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COVID-19: People: Five things every employer should know about the Ministerial Resolution on remote working (UAE)

06 April 2020 | UAE
Legal Briefings

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The UAE Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (“MOHRE”) published a Ministerial Resolution on 29 March 2020, (“MR”) regulating remote working during the period of the precautionary measures currently being taken by the UAE Government in response to COVID-19. The MR is effective immediately and until such time as the Government’s precautionary measures are removed. Here, we outline 5 key points from the MR that every employer should know

5 Key Points

  1. The MR applies to private sector workers only and does not apply inside some free zones, including the DIFC or ADGM, (although both the DIFC and ADGM has adopted similar rules – see our ADGM update here).
  2. The MR requires businesses to ensure that no more that 30% of their employees work from the firm’s registered office.
  3. Employers must prioritise remote working for vulnerable groups of workers including pregnant women, workers aged 55 or over, people of determination and workers with respiratory or chronic diseases.
  4. Employers must take precautionary measures including:
    1.  increased sanitation measures in the workplace;
    2. screening employees in the workplace / any employer-provided staff accommodation for COVID-19 symptoms twice daily – suspected case must be sent to hospital;
    3. ceasing any cultural, sports or social activities at staff accommodation;
    4. limiting the number of passengers in employer-provided transportation to 25% of a vehicle’s capacity; and
    5. maintaining social distancing of at least 2 metres in staff accommodation canteens.
  5. There are exemptions to the MR: businesses that work in the following sectors are exempt: the financial sector, health, education, infrastructure, supply, telecommunications, energy, the food industry, hospitality, medical and cleaning.

Comment

Whilst these mandatory measures will undoubtedly assist in combating the spread of COVID-19 within the UAE, it remains to be seen how employers will successfully implement the measures, how the authorities will effectively police them and what impact they will have on the ability of businesses to be able to function efficiently. 

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