Three new UAE labour laws to be effective from January 2016

The conference emphasized on strengthening the partnership between public sector and companies hiring by launching joint programs to combat the crime of human trafficking. (File)

Three new decrees, which will be effective beginning of the New Year, will help promote the transition to a knowledge-based economy while meeting international labour standards, said Saqr Ghobash, Minister of Labour.

"The three new decrees, to start beginning of next year, which meet wise leadership guidance, are consistent with the Constitution and labour market requirements. They also promote the transition to the knowledge-based economy and are compatible with international labour standards," he revealed on Saturday.

Ghobash said, “The stability the labour market is a reflection of the stability of the working relationship between both parties, something which is expected to be reinforced by decisions that would establish a better relationship between the employer and workers due to transparency of the unified contracts. They also enable workers to shift to other firms at any time preserving their rights, all in accordance to regulations set forth, which enhances the UAE labour market mobility and flexibility."

The Minister of Labour put forth his statement while meeting over 300 ministry employees and legal scholars to review and discuss the upcoming decrees, in the presence of Mubarak Saeed Al Dhahiri, MoL Undersecretary; and Humaid bin Deemas Al Suwaidi, Assistant Undersecretary for Labour Affairs; and Dr. Omar Al-Nuaimi Assistant Undersecretary for Policy and Strategy.

"Files highlighting labour rights by the Human Rights watch is one of the most vital issues of concern, urging us to provide them protection and rights preservation. This follows the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to be the number one nation globally," Ghobash said.

"The three resolutions are in line with the UAE 2021 vision of creating a stable labour market and a productive workforce to promote a competitive knowledge-based economy that revolves around UAE citizens, including an emphasis on providing better protection to workers' rights,” he said.

The minister praised government employees’ capabilities and contributions to institutional development and expressed his confidence in their ability to properly implement the new decisions to achieve marked objectives. Similarly, efforts by legal scholars had not gone unnoticed, the minister stated that they handle labour disputes fairly and work endlessly to find amicable solutions to preserve their rights.

On the sidelines of the meeting, a workshop was held by Humaid bin Deemas Al Suwaidi, Assistant Undersecretary for Labour Affairs, to explain texts of each of the three new decrees and implementation procedures.

The first decree requires employee signature preceding a contract renewal to obtain a new work permit, something that will terminate procedures currently implemented to renew work permits after only receiving a notification through the employer stating that both ends agreed to renew the contract, stating all privileges and requirements enclosed in the contract to be renewed.

Workers, under the new procedures, shall enjoy better options of either accepting to renew the contract according to marked privileges and stipulated requirements in the new contract, or amend these privileges and conditions upon agreement by both parties, which actively contributes to promoting a strong working relationship, or on the other hand enable employees to completely end the relationship search for alternatives or return back home.

The second decree, points six cases of labour contract termination for fixed-term contracts and four cases for non-term contracts.

Additionally, the third decree regards terms and conditions of granting a new work permit to workers who choose to end a working relationship through four cases to issue a permit if the contract between both ends was a fixed-term contract and three cases for non-term ones, something which promotes flexible mobility and maintains labour market competencies and exchange experiences internally.

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