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Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) has launched a "national programme to support the stability of the labor market in the private sector" in order to ensure the continuity of business in the private sector in light of a nationwide series of preventive and precautionary measures to curb the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19).
The programme prepared by the MOHRE in coordination with the National Emergency and Crisis Management Authority includes a package of measures to support employers and workers in the private sector, both citizens and expatriates. It integrates with the economic support packages provided by the country to reduce the impact and repercussions of the precautionary measures on the national economy.
The programme also includes a set of precautionary measures aimed at protecting workers in the private sector from infection with the Coronavirus and in a manner that ensures continued performance of business in the private sector.
The Ministry announced support packages aimed at enhancing job stability of citizens working in various economic sectors, especially those most affected by economic repercussions and challenges imposed by the precautionary measures of the Coronavirus.
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The Ministry also said that a special committee would be formed to look into complaints of citizens working in the private sector and monitor their conditions, in coordination and cooperation with the relevant federal and local government bodies.
In this context, the MOHRE issued a Decree No. 279 of 2020 regarding the stability of workers in the establishments of the private sector during the period of applying precautionary measures to curb the spread of the new Coronavirus (Covid-19).
The first article of the decision states that all registered establishments with the MOHRE are obligated to work in accordance with the provisions of this decision that aim to regulate work between employers and the non-citizen workers authorized to work for them. The decision also seeks to preserve the interest of both parties during the period of applying precautionary measures.
The second article states that the establishments affected by the mentioned precautionary measures, and wish to regulate their internal work, shall include in the procedures taken, in conciliation with the non-citizen worker: allowing workers to work remotely if possible, giving them paid or unpaid leave, reducing their salaries temporarily during the precautionary period, or to reduce them permanently.
The third Article states that the institutions affected by the precautionary measures referred to and have a surplus of non-citizen workers shall record their data in the virtual labor market system, so that will be available for hiring by other establishments. Those institutions will remain committed to paying housing allowance and to their full rights except salary until they leave the country or hired by another institution, the article included.
The Article No.4 states that the institutions willing to hire non-citizen workers during the period of suspending hiring workers from outside the country, to offer jobs available to them in the virtual labor market system and to search in the available labor database, to choose who fit the requirements. Those workers will be hired by applying for internal work permits that the MOHRE provides on smart and electronic platforms.
The Article No.5 stipulates that establishments wishing to reduce wages of non-citizen workers temporarily during the aforementioned period shall undertake an additional temporary attachment to the work contract between the two parties, according to the form attached to this decision. This attachment ends with the end of its term or the validity period of this decision, whichever comes first.
The attachment will be renewable with consent of the two parties. It will be in two copies, one for each. Employers are obligated to present it to the Ministry whenever requested to do so.
The sixth Article stipulates that institutions wishing to reduce the wages of non-citizen workers permanently are obligated to apply for the "modifying employment contract data" service to obtain approval of the Ministry in accordance with the procedures in force.
The Article No.7 states that job seekers who are out of the UAE, are asked to register in the virtual labor market system and apply for jobs offered by registered establishments that are consistent with their experience and qualifications.
The Article No.8 stipulates that the provisions of this decision apply to non-citizen workers only during the period of applying the precautionary measures referred to.
This decision shall be published in the Official Gazette and shall be enforced from the date of its issuance (March 26, 2020).
The initiative aims to enable residents who work in the private sector and wish to return to their home countries to do so during the period of precautionary measures undertaken in the UAE to contain the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19.
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