6 Laws Every Filipina in the UAE Should Know
By Barney Alamazar, Esq.
Here are some significant female-oriented laws in the UAE and the Philippines that Filipinas should be aware of. These laws were created to help protect and advance the interests of women in relation to their work, family life and the community in general.
- UAE Labour Laws
Equal pay for equal work – Article 32
A working woman shall be entitled to the same wage as that of a working man, if she does the same work.
Night shift prohibition – Articles 27 & 28
Except those holding managerial, technical and medical positions and during emergency situations, women may not be made to work from 10 pm to 7 am.
Women may not be employed where jobs are hazardous, harmful or detrimental to health or morals.
Maternity Leave – Article 30
- 45 days with full pay if she has completed 1 year of service; otherwise, 50% pay
- Up to 100 days of unpaid maternity leave if there complications resulting to pregnancy or delivery
- Maternity leave is not deductible from annual leave
Paid Nursing Break – Article 31
18 months from delivery, a mother is entitled to 2 additional breaks each day (maximum of 30 minutes each)
Note: Household service workers are covered by immigration rules, not labour laws. Hence, complaints must be lodged with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs.
- UAE Immigration Laws
Daughters, regardless of age can remain on their father’s sponsorship as long as they are unmarried (sons can only be sponsored by their parents until age 18, unless they are enrolled in a university).
A working woman can sponsor her husband’s visa which is renewable annually.
A mother can request the court to transfer the visa sponsorship of her children from their father to her.
Wife’s visa depends on the validity of her husband’s visa
Giving birth in UAE
- You will need to apply for your baby’s UAE birth certificate within 30 days of delivery
- To obtain Philippine citizenship of your baby, register the birth with the Philippine Embassy or Consulate.
- You can apply for passport for your newborn at the same time you register the birth
- Apply for a residence visa for your newborn upon completion of the steps above
Notes: It is illegal to be unmarried and pregnant in the UAE. The original passports and marriage certificate of the parents will be required for the issuance of the birth certificate. If the father is not in UAE, immigration stamps to prove that you were outside of UAE at the time of conception has to be presented.
If your baby was born in the UAE and has a health card, immunizations and vaccinations are free.
- Family Code and Civil Code of the Philippines
Article 15 of the Philippine Civil Code provides that laws relating to family rights and duties, or to the status, condition and legal capacity of persons are binding upon citizens of the Philippines, even though living abroad.
A petition to terminate the father’s parental authority over the child pursuant to Article 229 of the Family Code of the Philippines can be filed by the mother even if both of them are outside the Philippines.
What can be demanded from the father?
Article 194 of the Family Code
Support comprises everything indispensable for sustenance, dwelling, clothing, medical attendance, education and transportation, in keeping with the financial capacity of the family.
Note: Section 3 B (3) of Republic Act 7610 of the Philippines, otherwise known as the Special Protection of Children against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act considers the unreasonable deprivation of the child’s basic needs for survival such as food and shelter as a form of child abuse.
- UAE Personal Status Law
Marital Problems & Family Disputes – how to deal with them –
- File a complaint against your husband at the Family Courts
- Bring passport and marriage certificate (attested)
- A counsellor will help you reach an amicable settlement
- If settlement is not possible, you will be referred to the judge for divorce
Last Will and Testament
If you do not have a will in the UAE, the default rule is your son will get twice more than your daughter.
If your husband dies leaving no children, the wife gets 25% inheritance but if the wife dies leaving no children, the husband gets 50% inheritance.
- UAE Penal Code
Crimes against honor – Article 359
A punishment of confinement for a period not exceeding one year and a fine not exceeding ten thousand Dirhams or either punishment shall be inflicted on any person who obstructs a female in such a manner as to violate her prudence by word or deed, on a public road or at a frequented place.
Child Support – Article 330
Shall be punishable by confinement for a period not exceeding one year and by a fine not exceeding ten thousand Dirhams or by one of these two penalties any individual against whom a self-executing judgment is rendered, imposing upon him the payment of alimony to his spouse, any of his relatives or legal dependents, or the payment of salary of the guardian or foster-mother or rent of a house and who, after three months from the day on which he has been warned to pay, refrains from performing the obligation although he is capable of fulfilling it.
- Cybercrime Laws
Defamation – Article 21
Punishment of imprisonment for a period of at least six months and/or fine ranging from AED150,000 to AED500,000 to whoever using a computer network, electronic information system or any information technology means for the invasion of privacy of another by publishing news, electronic photos or photographs, scenes, comments, statements or information even if true and correct.
For more information, readers can visit www.gulflaw.info or call 04 444 9404. Gulf Law and volunteer Filipino lawyers hold monthly free legal aid and seminars at the Philippine Consulate in Dubai and Embassy in Abu Dhabi.