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Support for Employers in the UAE during COVID-19 crisis

The world has been shaken by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic, and it has affected each area of our life. The business sector is one of the most impacted by the measures taken to stop the spread, so this is why companies must know the support for Employers in the UAE during COVID-19 crisis.

Since the markets have closed and some unprecedented measures have been taken by the countries to keep their citizens safe, the companies now face economic uncertainty. All of this is because the sales have fallen to the ground. Some companies have declared themselves in bankruptcy, and this is something that many organizations are afraid.

If you’re an employer in the UAE and you’d like to know all the steps that you can follow so you can continue your operations and your business doesn’t get highly affected, then in this article you’ll find all the information that you need to know. Let’s observe:

  • Support for Employers in the UAE during COVID-19 crisis in the MoHRE Resolution
  • What are the permitted measures for employers?
  • What is the remote working policy?
  • How do the measures have to be applied?
  • What can employers do if they have excess employees?
  • What are Connect Resources’ initiatives towards COVID-19?

1. Support for Employers in the UAE during COVID-19 crisis in the MoHRE Resolution

The Support for Employers in the UAE during COVID-19 crisis has been addressed by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE), so they can protect the rights of the employees, but at the same time, they can offer some guidance to employers.

These new Resolutions (279, 280, and 281 of 2020) were published since March, being the last one in May, providing direction to employers so they can know all the legalities that they have to fulfil to continue protecting their workforce but without sacrificing their business.

Employers can apply more flexible working arrangements with their employees. Still, it’s important to be careful about which measures are the ones allowed so the company won’t incur in any trouble. This also applies to companies that work with PEO to solve their needs.

The Resolutions are designed to support employees and to ensure business continuity during this crisis. The MoHRE needs to protect employees and provide assistance to employers to guarantee the right processes.

Companies in the private sector that aren’t considered essential jobs have been struggling with keeping operative and this Resolution is the best answer to their troubles.

1.1 What is the Resolution?

The Resolutions have some key elements that employers need to know and understand so they can comply with the law. The main aspect of this document is that it applies to non-national employees that are registered in the MoHRE and work for a company in the private sector.  

1.2 What about the free zones?

The Resolutions don’t specify anything about the companies in the Free Zones. However, it’s expected to be applied too. The Authorities in charge of this matter have mandated remote working systems, so it’s aligned with the Resolution. Additionally, no more than 30% of the workforce is allowed to work in the company’s offices.

1.3 What does it apply?

Companies must follow the indications of the Resolutions that mandate that the employer’s workforce that can continue working in the company’s offices shouldn’t be over 30%. The companies also should limit the number of customers that visit their facilities should be of 30% of their seating capacity, and they should strictly follow health and safety precautions.

The employers should provide and implement protective measures to the employees, and they’re obliged to refer suspected cases to the health authorities. This doesn’t mean than employees can do whatever they want, they have to coninue following the general rules established by the company.

Regarding the remote working systems, the pregnant women are the ones who have priority, as well as employees over 55 years old, disabled employees, employees with respiratory diseases, and female employees with children in grade 9 or below.

This resolution affects the Dubai recruitment, but with Connect Resources you can have help in this matter.

1.4 How long will it be applied?

The Resolutions will be applied as long as the measures to control the COVID-19 are in place. The aim of these is to control the outbreak, so it’s not clear until when it’s sufficient time.

For this reason, the terms will be applied as long as the government has stated. Each company must be aware of any official announcement is made regarding this matter.

2. What are the permitted measures for employers?

In the support for Employers in the UAE during COVID-19 crisis is stated that some measures are allowed to be implemented by companies so they can ease the financial burden of employment costs.

However, the resolutions state that these measures should be applied gradually. Additionally, they have to be taken with the agreement of the employees. The employer must follow the indications since this will help to avoid any risks or troubles.

Resolution No. 279 encourages employers to consider alternative measures to reduce staffing costs rather than terminating contracts with their employees.

2.1 Remote working system

The implementation of a remote working system should be the first measure taken by employers with their workforce. Although some companies are exempted from working remotely, others don’t belong to the vital sector category.

Companies that aren’t allowed to work in an office need to ensure that 70% of their workforce works remotely. This is when the outsource work vs. inhouse job debate starts and each company starts evaluating if they should have decided outsourcing long before this crisis.

However, this might not apply to all roles. The company needs to evaluate if this is the best option for its workers. The remote working system works perfectly for some functions, like for companies that opted for IT outsourcing services.

2.2 Paid leave

The second measure that the company can take is the paid leave, which might be good for the employee, but not as good for the employer.

2.3 Unpaid leave

The unpaid leave is the third measure that the company can take, but the employee consent is necessary before doing this so that it can be imposed on employees unilaterally.

