Maids seek weekly offs, personal time: sponsors

Some Emirati households including expatriates have complained that housemaids hired from abroad as well as those employed through recruitment agencies are demanding their contracts be amended.

According to a report in Emarat Al Youm, their new demands include weekly holidays, when they should be let outside without monitoring; exclusive daily time for sports activities as well as freedom to pursue personal relationships.
These demands are against the UAE culture, say residents. Sponsors also claim that there have been unfortunate cases in the past when they incurred loses because domestic helps absconded.

Meanwhile, an official at the Department of Naturalisation and Residency in Abu Dhabi, said on condition of anonymity, that both parties should comply with contract terms. However, contracts adopted by the department ensure the rights of workers, he stressed.

He also added that there have been cases when workers needed some extra clauses to be added, in which case they were adopted after the respective sponsors' approval.

An Yousef Hamad, an Emirati, said that his maid took an hour off everyday to practise sport, which was agreed upon in the contract.

However, when he had to shift house to another emirate and his lifestyle demanded that she be available for his kids at all times, she picked up fights. Ultimately he had to deport her back to her home country.

Lamia'a Al Deeb said she hired a maid from the Philippines. Her CV had stated that she speaks English fluently, plays guitar and cooks.

However, on arrival she refused to sign the contract insisting that she required weekly dayoffs. She added that after the maid returned to the Philippines, she found a bag containing birth control pills.

Umm Sheikha said she hired a maid in Abu Dhabi and her only condition was that she be allowed to make phone calls to her family and friends.

However, once she joined work, she never got off the phone.

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