Question. My housemaid has tested positive for coronavirus and she is under quarantine. We are planning to travel to our home country for a short holiday. If the maid breaks her quarantine and steps out, will we be legally held accountable? What is our responsibility when it comes to dealing with a delisted worker infected with virus?
As your domestic worker is infected with Covid-19, the provisions of decision no. (38) of 2020 on enforcement of penalties for violations following the Cabinet Resolution No. (17) of 2020 to contain the spread of the coronavirus issued by the Attorney General of UAE (the ‘Covid-19 penalties decision’) and the provisions of Federal Law No. (10) of 2017 on domestic workers (the ‘UAE Domestic Workers Law’) are applicable.
It should be noted that it is the responsibility of the individual who is infected with Covid-19 to isolate himself or herself and follow the relevant protocols issued by the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention (the 'Ministry'). Once an individual is tested positive (infected) for Covid-19 in the UAE, he or she must download the ‘Al Hosn’ application on his/her mobile phone so that the local authorities in the UAE may be able to track the movements of the people who are infected with coronavirus. It also helps in contact tracing of the Covid-19 infection. In the event your domestic worker does not follow the home quarantine instructions issued by the Ministry, then she may be personally liable to pay Dh50,000 as penalty. This is as mentioned in the list under the Covid-19 penalties decision. You, as an employer, may not be bound to pay any penalties if your domestic worker breaks the house isolation protocols issued by the Ministry and the local authorities in the UAE. Further, it is the responsibility of your domestic worker to follow the public ethics while she is residing in the UAE. This is in accordance with Article 16(2) of the UAE Domestic Workers Law, which states: “The worker shall abide by the obligations stipulated in the contract of employment and shall in addition observe the customs and traditions of society and commit to public ethics.”
You, as the employer, may be required to make necessary arrangements to provide basic amenities, including food, for your domestic worker even though you are outside the UAE while your maid is infected with Covid-19. Further, as an employer, you must also provide necessary medical treatments to your domestic worker. It is also recommended that you provide your domestic help with relevant emergency contact numbers of the health authorities in the UAE so that it will enable her to contact the health authorities in case of severe health issues. It is the basic responsibility of the employer to provide the domestic worker with decent accommodation, food, clothing, and medical treatment. This is in accordance with Article 15 (2) (3) (4) & (5) of the UAE Domestic Workers Law.
Further, Article 18 of the UAE Domestic Workers Law categorically states that both the employer and the domestic worker should follow the stipulated health and safety requirements as per the prevailing laws of the UAE.
Therefore, based on the aforementioned provisions of law, it is your responsibility as the employer to ensure that you provide the necessary medical, food and safety requirements to your domestic worker even though you are out of the country.
Know the law
Both the employer and the domestic worker should follow the stipulated health and safety requirements as per the prevailing laws of the UAE
Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom and India. Full details of his firm on: www.amalawyers.com. Readers may e-mail their questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.
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