be happy, considering the UAE as his “second home.” He points out that he never felt, during his stay in the UAE, that there is any difference between Muslims or non-Muslims, adding that he sensed how Christians, for example, are “treated well” by all citizens.
Another example is Shams Uddin from India, a resident for 27 years, who says, “The UAE is a country where you get your rights and you can observe the rule of law.”
He adds, “People live here in the UAE without feeling any differences based on religion, nationality and colour.”
Shiva Baden from Bangladesh says, “I have been working for an Emirati family for 12 years. I have always considered them as my own family and never felt homesick because of how they have been treating me.”
She adds, “This country brings people together regardless of their religions, that’s why I love it.”
Citi from Indonesia describes the family that she works for as “my family,” saying that “I’ve been working here for 10 years and I feel safe, secure and stable.”
She points out that the owner of the house treats her well, and when she decides to travel to her family in Indonesia, the housewife buys for her and her family many gifts.
Dr. Omar Abdul Rahman Salem Al Nuaimi, Assistant Under-Secretary for Communications and International Relations at the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, tells WAM that the Federal Law no. 10 of 2017 on Domestic Workers is a fundamental pillar in spreading and promoting tolerance in the UAE.
The Law aims at providing the best living conditions for its residents, as well as while safeguarding their rights and duties, he adds.
Al Nuaimi explains that “the law regulates the relationship between employers, workers and recruitment agencies. It also reads that the recruitment office is obliged not to bring the worker from his or her country unless it declares the type of work, its nature, the amount of the comprehensive wage and the availability of proof of fitness, health, psychological, professional and other conditions determined by the executive regulations of this law.”
“Tolerance is not only a moral duty, but a legal duty recognised and clarified by the law,” he adds.
He goes on to say that the Domestic Workers Law established a mechanism and a clear vision to deal with disputes by attempting to reach an amicable settlement going to the courts.
President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has issued the Federal Law No.10 of 2017, which balances and regulates contractual relations and provides legal protection to safeguard the rights of all parties. It also harmonises national legislation with international standards related to labour issues.
The Law guaranteed 12 of the principal rights and privileges of every foreign worker entering the country. The Law stipulates that every worker should get at least one day of paid leave per week. Domestic workers should not work for more than 12 hours a day; he or she should get at least 12 hours of rest which includes 8 hours of consecutive rest.
The law also stated that every worker should get 30 days of paid annual leave and 30 days of sick or medical leave and that he or she should be provided with medical insurance. The employer is liable to give a round-trip ticket for workers every two years along with decent accommodation while in the UAE The UAE is implementing the first of its kind programme for the insurance of workers’ rights, both in the private and domestic sectors, in parallel with supporting businesses and reducing the financial burden on employers. The insurance system ensures full protection of their salaries and entitlements such as end of service benefits, repatriation costs and injury compensation, especially in case of insolvency of the employer.