Do you remember 2016? Yes, the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the UEFA Euro Cup and amendments in UAE’s labour regime. They all took place in 2016. The United Arab Emirates’ Ministry of Labour enforced three (3) decrees to elevate the position of employees in the country. STA’s lawyers have written about the increase in the number of investors flooding to the UAE on numerous occasions. But what was left unnoticed is that this rise in the investors and investments also created new jobs and an up thrust in the domestic employment market. Expatriates are rushing into the country to exploit these job opportunities to provide for their families back in their home countries. Keeping them in mind, the Ministry has enforced the following decrees to ensure that the rights of these employees safeguarded:
- Ministerial Decree 764 of 2015 – This decrees aimed at establishing a standard employment contract to avoid scenarios whereby the rights of the employees would be curtailed. The decree goes on state that these contracts should be signed by the employee before registering it at the Ministry. Employers are generally not permitted to make any changes to these standard employment contracts; although such changes may be allowed if the changes are in favor of the employee and the employer has obtained the approval of the employee and the Ministry.
- Ministerial Decree 765 of 2015 – This decree has elucidated the various situations whereby an employee and/ or an employer could terminate an employment contract. One of the major changes brought by this decree is that the parties to an employment contract may now terminate the employment contract with a mutual understanding. This means that legal consequences will only fall upon a party who terminates the contract without the explicit and prior consent of the other party. There are two (2) types of employment contracts in the UAE: (i) limited contracts and (ii) unlimited contracts. The decrees have stated the procedures that should be followed by the parties to either of these contracts in case they want to terminate their contract (notice periods, arbitrary termination etc.).
- Ministerial Decree 766 of 2015 – This decree has laid down certain provisions regarding labor permits in the UA. Previously, not all employees could obtain a new labor permit after they terminate their old job. Employees falling under skill set level one, two and three are qualified to obtain new labour permits even after quitting their old jobs. This decree mainly deals with labour permits and the infamous labour bans in the country.
These amendments in the country’s labour law came as great rejoice to the employees and are expected to elevate the labour regime to par with international standards. Employment issues are common in the UAE with different employees and employers coming from different parts of the world, bringing in a diverse culture, and working under the same corporate umbrella. However, both employers and employees should ensure that these employment disputes do not escalate and affect the company’s operations or someone’s career. Contact STA’s top employment lawyers in Sharjah to resolve your disputes and continue reading to know more about the three disputes discussed above.