DIFC Issues New Employment Law for Public Consultation

Dubai, UAE: 20 February 2018 – Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the leading international financial hub in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, has today proposed a new Employment Law regime. DIFC Authority’s Legislative Committee has invited public comment on the new proposed law, which enhances the current DIFC Employment Law, in order to bring it in line with international best practice. In doing so, the DIFC Authority has developed an Employment Law Regime specifically tailored for the DIFC by taking into account Employment Law regimes in comparable jurisdictions, specific developments in English Employment Law and employment considerations in the UAE.

The Proposed Employment Law attempts to balance the needs of Employers and Employees in the DIFC with the emphasis being on providing a framework of minimum employment standards and fair treatment of Employees in the DIFC to enable businesses to thrive, while also ensuring the attraction of human capital to the DIFC. Key aspects of the proposal include:

(a) clarifying the application of the DIFC’s employment regime to employers, employees (including part-time employees and short term employees) and excluding certain categories of employees;

(b) introducing a fines and penalties regime to ensure adherence to basic conditions of employment, visa and residency sponsorship;

(c) allowing for the waiver of rights in certain circumstances;

(d) removing the mandatory nature of penalties on employers for late payment of amounts due to employees at termination;

(e) removing the restriction placed in respect of maximum weekly working time;

(f) reducing the amount of sick leave pay;

(g) introducing paternity leave for male employees;

(h) clarifying an employer’s vicarious liability in the course of employment;

(i) introducing requirements for visas and permits;

(j) introducing the principle of contributory negligence in compensation claims arising out of injury or death;

(k) expanding the definition and grounds for discrimination to include pregnancy and age;

(l) introducing remedies for discrimination claims;

(m) clarifying the rights of employees and employers in relation to termination for cause and removing the forfeiture of gratuity payments in such cases;

(n) adding whistle-blower protection in line with what is provided for in the newly proposed DIFC Companies Law; and

(o) a number of miscellaneous enhancements.

The proposed DIFC Employment Law has been posted for a 30-day public consultation period with the deadline for providing comments ending on Thursday, 22 March 2018.

The Consultation Papers can be accessed by visiting: www.difc.ae/laws-regulations/consultation-papers

Press Release - DIFC Employment Law - English


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