United Arab Emirates: Significant changes to employment law
The Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) recently enacted a new employment law, known as DIFC Law no. 2 of 2019. The new law makes extensive changes to a number of employee rights and employer responsibilities. Some of the most significant changes are as follows:
The existing anti-discrimination policy has been extended to include:
- Discrimination based on age, pregnancy and maternity
- Harassment, which the new law defines as: the unwanted treatment in relation to one of the prohibited grounds, with the purpose of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive workplace
- Victimisation of an employee who has raised a claim for discrimination
Termination for cause
According to the new law, an employee who has been terminated for cause is entitled to receive an end-of-service gratuity payment.
Atypical working arrangements
New provisions clarify that the new law applies to both part-time and short-term employees.
Reductions have been made to an employee’s entitlement to sick leave. According to these provisions, employees will be entitled to 10 days of sick leave at full-pay, 20 days at half-pay, and 30 days unpaid.
Fines & Penalties Regime
The current law does not specify the consequences that employers may face as a result of failure to comply with their legal obligations. The new law introduces a fines and penalties regime in order to ensure compliance with DIFC Law no. 2 of 2019