New UAE Labour Laws Will Facilitate New Opportunities, Boost To Entrepreneurship, Access To Global Talent Pool 

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on July 14, 2023, 17:41:00

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New UAE Labour Laws Will Facilitate New Opportunities, Boost To Entrepreneurship, Access To Global Talent Pool 

Without a doubt, the world as we know it, has changed with growing uncertainty of the pandemic. Our economy has changed, and workplaces have changed with offices moving into our homes. New businesses were bearing the brunt of the pandemic. To alleviate their distress, President Sheikh Khalifa, announced changes to existing labour laws, for the first time since 1980. The UAE Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization has responded to uncertainty with innovation – seeing opportunity to boost businesses where others would see roadblocks. 

The Federal Decree Law No 33 of 2021 will go into effect from 2nd February, 2022 and it lays out the groundwork for an inclusive economy and an adaptable workplace where different levels of skills and types of contract can function smoothly. As a federal level change, it is applicable to all emirates. The Law Reporters glanced at certain key law points and analysed how the UAE reflects international practices and modernization into its businesses. These laws are strictly applicable only to businesses and not any other types of government or informal work such as domestic workers. 

Equal and Fair Employment Opportunities 

Under Article 4, equal pay for men and women will allow groups such as mothers to join the workforce with dignity Article 27 introduces minimum wage that will ensure fair pay for labour. The UAE laws protect employees from any discrimination or harassment based on their identity, such as gender, nationality, or religion. Those above the age of 15 can also work if their parents approve and if they have a medical fitness report. 

Introducing multiple types of contracts and work-weeks

Flexibility of hiring introduces temporary work, flexible work (choosing to work only one some days), freelance work (working with multiple employers to create backups). The upper time limit on such contracts is three years. Any longer contract can be drawn with short term contracts within it that meet these criteria. Here, the UAE government ensures that there is no conflict of interest by introducing an anti-competition clause, where if an employee is working multiple jobs in the same sector, they cannot participate in a rival project of another competing business. Businesses can decide in the contract which types of work the employee cannot undertake. 
 
Access to a global talent pool 

A Business House can draft contracts with their employees keeping the changes in mind. With such a range of contracts, businesses can hire different skill levels depending on their needs and employees can work in multiple roles without problems of visa related to full time jobs. This will help those unable to find full time positions due to strict labour laws, and now they can choose to work on flexible contracts and gain experience in different jobs. This also brings into focus the large number of international workers who have foreign passports – as the law prohibits employers from holding anyone’s passports. The law also helps businesses as they no longer need to pay worker recruitment fees. Workers can be kept on probation for six months at a time. 

Another change that will boost growth of businesses is the new termination policy where companies will need to give a 14-day notice period to employees on termination and workers can keep company accommodation up to 1 month after that. This will create a balanced relationship with employees who can then find another job and not bitter the relationship with businesses by bringing lawsuits. 

Similarly, employees must give one-month notice period if they are leaving jobs. In case they plan to leave UAE, they are also required to give two weeks’ notice to the employer. 

Terming the new laws as revolutionary and farsighted, eminent Dubai based Corporate Lawyer, Sunil Ambalavelil opined that the innovative responses by the government keeping in mind the rapidly changing world of work are likely to boost growth of entrepreneurship and create employment for many groups which were previously excluded.

Photo credit : Curly Tales

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