The new DIFC Employment Law no. (2) of 2019
The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has announced that the new Employment Law – No. (2) of 2019 - came into effect on August 28, 2019.
Revised provisions coming into effect address key issues, including paternity leave, sick pay and end-of-service settlements.
The law centers around the necessity to balance the needs of employers and employees in the DIFC while maintaining a robust framework of employment standards that contribute to the success of the center.
Employer-focused provisions include expansion of employee duties, reduction of the statutory sick pay, limiting the application of mandatory late penalty payments for end-of-service settlements and recognizing settlement agreements between employers and employees.
Employee-focused provisions include the introduction of five days of paternity leave and penalties for discrimination. Penalties have also been introduced to ensure adherence to basic conditions of employment, visa and residency sponsorship.
The new law was subject to substantial research and global benchmarking, as well as thorough public consultation, which helped shape the law to ensure that the DIFC remains the most sophisticated and business-friendly Common Law jurisdiction in the region.
Highlights of the new Provisions:
* Maternity and paternity:
Mothers returning from maternity leave who work more than six hours per day are entitled to nursing breaks of up to one hour for the six months after childbirth.
Male employees may take up to five days of paternity leave if they have at least a year's service and must notify the employer at least eight weeks in advance of the due date. Leave must be taken within the first month of the child's birth.
The right to paternity leave extends to fathers of adopted children who are under five years old.
A male employee has the right to paid time off to accompany his pregnant wife to antenatal appointments.
The non-discrimination provisions have been expanded to include discrimination based on age, pregnancy and maternity, and clarity is provided on what constitutes discriminatory behavior.
Now specified that gratuity payment is paid out even in circumstances where the employee is dismissed for cause.
Basic wage must not be less than 50% of the annual wage.
Employee may choose to receive contributions from their employer into a pension scheme (located in any country) provided that the employer's contribution is not less than the payment the employee would have received under the gratuity payment system.
* Settlement agreements:
Employees can now waive their minimum statutory employment rights by entering into a settlement agreement.
Other than where an employee terminates for cause, making a payment in lieu of notice is only permitted when the parties enter into a settlement agreement.
* Time limitations on claims:
Six months from date of employee's termination.
Six months from the date of a discriminatory act.
* Probation period:
Probation period is permitted, provided that they are stated in the related employment contract.
* Sick pay:
Employees only receive 100% sick pay for the first 10 days. Thereafter, sick pay is at 50% for the next 20 days, followed by no sick pay for the next 30 days.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ihab is an Italian attorney-at-law and expert in the aviation sector. He has been engaged in commercial and regulatory law practice for many years, with a focus on aviation.
He has an extensive experience in high-profile litigation, aircraft financing and leasing, aviation regulation, aircraft accident investigations and policy & business aviation issues.
During his career, he has been actively involved in a full range of legal matters arising in the aviation industry, including drafting aviation legislations, participating in major Privatization and Public–Private Partnership projects, delivering regulatory consultations & proceedings, handling general aviation and commercial issues including sale, purchase and lease of aircraft transactions, aircraft & air navigation services’ insurance and reinsurance, and other environment, security & safety issues.
Ihab has addressed numerous conferences on aviation law and aircraft financing & leasing in the Middle East, Europe and Canada, and published on a variety of issues, including commercial aviation developments, environmental regulation impacting the aviation sector and the Cape Town Convention and its Aircraft Protocol.
He is a member of ICAO’s Commission of Experts of the Supervisory Authority of the International Registry (CESAIR) for the purposes of the Cape Town Convention (CTC) and the Aircraft Protocol.