The Ministry of Labour has reviewed over 250,000 job offers presented by private sector firms since the beginning of this year, and has issued 233,000 labour contracts, of which 75 percent are of non-fixed term.
Humaid bin Deemas Al Suwaidi, Assistant Under-Secretary for Labour Affairs, said, "The number of job offers printed during the last month confirms the clarity and ease of a working relationship between employers and workers in accordance with the newly launched Decrees, which aims to establish and promote a balanced and productive working relationship between both ends, based on cooperation and transparency, in order to preserve rights."
He said: "Workers must look into job offers and annexes in their preferred languages before signing the contracts to reach a healthy work relationship between both parties; annexes must be reviewed as they hold a number of labour laws and amendments."
Al Suwaidi said the ministry has ratified a total of 233,190 new and renewed labour contracts during January, of them 75 percent were non-fixed term, equal to over 175,790, and fixed-term contracts reached 57,400.
"The rise in non-fixed term contract numbers indicates that employers have identified their choice of that type of relationship in accordance with the new Decrees, something contrary to that which prevailed in the labour market previously, as fixed-term contracts are considered the most commonly used by employers back then," he said.
Bin Deemas believes that the picking fixed-term contracts applies mostly to labourers as it may seem that the nature of their occupations requires that type of contract, which carries both parties agreement to abide by legal responsibilities between each other, especially in the event of a party deciding to violate the terms of the contract or wish to end it without the consent of the other party.
Al Suwaidi said, "Conditions that must be followed in the event that one of the parties decided to end a fixed-term contract during the renewal period, starts by notifying the other party before the date of termination (in a specified period agreed by both ends) not less than one month and not exceeding three months, where those who decided to terminate the contract must complete the notice period then pay agreed dues not exceeding the total remuneration of three months’ salary, and this applies for both sides."
Ministry tells employers to keep original job contracts
The Ministry of Labour called on employers to keep the original job offer contracts, signed by both parties, in case of legal disputes where the worker may deny the signature or thumbprint on the document.
The ministry has begun implementing new procedures for issuance of work permits where employers are obliged to provide the job offer and annexes containing a comprehensive description of rights and duties between both parties. The documents must be signed (or bear the thumbprint, depending on job classification) after which a copy of the job offer should be presented to obtain an authorization to enter the country followed by the issuance of a work permit and signing of the contract.
The ministry praised the reaction of many companies to the newly launched decrees that have been applied since January, as per the directives of Saqr Ghobash, Minister of Labour.
Humaid Bin Deemas Al Suwaidi, assistant undersecretary for Labour Affairs at the ministry, said; “Many of the establishments that have applied for new work permits under the new decisions proved their commitment to establishing a transparent working relationship with workers who were brought from abroad, therefore, they proved their sincere commitment to protecting workers through innovating new methods that will monitor the workers’ signature/thumbprint and follow up on all processes.”
“Since the implementation of the new decisions, the ministry cooperated with a number of enterprises that have applied for new work permits in order to determine the procedures followed to brief workers on job offers. Officials in some of these facilities said they dispatched HR employees to a labour-sending country to closely brief the workers on job offers and then signed it followed by a photograph for documentation purposes.”
He said: “Others contacted the employment agency in one of the Asian countries that had briefed workers on job offers, watch them sign it upon acceptance and then forwarded the letters to the concerned party to issue a work permit.”
Some employers have gone beyond the normal requirements and documented the employees’ signatures on the contracts by photographing them while they are signing.
Bin Deemas called on workers to contact the ministry in case they find a false signature on the job offer right before signing the labour contract. In such cases, employers are required to bring the original job offer that will then be referred to the court for further inspection.
Employers must keep a close eye on signed job offers and make sure that it has been signed by the worker as the responsibility is the employer’s. However, labour courts are the competent authority to deal with such issues.
The procedures apply to workers residing in the UAE and seek to move from one establishment to another, either by signing the proposed job offer or placing their thumbprint depending on their skill level, all before approaching the ministry to request a work permit.