Wednesday, 15 April 2020 10:13

COVID-19: UAE LABOR REGULATIONS & OTHER USEFUL INFORMATION - the info will be continuously updated Featured

LABOR LAW

Abstract from the Decree Issued by :  United Arab Emirates Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratization

Ministerial Resolution No. (279) of 2020

Issued on and effective from :  26.03.2020

Regarding the stability of employment in private sector companies during the period of applying precautionary measures to contain the spread of the Novel Corona Virus.

The provisions of this resolution are only applicable to expatriate employees and during the period of applying the above-mentioned precautionary procedures.

Article No. (2) : Companies affected by the precautionary measures and who wish to reshuffle their business structure shall gradually adopt the following actions, in agreement with their employees:

  • Implement a remote work system
  • Granting employees paid leave
  • Granting employees unpaid leave
  • Temporarily reducing salaries during the aforementioned period
  • Permanently reducing salaries

Article No. (3): Excess Staff

  • Affected companies that have more employees than they need, must register the additional staff on the Virtual Labour Market site (www.careers.mohre.gov.ae) so that they can be recruited by other companies.
  • Meanwhile, these companies will be obligated to provide these employees with accommodation and other dues, except for salary, as long as they are in the country or until they are hired by another company.

Article No. (4): Hiring of New Employees

Companies seeking to recruit during the suspension of overseas hiring shall be required to;

  • Post jobs available with them on the Virtual Labour Market site and search through available candidates and select whoever meets their requirements.
  • Apply for a work permit from the Ministry through the online system and hire selected candidates. Companies can choose from a transfer work permit of employee to new employer, temporary work permit or part-time work permit. 

Article No. (5): Temporary Reduction of Salary

  • Businesses seeking to temporarily reduce the salary of an employee during the said period shall sign an additional annexure. The validity of this temporary annexure is limited to the agreed-upon term, or as long as this resolution remains valid.
  • This annexure can be renewed in agreement of both parties. It shall be issued in two copies, with one copy for each party. The employer should be ready to present it to the Ministry whenever requested.

Article No. (6): Permanent Reduction of Salary

Businesses seeking to permanently reduce the salary of an employee should first obtain the Ministry’s approval by applying for a ‘change of a job contracts data’ according to effective procedures.

Article No. (7): Job Seekers

Employees in the country looking for jobs should register with the Virtual Labour Market site and apply for available jobs listed by registered organizations based on their qualifications and experience.

Early Leave Initiate 

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization, in cooperation with the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the General Civil Aviation Authority, and the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority, has launched the 'Early Leave' initiative. 

  • The initiative encourages expatriates working in the private sector willing to go back to their home country by bringing forward their annual leave so that they can use it now while the country is taking measures against the COVID-19.
  • Employees will be asked to submit their annual leave dates or agree with their employers on unpaid leave.
  • All UAE registered firms need to comply with the following procedures for early leave requests.

- Specify the leave duration by signing an additional temporary form for the job contract (available on MoHRE’s website and smart app).
- Book a return ticket for the employee
- The early leave is treated as unpaid leave, and the employment contract is unchanged.
- The leave ends after the employee is back, and the precautionary period is over.
- Work residencies for those who travel back to their countries will be renewed automatically.

In the current situation, it is advisable for both employers and employees to discuss, negotiate and agree on a pragmatic approach to minimize the impact to business operations without jeopardizing the right and obligations of the employer and employees.

In case of any queries related to Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratization, you can reach out to them at 80060

OTHER USEFUL INFORMATION

Government Economic Stimulus Packages

  • The UAE Cabinet has approved an AED 16 billion economic stimulus package as part of the Federal Government’s additional measures to support the national economy, ensure business continuity, and mitigate the coronavirus impact. Key policy initiative measures include a renewable six-month suspension of work permit fees and reduction of labour and other charges to cut the cost of doing business, support small businesses and accelerate major infrastructure projects;
  • Suspension of collection of administrative fines by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization for a period of 6 months, which can be extended.
  • Reduction of work permit fees for establishments that have a registered workforce of 1 to 6 workers.
  • Reduction of the fees of the Ministry of Economy.
  • Firms will get back 50% of the Bank Guarantees they had submitted for each employee.
  • Three government work teams will work round the clock to ensure the continuity of services and effective functioning of remote work systems. They will also constantly assess the impacts of the coronavirus
  • Water and electricity bills are set to be reduced by 10% for all residential, commercial and industrial Dubai customers, as well as reducing the deposits by 50%. This will be in effect for three months.
  • In addition, there will be a 90% reduction on fees implemented for those submitting customs documents, as well as a cancellation on the AED 50,000 bank guarantee or cash needed to exercise customs clearance activity.
  • Local commerce will benefit from the cancellation of the 25% down payment for requesting the installment of government fees for licensing and renewing licenses
  • Many landlords in the UAE, including those leasing offices, are starting to waive off rents for periods ranging up to three months. With a few of them, also offering rent cuts.

