Dubai financial district introduces COVID-19 directive, allows employment changes, protects jobs

Dubai financial district introduces COVID-19 directive, allows employment changes, protects jobs
Staff who become infected will be entitled to full salary. (File/AFP)
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Updated 26 April 2020

Dubai financial district introduces COVID-19 directive, allows employment changes, protects jobs

Dubai financial district introduces COVID-19 directive, allows employment changes, protects jobs
  • Any severance pay will be based on an employee's basic salalry in Feb. 29, 2020
  • Service and hospitality sector employees must also still be provided with accommodation

DUBAI: Companies working in Dubai’s financial district, have been given the go ahead to introduce emergency employment measures during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) said the new directive, effective from April 21, 2020, until July 31, 2020, will provide greater flexibility to DIFC-based employers and increased protection to employees, by imposing temporary changes to their terms of employment..

The new rules will provide employers with the ability to impose reduced working hours, paid or unpaid leave, reduced pay, restrict workplace access and put in place remote working conditions without the consent of their employees for the duration of the Emergency Period.

The aim is to help companies reduce their losses during the lockdown, and in turn decrease the likelihood of employers cutting jobs.

The new directive also protects DIFC-based employees who contract COVID-19, or who were quarantined by the local authorities to limit the spread of the virus – ensuring they continue to receive full pay, rather than companies taking the time from the person’s annual sick leave.

Meanwhile companies can also defer the cancellation of visas for employees who have lost their jobs.

But companies must ensure these people continue to receive basic medical insurance, while retail staff, as well as those working in the service and hospitality sectors must also be provided accommodation.

The severance – end-of-service gratuity – is also protected, ensuring that the final payment will be calculated on the person’s basic salary they were earning on Feb. 29, 2020.  

And DIFC will create an ‘Available Employee Database,’ of those who have lost their jobs during the crisis, in a bid to help them find alternative work.

Essa Kazim, Governor of DIFC, told UAE daily, Gulf News: “Through the new DIFC Directive, we intend to provide companies and their employees with certainty and flexibility in a practical way that will help see them through this challenging crisis.”