labour law uae

Labour Law of UAE – Reforms for 2016

Expatriates and business owners have warmly appreciated the recent reforms to the Labour Law of UAE.

Minister of Labour Saqr Ghobash in his press conference to the journalists told that these labour reforms aim to tighten oversight of employment agreements for temporary migrant workers. These reforms will come into effect from January 2016.

UAE Labour Law Reforms

Under the new reforms and policies, prospective foreign workers would be asked to sign a standard employment offer in their home countries. The contract would be filed with the Ministry of Labour before a work permit was issued. That agreement would then be registered as a legal contract once the worker arrives the country and no changes would be allowed unless they were additional benefits that the worker agreed to.

 

Ministry of Labour has issued three new labour rules which include:

  1. ministry-approved contracts,
  2. conditions for terminating employees and
  3. labour permits to work for new employers.

Either side (the employer or worker) can terminate the contracts under terms spelt out in the ministry decree. Once that is done workers are free to switch to a new employer.

The main goal of these reform is to ensure transparency and compliance in matters related to labour contracts, including terms of termination. The new laws would benefit both the employer and the employee. Mr Al Meqbali, who also sits on the board of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the changes would provide more flexibility because with the reduced time for transferring employees and their contracts, companies will be able to quickly put workers in the right positions, while employees will have better ability to find the job they want.

Response from the Media, HR and Workers

Media analysts, HR experts and lawyers have also shared their points of view, for example:

  • The labour reforms would curb abuse of foreign workers by employers. There are so many sad stories about contracts not honoured by abusive employers. Expat are left with no choice but follow the employers. (Cristina Magallon, chief editor ofUAE DNA Blogazine, a Dubai-based online publication).
  • The new laws would help to prevent such situations where workers had to leave the country after a potential employer did not honour her contract. (Ms Magallon, a Filipina)
  • I worked as a foreman but situations forced me to become a bus driver. I have to spend two years in this company, which is a burden on me. The new rules for recruitment, termination and changing jobs are good news for blue-collar workers. (Mohammed Momin Khan, a Pakistani)
  • For five years I have worked with the same company and not a single penny was increased in my salary. (Cleaner Hassan Ali, a Bangladeshi)

For further details please see our brochure UAE Labour Law.