The Dubai International Financial Centre.
PHOTO BY ARCHIVE
DUBAI – A new employment law for the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) that will come into effect in August is expected to benefit 24,000 employees.
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, passed the law on June 12. The law will come into effect on August 28, 2019.
The DIFC issued a statement saying that the new law will address key issues such as sick leave pay, gratuity and paternity leave.
“The DIFC Employment Law enhancements are integral to creating an attractive environment for the almost 24,000-strong workforce based in the DIFC to thrive, while protecting and balancing the interests of both employers and employees,” said Essa Kazim, Governor of DIFC.
The new law also includes expanded coverage for part-time and short-term employees. Here are the highlights:
Employee-focused provisions include the introduction of five days of paternity leave and penalties for discrimination. Penalties have also been introduced to ensure adherence to basic conditions of employment, visa and residency sponsorship.
Under the new law, part-time employees are entitled to vacation leave, maternity leave, maternity leave, special leave, and sick leave.
An employee’s working time shall not exceed an average of 48 hours for each seven-day period, during the relevant calculation period, unless the employer has first obtained the employee’s consent in writing.
During Ramadan, a Muslim employee shall not be required to work in excess of six hours each day. There shall be no reduction in an employee’s wage as a result of the employee’s reduced working hours.
An employee is entitled to a rest period of not less than 11 consecutive hours in each 24-hour period.
An employee is entitled to an uninterrupted rest period of not less than 24 hours in each 7-day period.
Where the working time for an employee during a work day exceeds six hours, the employee is entitled to rest and prayer breaks of at least one hour in aggregate during the work day.
For female employees returning to work from maternity leave, in addition to the break, the employee is entitled to nursing breaks of at least one hour in aggregate during a work day exceeding six hours, for a period of six months following the date of childbirth.
Vacation leave is exclusive of public holidays. An employee who has been employed for at least 90 days is entitled to paid vacation leave of 20 work days in each vacation leave year. An employee is entitled to be paid their daily wage during vacation leave. An employee is also entitled to carry forward up to five work days of accrued but untaken vacation leave into the next vacation leave year for a maximum period of 12 months, after which any unused vacation leave shall expire. Vacation leave cannot be converted to sick leave.
An employee is entitled to leave on each public holiday that is announced in the UAE by the relevant competent authority for the public sector or the private sector, whichever is applicable to the employee’s employer, which falls on a wok day.
An employer shall pay an employee their daily wage for each public holiday and also provide the employee with either a day of leave in lieu of each public holiday worked; payment of an amount equal to the employee’s daily wage for the public holiday worked; or payment of a pro-rated amount of the employee’s daily wage based on the time period worked during the public holiday.
A Muslim employee, who has completed at least one year of continuous employment with an Employer, shall be entitled to special unpaid leave not exceeding 21 days to perform the Haj pilgrimage once during the period of their employment with the employer.
An employee is entitled to sick leave of 60 consecutive or intermittent work days in aggregate in a 12-month period.
An employer shall pay sick pay to an employee at: (a) one 100 percent of the employee’s daily wage for the first 10 work days of sick leave taken in a 12-month period; and 50 percent of the employee’s daily wage for the next 20 work days of sick leave during a 12-month period.
A female employee may take maternity leave of up to 65 work days, and be entitled to maternity pay if sh: (a) will have been continuously employed by her employer for at least 12 months, including any period of secondment, immediately preceding the expected or actual week of childbirth; (b) notifies her employer in writing that she is pregnant at least 8 weeks before the expected week of childbirth; (c) provides a certificate from a medical practitioner registered with a competent authority confirming the expected or actual birth date; and (d) notifies her employer in writing at least 21 days before the day on which the Employee proposes to begin her maternity leave. Maternity leave shall also be available to a female employee who is adopting a child of less than five years old.
A male employee may take paternity leave of up to five work days if he: (a) will have been continuously employed by his employer for at least 12 months, including any period of secondment, immediately preceding the expected or actual week of his wife giving birth; and (b) notifies his employer in writing that his wife is pregnant at least 8 weeks before the expected week of childbirth.
Paternity leave shall also be available to a male employee who is adopting a child of less than five years old. Paternity leave must be taken within a month from the date of the child being born; or in cases where the child is adopted, the adoption date of the child. An employee on paternity leave shall be entitled to payment of their daily wage for the duration of the paternity leave.
An employee who is not required to be registered with the GPSSA and who completes continuous employment of one (1) year or more with their employer, including any period of secondment, is entitled to a gratuity payment on the termination of their employment.
An employee’s gratuity payment shall be calculated as follows:
An employee’s basic wage shall not be less than 50 percent of the employee’s annual wage, and the daily rate of an employee’s basic wage shall be calculated by dividing the employee’s basic wage by 365. Where the termination date occurs part-way through a year, the gratuity payment shall be calculated on a pro rata basis.
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