Employers of maids from the Philippines and Indonesia will be required to pay them a minimum wage in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), according to the local newspaper Gulf News.
The governments of Indonesia and the Philippines have formed guidelines to ensure that housemaids coming to the UAE will have their rights protected, the paper said.
Agreements signed between the UAE and the governments of Indonesia and the Philippines came into effect recently, it said.
According to the agreements, a Filipina housemaid should be paid 700 dirhams (US$200) for each month of a two-year contract.
An Indonesian housemaid with no experience should be paid 600 dirhams a month, and those with two years' experience should be paid 700 dirhams each month, the agreements said.
The Indonesian domestic helpers are required to be paid in cash or receive the money through a transfer to their bank account. No deductions will be allowed, the agreements said.
The Gulf News quoted an official from the Philippine Consulate in the UAE who said the five-page contract for Filipino domestic helpers, which is written in Arabic and English, has a checklist of 28 household chores that maids must perform for their employers.
The contract should also contain details of where the domestic helper is expected to work, whether it is a flat, villa, palace or tent, and list the number of rooms and floors.
The official said the contract provides the housemaid with one day off with full pay each week, and in no case would she be required to work for a resident other than her sponsor.
Foreign workers, who make up 80 percent of the population in the UAE, have few rights in the country and low-paid workers -- like maids or construction workers -- usually work long hours for a small salary.