 

Strict Restrictions on movement across Dubai
Ø  Effective 4th April 2020 for a period of 2 weeks, Dubai is conducting round-the-clock sterilization, enforcing strict restrictions on movement across the emirate (people and vehicles); and legal action will be taken against violators.  In addition, the various measures being taken are;

  • Extensive medical tests will be conducted across densely populated areas of Dubai to ensure members of the Community are free from COVID-19 infection.
  • Everyone is required to stay at home during this period. Food retail outlets, such as Union cooperative stores and supermarkets, as well as pharmacies and food and medicine deliveries can operate as usual.
  • Exceptions from restrictions for individuals (General Public) Individuals are permitted to leave home only for essential purposes as outlined below. All people leaving home should wear a mask, gloves and ensure they keep a safe distance from others.
  1. Members of the public are allowed to go out for: Essential needs such as buying food from food supply outlets (Union Cooperative stores, supermarkets and groceries); only one family member is permitted to leave the house for this purpose and receipts for all purchases should be kept with you in case you are stopped and asked for verification. These measures have been put in place to ensure people undertake trips outside the home in a planned and organized way and they will need to obtain a Move Permit before leaving their house at dxbpermit.gov.ae. You will need to provide the following details: Full Name, EID details, Home Address, Nationality, Reason for Travel, Mode of Transportation and Time & Address of Departure and Return. You will need a Move Permit regardless of whether you are driving, cycling or walking. Upon submitting the request, if approved, the notification will be sent to the registered mobile number which usually takes between 10-15 minutes 
  2. Buying medicines / getting medical assistance from healthcare service providers like hospitals, clinics and pharmacies COVID-19 tests
  3. Employees working in the below vital sectors are exempted from restrictions and permitted to leave their house at any time of the day to commute to work. Vital Sectors exempted from restrictions (24 hours a day):

- w.e.f 14th April outlets related to food trading have been granted permission to reopen : meat trading, fruits & vegetable trading, roasters, mills, fish trading and tea trading. Nuts, chocolates and sweet shops are   allowed to remain open only if they are located inside Shopping Malls with work timings from 8:00 a.m. – 08:00 p.m.

- Healthcare services (Hospitals, clinics and pharmacies).

- Food supply outlets (Union Cooperative outlets, supermarkets, groceries).

- Delivery services (Food and medicine).

- Restaurants (operations limited to home deliveries only).

- Manufacturers of medicines and providers of healthcare and medical supplies.

- Industrial sector (only vital industries).

- Industrial supply chain for services and basic commodities.

- Water and electricity sector, petrol and gas stations and district cooling services.

- Telecommunications sector.

- Media sectors.

- Airports, airlines, ports, shipping.

- Customs duty and border crossings.

- Public and private security services.

- Municipality services and public and private service providers involved in garbage collection, sewage management and general cleaning and sanitation.

- Private and government sector organizations involved in combating the coronavirus (COVID-19).

- Public transport (buses and taxis only; metro and tram services will be suspended).

- Construction sector, subject to obtaining a permit from Dubai Municipality and the Permanent Committee for Labor Affairs.

- Support Sectors : (Employees working in these sectors are permitted to commute to work between 8.00 am and 2.00 pm).

* Banking and financial services (banks and exchange centres).

* Social welfare services.

* Laundry services (for permitted outlets).

* Maintenance services.

Visas and Penalties

The UAE has suspended the entry of all valid visa holders who are currently outside the country, the issuance of all visas on arrival and a temporary ban on citizens travelling abroad, until further notice.

Residency Visas and Entry Permits

w.e.f 14th April 2020, the UAE announced that Entry Permits (tourism, visit, transit, work) that expired on 1st March 2020 and thereafter, will remain valid until the end of 2020. The same applies to the Residency Visas and EID’s of expatriates, inside or outside the country.

Residency Visas who are outside the country for more than 180 days

  • All UAE residents holding valid UAE visas and are now outside the country should register in the “Tawajudi for Residents” Service which has been recently launched.
  • The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has established a round-the-clock helpline to help holders of valid residence permits abroad and they can call UAE on 00971.2.4965228 or 00971.9.2083344 or they can contact the UAE Embassy / Consulate in their respective countries for further guidelines.

For further clarifications you can contact GDRFA Amer Call Centre on 8005111 to resolve any enquiry related to visas.

Sources:  Gulf News; Khaleej Times; UAE Supreme Council for National Security https://covid19.ncema.gov.ae/en/News/Details/134) Khaleej Times (https://www.khaleejtimes.com/coronavirus-outbreak/covid-19-in-uae-sheikh-mohammed-announces-additional-dh16-billion-stimulus-package); Emirates Woman (https://emirateswoman.com/coronavirus-uae-sheikh-hamdan-reduction-dewa-bills-for-three-months); Gulf News (https://gulfnews.com/business/property/covid-19-relief-more-uae-landlords-offer-three-month-rent-free-incentives-1.70633109); UAE Supreme Council for National Security (https://covid19.ncema.gov.ae/en/News/Details/141); UAE Supreme Council for National Security (https://covid19.ncema.gov.ae/en/News/Details/1141) and International Investment (https://www.internationalinvestment.net/news/4013604/uae-launches-leave-policy-expat-workers); Gulf News; Khaleej Times; UAE Supreme Council for National Security https://covid19.ncema.gov.ae/en/News/Details/134); Khajeej Times (https://www.khaleejtimes.com/coronavirus-pandemic/coronavirus-uae-visas-permits-id-cards-to-stay-valid-till-end-of-the-year); Khaleej Times (https://www.khaleejtimes.com/coronavirus-pandemic/coronavirus-closure-exemption-announced-for-9-dubai-business-activities)