How Covid19 Affects You? Corona Virus and UAE Labour Law (Latest Updates)

How Covid19 affects you?

The Coronavirus pandemic (Covid19) tested the best of the companies worldwide and UAE has not been different. However, what is different is the proactive measures taken by various authorities that has helped in the controlling of the spread of the virus.

Here are updates for you to refer on various matters related to Corona virus and UAE Labor Law.

What should you do if you have fever or other symptoms?

If you have symptoms such as coughing, fever or difficulty in breathing you should stay away from others and immediately contact UAE COVID 19 helpline numbers:

  • 80011111  Ministry of health and prevention
  • 8001717 Department of Health
  • 800342 Dubai Health Authority

In case of emergency, the worker should request an ambulance by calling 999

Is the cost for the Covid-19 is covered by your insurance company?

As per the Covid19 circular issued by DHA on January 30th to all the DHA licensed health facilities in Dubai that any suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19 must be treated as emergency.

As long as a physician has prescribed the test, the doctor would apply for an insurance approval.  However, if you insist on taking the test when you do not have any symptoms, you would need to pay for it.

What should you do in case of unavailability of Insurance Coverage and suspect having Corona virus?

These cases shall be considered emergencies and suspected/confirmed cases will not bear any payment of healthcare cost at health care facilities

When should you go in to self-isolation?

You can be placed in isolation by government authorities, while they await their test results, if it is believed that they may have COVID 19.

What will happen if you tests positive for COVID-19?

If you test positive for COVID 19, you will be quarantined in centres and are  provided all necessary medical care, food and lodging free.

Will you get paid salary during quarantine period?

“If the employer demands or calls upon an employee to be quarantined for certain number of days after he/she returns to the UAE from leave or official foreign tour, then the employer may be obligated to pay the salary for the number of days the employee has been quarantined.”

Based on this, the leave granted to the employee who has been quarantined for Covid-19 may be treated as sick leave and may come under the purview of Article 83 (2) of the Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 which states that employees has to be paid for the sick leave.

However, if the employees voluntarily quarantine themselves, they may not be eligible for sick leave salary. 

Validity of the Residence visa  & Emirates ID: 

The authorities have confirmed that all visa and entry permits expiring after March 1 2020 shall remain valid until the end of December 2020.

Visa validity extension procedure:

Expats with residency visas that expired on or after March 1 2020 will have their validity extended automatically till the end of 2020. “The residency visas of expats that expired as on March 1 will be automatically extended till the end of December 2020.”

Emirates ID validity extension procedure:

The validity of the Emirates ID card expired in early March 1 2020 will be extended until December 2020.

What if an expert expat stays out of the country for more than six months?

The visas won’t be cancelled for residence visa holders who have been outside the UAE for six months or more. The residency visas of expats that expired as on or after March 1 will be automatically extended till the end of December 2020.

What if you are on visit visa or tourist visa inside the country?

Previously visitors within the UAE could extend their stay in the country by applying for a new visit or tourist visa through any travel and tourism agency. Tourists and visitors can either leave the country when their visa expires or change the status by getting a new visa through tourist companies.

However, in the latest news authorities have confirmed that UAE visit and tourist visas held by those inside the UAE will be valid until the end of 2020, provided they have expired after March 1 2020.

What about entry permit validity?

The entry permits for those inside the country are valid until the end of December 2020, if they have expired after March 1, 2020.

Will there be any overstay fines for expats?

There will not be any delay fines for expats who can’t stamp their visas, get their Emirates ID processed or obtain their medical insurance due to the Covid-19 situation.

All visas and entry permits expiring from March 1 shall remain valid until the end of December 2020″. 

Coronavirus Resolution: MOHRE

Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization – Ministerial Resolution No 279 of 2020 on Employment Stability in the Private Sector during the Period of Application of Precautionary Measures to curb the spread of Novel Coronavirus

The provision stipulated in the Resolution shall apply to non-national workers during the application of the said precautionary measures

The employer and employees need to be in agreement to maintain and safeguard the business interest

The Ministerial Resolution is specifically for the establishments affected by such precautionary measurements due to the Coronavirus and allows of such establishments the reorganization progressively in the following arrangement

  1. Implement Remote working system
  2. Grant Paid leave
  3. Grant Unpaid leave
  4. Temporary Salary reduction during the reference period
  5. Permanent salary reduction

 Implement Remote working system

These guidelines include the measures that should be taken by employers and workers during the current emergency conditions.

