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March 30, 2020
UAE Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MOHRE) has recently issued new Ministerial Resolution number 279 of the 2020 concerning Employment stability for non-national employees working in the private sector amidst the period of applying precautionary measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus/COVID-19 within the country (new Ministerial Resolution).
MOHRE has issued this Resolution in line with the UAE Labor Law and to safeguard the interest of employers and employees during this pandemic. The outbreak of coronavirus/COVID-19 has severally impacted worlds economy thereby impacting all large or small companies globally and as a result businesses are taking several precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the virus in line with the rules and regulations issued by the government of the said country depending on various factors.
In similar lines, UAE has implemented numerous measures such as issuance of this Resolution to protect the interest of public at large and foreign expatriates residing and working within UAE.
The Ministerial Resolution obliges the private sector to work pursuant to the provision of this Resolution by establishing a relation between the employer and non-national employees with an intention to safeguard the interest of both parties during the period of preventing spread of Coronavirus. Article 2 of the resolution allows the employer to re-arrange the relation with the non-national employees in the following manner:
i. To set up a remote working system
ii. Grant paid or unpaid leave
iii. Temporary or permanent salary reduction during the period or thereafter.
Virtual Labor Market
MOHRE has set up a virtual labor market allowing employers and employees to check online the job opportunities or vacancies and other services. It is further pertinent for all establishments employing non-national workers in abundance to register their details on virtual labor market for enabling rotation of workers depending on their need in the office allowing the employers to stay committed towards payment of workers entitlements (except salaries) till they are in the country.
On the contrary, if the company is wishing to employee non-national workers, they may announce job vacancy on virtual labor market and search the relevant employees that suits their requirement and apply for their work permits provided by Ministry through electronic or smart systems.
In addition to the foregoing, all non-national workers presently residing in UAE and looking for new job opportunities may register their credentials in the virtual labor market and apply for the vacancies posted by other establishments depending upon their requirements and suitability.
Reduction of Salaries
The new Ministerial Resolution allows the establishment to temporarily or permanently reduces the salaries of the non-national workers in the company. In such event, Article 5 of the Resolution allows temporary reduction in the salary during the said period under following conditions:
i. The employer shall make a temporary amendment to the employment contract in the way as specified by the Ministry, subject to the expiry period mentioned or till the validity of this Resolution, whichever is earlier.
ii. The employer may renew the amendment as agreed between both the parties.
iii. The copy of the amendment shall be given to the employee as well and to the Ministry, as when requested.
Nevertheless, the companies willing to permanently reduce the salary of non-national employees shall apply for employment contract details amendment for seeking approval of the Ministry prior to reducing salaries of the employees.