Consider it a new year’s bonus.
From January 1, 2016, the UAE will implement sweeping reforms to the existing Labour Law, plugging loopholes that will now make employees even more content and secure in their workplace.
The primary changes to be enforced next year, as outlined by Minister of Labour, Saqr Ghobash Saeed Ghobash, pertain to employment contracts for workers hired from abroad, termination of job contracts, and issuance of new labour permits to resident workers.
As per new regulations, any offer letter made to a foreign worker will become legally binding once accepted and signed by both parties.
The resolution issued by the Minister of Labour mandates that employers will be required to disclose to the Ministry the terms of the offer made to a foreign worker.
The offer letters will be required to be detailed, and must contain a comprehensive description of the rights and duties of the employee, as well as outline the terms and conditions of employment.
The Ministry also requires that the employer ensures that the workers have seen the offer and agreed to its terms in a language that they understand.
This means that there cannot be significant changes between the offer letter and the terms of the final employment contract between a foreign workers and their employer, doing away with the possibility of any confusion or wrong-doing.
To enforce this resolution, the Ministry stipulates that the employee’s work permit at the Ministry of Labour is based on the offer letter that will be stored in the Ministry’s database.
The offer letter to a foreign worker will, therefore, become a legal contract, and the employer will not be allowed to alter or replace any of its provisions unless such changes have the consent of both the parties (the employer and the employee), and that any such changes do not prejudice the right of the worker and are not against the law.
The same holds true for a worker within the UAE, and the worker must sign and agree to the terms of the offer letter before the employer can seek the Ministry’s preliminary approval for his employment.
The UAE intends to enforce a new labour law at the start of 2016 to better regulate the relationship between employers and workers and curb violations to ensure both parties will get their rights.
The new law includes three main rules governing labour contracts for workers from abroad, terminating contracts between the employers and workers and the issuance of a new work permit to a resident worker.
“These rules will take the labour market to a new stage based on a strong and balanced relationship between all parties and on agreement and transparency in contracting to guarantee the rights of all parties,” Labour Minister Saqr Gobash said.