  • A work system in which a worker performs his work outside the sites designated for work in the establishment with which he is associated with an employment contract, whether this work is on a daily, weekly or monthly part-time basis or on a full-time basis.
  • The private sector companies and establishments that the worker works for. Labor Relations Law: Federal Law No. (8) for 1980 with respect to regulating labor relations and its amendments. Second:
  • Ensure the availability of a safe technological environment to complete the remote work and taking into account the controls for maintaining the privacy and confidentiality of data and codifying the powers to access the systems.
  • Employees assigned to remote work to ensure their compliance with remote work hours and accomplishment of the tasks assigned to them.
  • Employees to communicate with their colleagues, management and leadership required to communicate with to perform the tasks and access the information and systems needed to perform the work and providing video chat systems.
  • Employer should provide the technological tools necessary to complete the remote work through the use of smart and electronic systems. •
  • Define the efficiency and productivity mechanisms and standards and the time frames for all tasks assigned to the employees.
  • Determine the mechanisms for managing the remote work in terms of working hours, whether it is necessitated to work for a specific time or for a flexible time during the day, week, or month. Third: Remote worker’s obligations:
  • Obtaining the employer’s approval to work remotely.
  • Undertaking to come to the workplace whenever asked to do so.
  • Perform the tasks as per the related time frames.
  • Replying to all calls and e-mails and taking advantage of the available means of communication to ensure continuous communication as per work requirements.
  • Maintaining the confidentiality of information and documents and using the time allocated for remote work in accomplishing the required tasks.
  • Providing the supporting evidence required by the employer about his accomplishments and productivity.
  • Preserving the remote work devices provided by the employer and returning the same whenever asked to do so.
  • Reading and abiding by the privacy policy of remote workers.
  • Governing laws and legislation The labor relations law and the relevant legislation issued in this connection will be applicable to those working in accordance with these guidelines.

Early leave is not compulsory for the worker and cutting salaries is a temporary measure

The extension of the temporary work contract, which was approved by the Ministry for the use of the two parties to the contract after agreeing on the future mechanism in the contractual relationship between them. During the period of preventive measures currently being taken by the country to curb the spread of the (Covid 19) virus known as the emerging corona, it identified

3 options for the two contracting parties are

  1. Grant Paid leave
  2. Grant Unpaid leave
  3. Temporary Salary reduction during the reference period

According to the appendix to the temporary work contract that the Ministry made available on its official electronic portal, the two parties to the contract must show agreement on any of the three options mentioned in the contract, which means that any of these procedures (paid leave, early leave without pay, temporary pay cut) are not compulsory  On the worker, but rather are consensual measures between the two parties to work.

According to the temporary contract, the option to reduce the wage of the worker is essentially a temporary procedure, as the value of the wage is determined after the reduction and the period of time during which the wage will be reduced, according to the dates recorded in the contract, so that the text is to be the value of the wage after the reduction (…..  ), As of (—–) to (—–)

According to the second clause of the contract, the first party (the employer) acknowledges that he briefed the second party (the worker) in detail on all the items mentioned in this temporary annex, and he also acknowledges that the second party signed it without coercion.

Companies wishing to permanently reduce the salaries of non national workers shall apply to the Ministry of Labour Service to amend the employment contract details,once approval has been given the employee is to finalize the procedure.

This resolution shall come into force from the date of its issuance 26-03-2020

In regard to the duration between each precautionary measures an establishment may wish to act upon we believe an employer shall take action for two months. If measures in place and remain and loss of business is ongoing they may proceed with the taking further actions

The above  confirms that the decision shall only be applied by the establishment that are affected by such precautionary measurements and for such action to be taken gradually, where by the employer shall assign and implement a work from home policy to the employees, in order for them to work remotely and progressively in the procedures until further rimplemetation upt to permanet salary reduction

 Temporary guidelines of remote work for private sector establishments attached to Ministerial Resolution for 2020

Introduction Based on its keenness for workers to be available in their establishments and for the labor market to be regulated during the period in which the precautionary measures are taken to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) has issued temporary guidelines to regulate remote work.

What is the “Early Leave’ initiative launched for private sector employees during the precautionary measures period? 

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, in cooperation with the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the General Civil Aviation Authority, and the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority, has launched the ‘Early Leave’ initiative.

The following procedure applies in case of worker working in private sector and wishes to return to their home countries as part of the humanitarian efforts of the UAE’s wise leadership in meeting the needs of residents seeking to return to their home countries and supporting them in these difficult times.

  1. Determine the leave period by signing an additional supplementary form for a work contract during the period of application of precautionary measures due to the Corona virus
  2. Book a ticket for the employee (round trip) and hand it over to him
  3. The contractual relationship between the employer and employee continues, and the early leave is considered unpaid leave with the employee retaining the remaining entitlement that are due to him according to the labour contract law.
  4. Early leave ends with employee returning to work after the end of the precautionary period
  5. The residency of employees returning to their countries will be automatically extended if their residency expires while they are outside the country.

We will update this post as and when we have updates.

 

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