Enhancing Employee Rights: UAE Labor Law Amendments for Greater Protection

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Enhancing Employee Rights: UAE Labor Law Amendments for Greater Protection

With the signing of the new law by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, on November 15, its implementation commenced on February 2, 2022. This amended legislation prioritizes the rights of all employees, whether they are engaged in part-time or full-time work. The comprehensive set of mechanisms introduced by the law aims to facilitate business operations, enhance market competitiveness, and boost productivity. Moreover, it encourages the investment and utilization of both local and global talents and energies.

The amendments to the labor law ensure a balanced approach in protecting the rights of both employees and employers. By providing accessible channels for obtaining and enforcing these rights, the law promotes stability and well-being within the private sector, while upholding the UAE’s commitments to international labor standards.

The law also focuses on enhancing the capabilities and skills of workers in the private sector, thereby increasing the overall efficiency and productivity of the labor market. It emphasizes equal opportunities for obtaining and retaining employment, as well as the enjoyment of associated rights.

Within the private sector, the law addresses various aspects, such as contract duration, non-permanent work, maintenance, and vacation entitlements.

What does the new labor law say about dismissing the worker during the probationary period?

Regarding the dismissal of workers during the probationary period, Federal Law No. 33 of 2021 stipulates that employers must provide written notification to employees regarding their termination. This notification should be delivered in paper form, providing the employee with a fourteen-day notice prior to their release from employment. This amendment serves to safeguard the rights of workers and establish a regulated framework for their relationship with employers in the private sector.


Leave for Bereavement: Amendments to UAE Labor Law

As per the amendments to the UAE Labor Law, employees working in the private sector are entitled to a mourning leave of three to five days in the event of the death of a family member. The law specifies the nature of the employee’s relationship with the deceased relative. This provision will be effective from February 2, 2022 AD, ensuring that employees have the necessary time to grieve and attend to their familial obligations during such difficult times.


Paternity Leave and COVID-19 Measures in UAE Labor Law

In accordance with the UAE Labor Law amendments, an employee working in the private sector is entitled to a five-day paternity leave following the birth of his child. This provision recognizes the importance of supporting new fathers in their parental responsibilities.

The law also addresses the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on businesses. It establishes stringent standards and precautionary measures to effectively combat the spread of the virus within the evolving work environment.

Furthermore, during the probationary period, an employee in the private sector is prohibited from leaving the country without prior notice. Failure to comply with this requirement results in various penalties, including a one-year ban on obtaining a work visa, fines, and compensation equivalent to the remaining working days within the specified notification timeframe. It emphasizes the need for adherence to proper employment procedures and contractual obligations.


Prohibition of Discrimination and Enhanced Worker Protections in UAE Labor Law Amendments

The amendments to the UAE Labor Law, scheduled to take effect on November 2, 2022, contain crucial provisions aimed at protecting workers’ rights and fostering an inclusive work environment. The law explicitly prohibits employers from using any means of coercion, threats, or penalties to force workers to work against their will or perform tasks they are unwilling to undertake.

Additionally, the amendments strictly forbid sexual harassment, bullying, and any form of verbal, physical, or psychological violence against workers by employers, superiors, colleagues, or any individuals associated with the workplace. Discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, social origin, or disability is explicitly prohibited, ensuring equal opportunity in employment and safeguarding workers’ rights. It is important to note that measures aimed at increasing the participation of citizens in the labor market are not considered discriminatory.

While the law upholds the rights established for working women, it emphasizes the elimination of discrimination by ensuring that all employment provisions apply to women without bias. Specifically, it emphasizes granting women equal wages to men for performing the same work or work of equal value, with the determination of such value to be decided later by the Council of Ministers.

The amendments aim to create an attractive and stable work environment for workers in the private sector. They introduce various leaves, including mourning leave ranging from three to five days depending on the degree of kinship with the deceased, as well as a five-day paternity leave. The Council of Ministers may introduce additional types of leave in the future. The employer is now responsible for bearing the costs and fees associated with recruitment and employment, ensuring that workers are not burdened with these expenses.

Furthermore, the law prohibits employers from confiscating workers’ official documents and prevents them from forcing workers to leave the country after the termination of their employment. Workers have the right to transfer to another facility and benefit from new opportunities in the labor market. The law ensures workers receive their wages on time, according to regulations approved by the Ministry and specified in the Executive Regulations of the Decree-Law.

The amendments also outline the obligations of employers, including the development of work organization regulations, provision of adequate housing, and implementation of measures for occupational safety and prevention. Employers are encouraged to train workers, enhance their skills, and ensure they are knowledgeable about their labor rights and duties.

In terms of legal proceedings, the amendments exempt workers or their heirs from paying financial fees associated with judicial fees for cases with a value not exceeding AED 100,000 throughout the stages of litigation, execution, and requests.

Overall, Federal Law No. 33 of 2021 strives to promote an efficient labor market, attract and retain the best talents, and establish a favorable work environment for employers. It encourages the active participation of both employers and workers in achieving developmental goals.

For comprehensive legal advice and information, contact the skilled team of lawyers at FHS Law Firm, a leading multinational firm based in Abu Dhabi, providing integrated legal services and expert assistance related to various legal matters, including corporate, personal, and dispute resolution.

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