Women workforce in the UAE have certain rights which they should equip themselves with to avoid exploitation at workplace. The UAE Labour Law lays down special provisions relating to the working hours and conditions of women employees.
Article 27 and Article 28 of the Employment Law deals with employment of women and night shifts, which reads as:
Women may not be employed at night . The word 'night' shall mean a period of eleven consecutive hours at least including the period from 10pm until 7am
However, Article 28 provides for an exception to the forgoing:
"The following cases shall be excepted from the clause prohibiting women to work at night.
a) In the event where the work in the establishment is stopped due to force majeure.
b) Work in responsible managerial and technical jobs.
c) Work in medical and other services as may be decided by the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs if the working woman does not normally carry out a manual job."
It is the responsibility of the employer to provide basic amenities or arrange for basic facilities in the work place. Your employer should advise its clients to provide basic amenities and facilities while its employees go to their location to perform their work. Further, an employer must take extra precautions regarding the safety of women and provide for their sanitation and amenities.
This is in accordance with Article 29 of the Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 regulating Employment Relations in the UAE (the "Employment Law'"), which states:
"No women shall be employed on any job that is dangerous, arduous or detrimental to health or morals or on any other operations specified by order of the Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) after consulting the competent authorities."
A female employee is eligible for 45 days of maternity leave upon completion of one year of employment with the employer; and half of the pay if she has not completed one year of employment. This is in accordance with article 30 of the federal law no. 8 of 1980 regulating employment relations in the UAE (the 'Employment Law'). It states: "A female employee shall be entitled to maternity leave with full pay for a period of 45 days, including the period preceding and the period following her confinement, on condition that she has been in her employer's service for a continuous period of not less than one year. If she has not completed the aforesaid period of service, he shall be entitled to maternity leave with half pay.
On the expiry of her maternity leave, a female employee may be absent from her work without pay for a maximum period of 100 consecutive or non-consecutive days, if such absence is due to an illness preventing her from resuming her work and if the illness is confirmed by a medical certificate issued by the medical service specified by the competent health authority; or if the latter authority confirms that the illness as caused by the women's work or confinement.
'The leave provided for in the preceding two paragraphs shall not be deducted from other period of leave'.
In addition to the prescribed rest period, according to Article 31: "A working woman nursing her baby is entitled to two additional 30-minute breaks everyday for 18 months after the birth of her baby. These additional breaks are considered part of her working hours and no deduction in wages can be made. At the end of maternity leave, private sector employees have the right to extend maternity leave, with a maximum of 10 days without pay. This additional leave can be continuous or interrupted - if caused by illness which must be confirmed to the employer by a certified government physician.
This is in accordance with Article 29 which states: "The female worker shall be granted a wage equal to that of the man should she be performing the same work."
A law that will ensure equal wages for women and men has been approved by the UAE Cabinet on Tuesday, April 10. The 'law on equal wages and salaries for men and women' will ensure that women have equal opportunities as partners in the UAE's development. It will also empower women to lead future national strategies and ambitious projects, it was announced.
The Cabinet's approval of the law is in line with the government's objective to ensure the protection of women's rights and support their role in the national development process.
It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure perfect cleanliness and ventilation in each workplace. Further, the employer shall provide proper toilet facilities for its employees. This is in accordance with Article 94 of the Employment Law, which states: "Without prejudice to the provisions of the regulations and orders issued by the competent government authorities, an employer shall ensure perfect cleanliness and ventilation in each workplace with adequate lighting, drinking water and toilets."
An employee is employed in remote areas the employer must take care of the facilities in such areas. This is in accordance with Article 101 of the Employment Law, which states: "Every employer employing employees in areas remote from towns and not connected with them by any normal means of transport shall provide his employees with the following services:
Adequate means of transport
Suitable living accommodation
Suitable food stuff
The areas to which all or part of the provisions of this article apply, shall be specified by order of the MoHRE. Except in the case of food stuff, the cost of services referred to in this article "shall be defrayed by the employer and shall be entirely free of charge to the employees." In the event your employer continues to commit a breach of the provisions of the Employment Law, you may lodge a complaint against your employer with the MoHRE.