What a week last week was! Who would have thought that we could top the news with even more ground-breaking changes? Only in the UAE can you experience such rapid transformations.

For today, let’s focus on Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021, the New UAE Labour Law, which will come into effect on 2 February 2022. We are seeing more flexibility and more focus to include all people in the workplace. Unless you fall under the DIFC or ADGM jurisdiction, you will need to get ready now!

Here are some highlights of the New UAE Labour Law:

 

More flexibility

We welcome the inclusion of different work models in the New UAE Labour Law. Besides the traditional full-time employment contract, companies can now also hire part-time employees. This move should ease the return to work for many working parents, in particular mothers. The new law also includes temporary work and flexible work contracts. While the former is for a specific period only, the flexible work contract is ideal for companies with changing work requirements.

 

Fixed-term contracts for all

By February 2023, all employees will have to be moved to a fixed-term contract. Companies can issue a renewable fixed-term contract with a maximum duration of 3 years.

 

No more safeguarding of passports

Despite previous circulars making the safekeeping of passports illegal, the new law includes a new provision. Article 13 specifies that “the employer must not withhold the official documents of the worker.” Companies cannot request their employees’ passports. We hope this is now clear once and for all.

 

Equal pay

Another positive change is the inclusion of no discrimination and equal pay. Article 4 sets the tone for an open workplace. It also sets out the principle of equal pay for equal work. HR teams will start regular pay equity audits, if not done already. The leadership team and HR need to identify what actions to take to comply with the law.

 

No harassment or bullying

The new law is taking active steps to protect employees from sexual harassment, bullying, or any verbal, physical or psychological violence. It prohibits any of these by the employer, superiors, colleagues or co-workers and sets out fines for non-compliance to up to AED 1,000,000.

 

Termination during probation

Under the current law, termination during the probation period does not require notice. The new law requires employers to give 14 days’ written notice. For the employee, their plans to remain in the UAE will determine the notice period. Should they wish to move to another employer in the UAE, they are required to give 1 month’s written notice to the company. If they are moving abroad, 14 days’ written notice are required. In case they do return to the UAE within 3 months, the new employer must compensate the original employer for the recruitment costs.

 

Enhanced maternity leave

Female employees will see their maternity leave increase from 45 paid days to 45 paid days plus 15 days at half pay. Should a new mother require maternity “sick” leave, she can take 45 days.

 

Introduction of study leave

Focusing on developing their people, employees can now take 10 working days of study leave for approved courses and exams. They will need to have been employed at least 2 years before they can apply for this leave.

 

Are you ready for the changes in 2022? Let us help you. Our clients welcome our consistent and reliable approach to reviewing their contracts, handbooks and policies. Arrange a call now and we look forward to discussing your needs.