Dubai: What can a domestic helper or nanny do if they are asked to work on their day off? A Gulf News reader wrote in, enquiring about the labour rights of domestic workers.
She said: “I am writing to Gulf News regarding the experience of some employees in Dubai, specifically nannies and domestic workers. I was reading through the amended Labour Law for Domestic Workers and there is a law that states that domestic workers must have one day off per week. Is it 24 straight hours or just some hours of the day? Because employees are told to return from their day off at a specified time, say 7pm, and are made to do some tasks before they go to bed which sometimes ends in them sleeping late on their day off. Some employers may not even give their employees breaks during their working hours. Please advise.”
Gulf News raised the query with Reda Hegazy, Senior Associate and Arbitrator with Al Suwaidi and Company, advocates and legal consultants.
He said: “As per ‘Federal Law No. 10 of 2017 on Domestic Workers’, a domestic worker may work for the employer for a maximum of 12 hours each day and is entitled to a rest period of at least eight consecutive hours. The domestic worker is entitled to one paid rest day per week. If the domestic worker is asked by the employer to work during his or her rest day, he or she has the right to another rest day or be compensated for working on such day. If the domestic worker lives with the employer, then there must be a clear agreement between them regarding the conditions for taking rest day, such as, permission to go out and attend to personal business up to a specific time and to postpone house chores until the next day. In cases the employer requires the domestic worker to do extra work time during his rest day, both should agree to either compensate for the extra work time or to grant the domestic worker extra free time during one of his work days.”
If the domestic worker is asked by the employer to work during his or her rest day, he or she has the right to another rest day or be compensated for working on such day.
– Reda Hegazy, Senior Associate and Arbitrator with Al Suwaidi and Company, advocates and legal consultants
“However, if the employer fails to grant the domestic worker his rest day or fails to compensate him for working on such day, it is considered a breach of the employer’s obligations under the employment contract. Due to this breach, the domestic worker has the right to terminate the employment contract and may refer his claim to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) for possible settlement. If no settlement is reached, then the matter will be referred to a court. The case filed by the domestic worker is exempt from court fees at all stages of litigation,” Dr Hegazy added.