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Minimum wage ‘unfair’ for employers?

Apparently, maids in UAE are overpaid

FNC member argues that minimum wage for domestic workers and maids is 'taking advantage' of employers.

May 20, 2013 4:24 by

Before we risk sounding sanctimonious by rambling on about the importance of human rights – how we should hold on to it in every way possible and contribute to the betterment of society – Kipp would like to pose one question.

Do you believe imposing the minimum wage here is unfair to employers? Apparently, at a Federal National Council (FNC) session this week, an FNC member will argue that it is, in fact, unfair for Emiratis to have to abide by this minimum wage. According to The National, Hamad Al Rahoomi intends to ask Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, the UAE’s Foreign Minister, whether embassies should be allowed to ‘proactively ensure these minimums are upheld’.

Al Rahoomi says that many nationals have complained to him about this, saying maids should not be receiving a 100 per cent raise when they’re not doing any more work.

“This has been the situation for years. So we are surprised. If the two parties are happy, why change it?” asks Al Rahoomi. “This is taking advantage of UAE nationals,” he adds. “Some have started to draw up side contracts with maids to avoid minimum wages.”

As many of you probably know, minimum wages for domestic workers and maids have already been implemented in the United Arab Emirates. In November this year, more than 100 recruitment agencies have signed agreements with the Philippine Association of Manpower Agencies to abide by a Dhs1,469-a-month minimum pay.

A similar agreement applies for Indian staff at Dhs1,100, Dhs800 for Indonesia, Dhs825 for Sri Lanka and Dhs750 for Bangladesh. Nepal – which has had a particularly difficult history with worker abuse in the region (particularly Saudi Arabia) – has banned women under 30 from working in the Arabian Gulf and requires at least Dhs900 a month for those above 30.

You’ll have to excuse Kipp, but after years of everyone getting away with paying domestic workers practically nothing, the idea that a minimum wage – which still, in my opinion, remains shockingly low  – is ‘taking advantage’ of anyone, is impalpable.

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  1. Sergio Feler on May 20, 2013 6:31 pm

    Dear Kipp,

    Bear in mind that every interference in the free and voluntary agreements between parts, just generate a final lower payment for the employee.

    In the market, wage increases are not made by laws, they increase when there are more job demand than job seekers…

  2. PPM on May 21, 2013 10:00 am

    Why is this an issue for the FNC? Minimum wages are just a political gimmick for intellectually challenged Asian politicians to pretend they are working. Anybody can sign a contract promising a minimum wage – and then deduct for room, deduct for food, deduct for transportation to the exchange shop to send money home, etc etc. Final payment can be zero if the employer so choses yet still be legal.
    I have several distant relatives from Philippines working here as maids and all were told by their agencies at home that they would be receiving less than was written on the “official” contract.
    The ones who now work for Western employers generally get paid Dhs 1500 to 2500 monthly for 5 or 6 days’ work (never 7) with variations on leave, food provision, working hours per day etc.
    The ones working for other nationalities generally get Dhs 900 to 1000, work 7 days and have little time to themselves.
    However – both sets are happy because they are all paid on time every month without exception. Whether they are paid Dhs2k+ or 900… they are satisifed because it was what they expected AND IT IS PAID ON TIME and they are also not subject to harrasment by male relatives, drivers etc.
    One cannot stress enough that failure to pay somebody on time for work they have done is – at a very basic level – criminal theft of their money and that crime – along with harrasment by men – is probably the cause of 90% of absconding maids.

  3. Acid test on May 22, 2013 2:19 pm

    Why minimum wage should be unfair to employers when minimum charge for Salik, a coke, or a parking is normal? Is a human being a less valuable comodity than other comodities? Will anyone work for less than AED 500 without a legal framework that fixes the number of hours, payment terms and other things already mentionned by others? What are we talking about exactly? FNC could maybe concentrate on more important things that really matters for the economy, like legal frame work for investors, cheaper and faster access to justice for all expats and investors, the banking system, RE framework, etc… this discussion sounds a bit populist and nothing else. just an opinion


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