DIFC Presidential Directive No. 4 of 2020 in respect of COVID-19 came into effect on 21 April 2020
DIFC has issued Presidential Directive No. 4 of 2020 in respect of COVID-19, effective from 21 April 2020 through to the end of what they have called the “Emergency Period”, which is up until 31 July 2020, or any other date confirmed by the President. The directive implements the following key terms:
Employers may introduce a number of emergency measures, without the employee’s consent, on five days’ notice. Those measures are:
- Reduced working hours;
- Imposing remote working conditions, for example in relation to measuring employee engagement and productivity;
- Restricting workplace access;
- Reducing remuneration on a temporary basis;
- Imposing an unpaid leave period; and
- A requirement to take holiday leave.
The provisions in the DIFC Employment Law regarding workplace health and safety will not apply during the Emergency Period.
The cancellation of a residence visa of terminated employees may be deferred. However, where the employer is in the retail, service or hospitality industries, and provides accommodations to the employee during the employee’s employment, this must continue, following termination, until visa cancellation.
Any sick leave taken during the Emergency Period as a consequence of having contracted COVID-19 or having been placed in quarantine, will not be counted towards the employee’s sick leave entitlement; meanwhile, the employer should pay sick pay at 100% of the employee’s daily wage.
If an employee’s basic wage has been reduced in the period from 1 March 2020, the gratuity which would otherwise be payable prior to the commencement of the DIFC Employee Workplace Savings Plan must accrue at the higher rate of salary which was paid on 29 February 2020.
The DIFC are also putting in place an Available Employee Database, which shall be maintained by the DIFC Government Services Office, for any terminated employees or those surplus to current needs, so that they may be hired by third-parties looking for recruits.
For more information on these articles or any other issues involving labour and employment matters in the United Arab Emirates, please contact Rebecca Ford (Partner) at Clyde & Co at Rebecca.Ford@clydeco.ae or visit www.clydeco.com.
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