Gratuity for UAE domestic staff boils down to goodwill of sponsor

Our maid has been with us for six years, but will be leaving in a few months and returning to Sri Lanka. We are on good terms and have been very happy with her service, so we want to make a larger final payment. However, we are not sure what the law says about a gratuity payment to domestic staff as we have been told different things. Some say that the payment is supposed to be one month’s salary for each year worked, but with the high visa costs we really can’t afford this. We want to pay at least the amount legally required, so can you tell me what we should do? UB, Dubai

As the law stands UAE Labour Law does not apply to domestic staff, so currently sponsors have no legal requirement to make an end of service gratuity payment. However, many do so voluntarily on a similar basis to that applicable to employees who are covered under the law. A month’s salary for each year is higher than the amount set out in the Labour Law. The Federal National Council has been discussing a law that will cover domestic staff that may include a gratuity payment, but although this has been under discussion for some time, there is no sign of it passing into law.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with over 20 years’ experience. Contact her at Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE.

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only.

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