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The UAE authorities had contacted the embassies of countries that export the largest number of domestic workers about the enforcement of a new unified employment contract for housemaids to clarify the confusion on the new UAE labour law, an official said.
A new unified contract law for domestic workers has been in effect since the beginning of this month, the Ministry of Interior announced on Tuesday.
Under this law, the rights of domestic workers are protected under a binding contract between employers and their housemaids.
The contract aims to ensure transparency and provides legal protection for both parties as well as to simplify legal procedures, save time and effort, and strengthen the working relationship between both parties, the ministry said in a statement.
According to Brigadier Dr Rashid Sultan Al Khader Al Zaabi, official spokesperson of the Ministry for Naturalisation, Residency and Port Affairs, the committee, which prepared the unified contract, was keen to evaluate the former contract and its effects on both parties.
The ministry will directly supervise the proper implementation of the new contracts to ensure that both parties perform their responsibilities and duties. The contract will therefore have to be attested by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners' Affairs.
Al Zaabi said that having duplicate contracts with different conditions will contradict international standards and legal principles and rules.
Al Zaabi said UAE authorities contacted the embassies of countries that deploy maids to the UAE in April and parties had agreed to fully cooperate under the new law. The Philippine embassy, however, did not agree to the new terms citing differences in labour policy with UAE labour law. No new maids have been deployed from Manila to the UAE since the beginning of June, resulting in shortage of maids since two other countries, Indonesia and Ethiopia, have suspended deployment of maids to the UAE.
Philippine Labour Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz on Monday told Gulf News that no deployment ban was issued. She clarified that without the necessary verification of contracts required by Philippine laws to protect the maids, they cannot deploy housemaids.
''The verification of contracts of overseas Filipino workers has always been a requirement under our laws and the rules and regulations on overseas employment which we apply for all countries of destination of our OFWs, including the UAE,'' Baldoz said in a statement sent to Gulf News.
''The suspension of the verification of contracts of household service workers [HSWs] by the UAE is unfortunate,'' she added.
The ministry, however, said that the attestation of contracts does not fall under the responsibilities of embassies but is the duty of UAE authorities.
The ministry reaffirmed its complete willingness and is ready to provide the embassy of the Philippines and any other embassies with the new employment contract after being attested by relevant bodies as per the prescribed procedures.
Al Zaabi pointed out that international laws provide for the enforcement of the laws of countries where people come to work in, and the relevant government bodies are responsible to directly supervise these contracts.
Baldoz said she is certain both countries will have a resolution on this soon.
''I am confident that the UAE and the Philippines will arrive at a mutually-beneficial agreement on the employment of household service workers similar to what has been concluded between the Philippines and Saudi Arabia, an agreement that is now in place and being implemented. The UAE has expressed interest to negotiate with the Philippines on this matter and we are glad to do so.''
Source: Janice Ponce de Leon and Nada Al Taher, Staff Reporters, gulfnews.com