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Amendment of the UAE Labour Law

By Nadim Al Jisr, Editorial Lead, Legal Professionals

In August 2019, the UAE Cabinet approved Federal Decree by Law No. 6 of 2019 amending certain provisions of the Labour Law. These amendments – among others introduced to the Penal Law and the Anti-discrimination Law – aim to provide an equitable, relaxed and inclusive work market for everyone seeking job opportunities in the country. This is all part of the UAE’s policy to set regulations and legislation concerning the implementation of anti-gender discrimination in the workplace provisions. Failing to comply with these new regulations means that employers may be subject to sanctions and stricter procedures in case claims were raised against employers.

For a better understanding of the importance of these recent changes, the key amendments are listed below:

First, the Cabinet has been granted wide powers to issue resolutions/regulations promoting the participation of Emirati nationals in the labour market. This comes to substantiate UAE’s Emiratization policies of encouraging nationals to seek employment in private sector companies/establishments.

Second, discrimination is prohibited. A new article (article 7 bis) has been introduced to ensure equality in reference to employment opportunities, continuity of employment and employment rights

Third, gender segregation is happening. A new article mandates the Minister of Human Resources and Emiratization to issue regulatory decisions to organize the conditions under which the employment of males and females at the same time is not possible.

Fourth, pregnant women are now explicitly protected against termination of their employment contracts. A new article (article 30 bis) prohibiting employers from terminating or serving a notice of employment termination due to pregnancy is now issued. Such termination is classified under arbitrary dismissal as set out in Article (122) of the labor law.

Finally, the prohibition against employing women for night jobs has been lifted. Articles (27), (28) and (29) previously regulating “night work” for women, or in hazardous jobs, have now been repealed.

These new changes ensure that key legislation, such as the labour law, is constantly reviewed and updated to cope with the constant developments in societies and workplaces. Companies from the private sector will now be pressured to amend/draft their internal regulations and policies, taking these recent changes into account.

Author: Nadim Al Jisr, Editorial Lead, Legal Professionals, Thomson Reuters

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