UAE law targets sexual harassment, forced labor

UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. (AP file photo)
Updated 26 September 2017
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UAE law targets sexual harassment, forced labor

DUBAI: The UAE issued a law on Tuesday to combat abuse of domestic staff, state news agency WAM said.
It includes prohibitions on sexual harassment, forced labor, and the employment of domestic workers under 18.
It also stipulates that workers are entitled to one paid day off each week, 30 days of paid vacation per year and up to 30 days of sick leave.
President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan approved the law, which was praised by human rights organizations when its draft was passed by the country’s legislative body in May.
The UAE relies heavily on migrant labor with an estimated 8 million workers making up more than 80 percent of its population, according to the International Labour Organization.
Many domestic workers come from southeast Asia.
The new law covers 19 service work occupations, including guards, parking valet workers, gardeners, domestic workers, cooks, and nannies, as well as private trainers, nurses, and drivers.
It is set to take effect two months after its publication in the official gazette.


Gaza staff at UN agency for Palestinians strike over job cuts

Updated 26 min 22 sec ago
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Gaza staff at UN agency for Palestinians strike over job cuts

  • The one-day strike closed more than 250 UNRWA schools in Gaza, as well as medical centers and food aid distribution points
  • The United States has traditionally been UNRWA’s largest funder, providing around $350 million a year

GAZA CITY: Staff at the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees went on strike in the Gaza Strip on Monday to protest against job losses and US funding cuts.
The one-day strike closed more than 250 UNRWA schools in Gaza, as well as medical centers and food aid distribution points.
The United States has traditionally been UNRWA’s largest funder, providing around $350 million (300 million euros) a year.
But President Donald Trump has cut all support, sparking a funding crisis.
More than 250 jobs have been cut in Gaza and the West Bank so far, while hundreds of full-time roles have become part-time.
The refugee agency’s labor union is demanding the job cuts be reversed and its leaders say the strike could be the first of a number of measures.
A small protest took place outside the agency’s Gaza headquarters.
“The strike comes in light of the (UNRWA) administration’s lack of responsiveness to the demands of the employees’ union and their insistence on not solving their problems,” Amal Al-Batsh, deputy head of the union, said in a statement.
UNRWA says the funding deficit caused by the Trump administration’s withdrawal of support is so severe cuts are unavoidable.
Around 13,000 people work for the agency in Gaza, where more than two-thirds of the roughly two million residents are eligible for aid.
UNRWA says more than 200,000 Palestinians attend its schools in the strip.