On 26 March 2020, a Ministerial Decision was signed by the Minister of Human Resources and Emiratization, H.E. Nasser Bin Thani Al Hamli under No. 279 for 2020 in relation to the stabilization of the workforce in the private sector during the implementation period for the precautionary procedures aiming to restrict the spread of COVID-19.
This decision will apply to all entities registered with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (the “Ministry”) in respect of their relations with non-UAE national employees.
All such entities, if affected by the precautionary measures taken in relation to COVID-19, and when looking to restructure their employment conditions, are allowed to take certain measures according to the sequence of actions listed below and in agreement with the non-UAE national employees they have:
– Activate the working from home mode
– Put employees on paid leave
– Put employees on unpaid leave
– Apply a temporary reduction in salary
– Apply a permanent reduction in salary
Such entities are also required to register any redundant workforce they have on the Virtual Labour Market (which can be accessed from the Ministry’s website) to allow them to be recruited by other employers. During this period of time i.e. until they leave the UAE or join another employer, employers will remain liable towards their employees for their housing and all other entitlements except for salary.
Companies looking to hire non-UAE national employees will have to post their needs on the Virtual Labour Market to see if they can find a match and accordingly employ applicants by following the procedures implemented by the Ministry in respect of work permits.
Any company looking to apply a temporary salary reduction should issue a temporary additional addendum to the labor contract for the affected employees in two copies, one to be kept with each party and to be ready to be submitted to the Ministry upon request.
For permanent salary reduction, employers should apply first before the Ministry to amend the details of an employment contract to obtain the approval of the Ministry according to applicable procedures.
Any foreign employees in the UAE looking for job opportunities are also welcomed to add their details to the Virtual Labour Market.
This decision will apply throughout the period during which the precautionary measures taken in relation to COVID-19 are in place and will take effect as of the date on which it is published in the official gazette.
Authored by Partner Rima Mrad