The new DIFC Employment Law No. 2 of 2019 comes into effect on 28 August 2019 and repeals and replaces the previous law, DIFC Law No. 4 of 2005, as amended. The new law significantly changes the existing law. Key amendments include the following:
- Application of the law – the new law applies to short-term employees and part-time employees (although a number of provisions will not apply short-term employees);
- The introduction of a six month limitation period for bringing employment claims;
- Greater protection for employees against discrimination (including harassment), including widening the protected classes to include age and pregnancy and maternity. The new law further provides for grounds which must be taken into consideration when assessing whether discrimination has taken place;
- Expressly prohibiting the victimisation of employees by their employer and prohibiting victimisation of an employee who does one of four protected acts. Protected acts include bringing a claim for discrimination or victimisation, giving evidence in connection with discrimination or victimisation proceedings, making a discrimination or victimisation allegation, or any other act pertaining to discrimination or victimisation;
- Enhanced family-friendly benefits, including extending the right to paid leave to attend appointments for ante-natal care to expectant fathers; providing for paternity leave (subject to minimum length of service) and granting nursing breaks to female employees returning to work;
- Increased clarity for employers and employees in relation to the payment of salaries and other entitlements, including sick pay and end of service benefits.