In the Support for Employers in the UAE during COVID-19 crisis, the company must take this into account, because if the employee doesn’t agree with unpaid leave, then it might be a problem.

2.4 Temporary reduction of salary

The salary reduction is allowed to employers by Resolution 279. Still, it’s necessary to fulfil a legal process before taking this measure since this requires a change in the employment contract.

A temporary addendum to the labour contract needs to be done, and the MoHRE provides a template that the employer can use for this matter.

This addendum will be valid until the expiry of the Resolution or until the end of its term. Employers need to discuss this with the employee before taking this decision.

2.5 Permanent reduction of salary

As for the permanent reduction of salary, it needs to be implemented under the procedures established by the MoHRE and is necessary to receive approval from this entity.

The advance written consent is important for these last two measures, and the employer needs to receive it from the employee. Otherwise, there’s a risk of a claim.

The employer that is going to take the permanent salary reduction measure also needs to take into account how the post-employment gratuity will be calculated since this is an important aspect.

3. What is the remote working policy?

The remote working system is the one being encouraged by the MoHRE to companies since it’s the best way to protect the employees and maintain precautions about the pandemic.

Resolution No. 281 was released to regulate remote working in the private sector, and it includes a policy that needs to be followed by employers and employees so they can both benefit from this arrangement.

Some obligations need to be met by the employer and employee, such as specific tasks, timeframes, confidentiality, and other commitments. The employers are obliged to provide the technical equipment that employees need for doing their job and also facilitate the communication between workers. The contract staffing is also a great solution to meet these policies.

4. How do the measures have to be applied?

In the support for Employers in the UAE during COVID-19 crisis, it’s important to follow the indications regarding the measures that can be taken.

The companies need to apply these measures in order, being the first option of a remote working system to be the main one, and the permanent reduction of salary should be the last one to be taken.

Additionally, the companies have to demonstrate that they have considered all the alternatives before deciding to implement harsher measures, as well as they need to prove the employee consent in the ones that require it.

It means that the measures have to be applied gradually in turn, and it’s best if companies follow this procedure so they can avoid any trouble with the employees.

5. What can employers do if they have excess employees?

If a company has excess employees, some of the measures stated in the support for Employers in the UAE during COVID-19 crisis might not be well-suited for the business; this is why it needs to evaluate a different approach.

If the employer has workers that are unable to work, then it needs to follow the steps for the redeployment of excess employees.

  • MoHRE online platform

The employee must register the excess employees in the Virtual Labour Market System, whose purpose is to find matches vacancies with suitable candidates.

During this time, the employer needs to continue meeting the housing and other employment obligations. Still, the payment of salary is the exception, until the non-national employee is authorized to work for another company or leaves the UAE.

  • What about companies that are looking to onboard?

There might be the case where companies are looking for recruits, and they should list the vacancies in this online platform so they can find the candidate in the list of job seekers, which consists of the excess workers of another company.

Since the issuance of new work permits is currently suspended, this initiative can help both companies that are looking for new talent and companies that are searching to redeploy excess workers, so it’s a good situation for the employees.

The company that is looking to hire can lawfully hire the employee. Still, it needs to choose one of the options for an available work permit, which are the following: Transfer of work permit, Temporary work permit, or Part-time work permit. Keep in mind that there are many steps for getting the work permit that need to be complied.

  • Redundancy terminations

The redundancy termination is not a concept that is expressly defined in Resolution No. 279. A company might terminate the contract with an employee in connection with COVID-19, but it’s not automatically a valid reason to dismiss them under the Labour Law.

However, if the company can prove that the redundancy termination was the only viable option, then it’s likely that the courts will accept it, but it’s a dangerous decision.

6. What are Connect Resources’ initiatives towards COVID-19?

Connect Resources

The public health emergency due to COVID-19 continues in our world, and many companies are afraid that this might hurt their businesses, especially if they had plans to contact an outsourcing agency to start delegating some of their functions.

However, you can count on Connect Resources during this challenging time since they are ensuring that the services remain available for their clients.

Thanks to its best practices, Connect Resources can continue with its processes, and its team of experts is readily available to provide the best service to companies in a variety of industries.

  • New challenges in business objectives

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way of doing business, and each company needs to be prepared to face these new challenges that might arise, so they can continue taking their organization in the road to success.

For this reason, you have to contact one of the representatives of Connect Resources, so you can ensure your ability to address these new scenarios that arise due to this contingency for this global disease.

Keep in mind that Connect Resources is also working remotely to ensure the safety for their workers. Still, all of them are readily available to help your business cope with this turmoil.

Would you like to contact Connect Resources to get assistance during this time? You can call at +971 433 166 88 or send an email to contact@connectresources.ae, and you’ll talk to one of their representatives that will gladly answer all of your questions.

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