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New decree on private sector jobs in UAE

30 March 2020

Private sector business affected by COVID-19 measures can restructure the contractual relationship with their employees through mutual agreement in gradual phases, announced the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation in the UAE, according to the latest decision.

The decision, which has been approved by the Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, Nasser Thani Al Hamli, says that the businesses affected by the precautionary measures taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and planning to reshuffle their business structure can gradually adopt the following, through mutual agreement with their employees:

  • Implementing a remote work system
  • Granting paid leave to employees
  • Granting unpaid leave to employees
  • Reducing salaries during this period temporarily
  • Permanently reducing salaries

employment changes UAE

The decision will be effective 26th March 2020, the date of its issuance.

Additional staff can be registered in virtual job market

The affected businesses with additional staff can register their additional staff on the virtual job market, so that they can be recruited by other businesses, if required.

However, these businesses are required to provide these employees accommodation and other dues, other than salary, as long as they are in the country, or until they are hired by other businesses.

In case of fresh recruitment

Under Article 4 of the decision, the businesses looking to recruit or hire fresh employees during the suspension of overseas hiring will have to follow the below procedures:

  • Post vacancies on virtual job market, and choose from available data the candidate meeting their requirements.
  • Apply for work permit from the Ministry. This will be provided online and the selected candidates can be hired. Businesses can opt from any of these – temporary work permit, part-time work permit, or transfer work permit of employee to new employer.

Salary reductions

Temporary Reduction

According to Article 5, businesses planning to temporarily reduce salary of an employee during the said period, should sign an additional annexure, whose validity is limited to the agreed-upon term, or as long as the resolution remains valid.

The annexure can be renewed on consent of both parties, with one copy each for both, and the employer should present it to the ministry when requested.

Permanent Reduction 

As per Article 6, businesses seeking to permanently reduce salary of an employee should first obtain Ministry’s approval to do so. For this, they should apply for a 'change of job contract’s data'.

When looking for a new job

Article 7 states that employees in UAE seeking new jobs, should register with the virtual job market and apply for available jobs listed by registered organizations, depending on their qualifications and experience.

The provision of this resolution, however, is applicable only to expatriate employees, and when applying the above-said precautionary measures.

Robin Vinod

Writer/blogger who writes on topics such as travel, real estate, employment and everyday life on GCC countries.

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