By Courtney Trenwith
The proposed legislation would protect rights, ensure time off
The UAE’s Federal National Council (FNC) is scheduled to discuss on Tuesday a draft federal law on domestic workers that would provide them with greater rights.
The proposed legislation ensures the country’s 750,000 domestic workers are entitled to a weekly day off, 30 days of annual paid leave, the right to retain personal documents including their passport and daily rest of at least 12 hours, including eight consecutive hours.
The draft law also extends safeguards against physical and verbal sexual abuse, human trafficking and forced labour.
The proposed legislation follows concerns raised by some foreign diplomats.
Tuesday’s FNC meeting is expected to hear three questions in relation to the draft law, according to state media.
FNC member Hamad Ahmed Al Rahoumi is due to raise the issue of foreign workers’ right to travel without their employer’s permission, while fellow member Marwan Ahmed bin Ghalaita is expected to ask how skilled workers will be classified in certain professions before obtaining their work permits.
Saeed Saleh Al Rumaithi is expected to focus his question on hiring domestic workers from Bangladesh.
Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation Saqr bin Ghobash Saeed Ghobash is expected to respond to the questions.
The rules have already been approved by the UAE Cabinet but must also be passed by the FNC and then signed into law by President Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.