What are the implications of the new labour regulations in the UAE?
As 2016 gets into full swing, management of UAE companies will naturally be considering their staffing requirements for the coming year. In doing so, they should also be aware of three new Ministerial Decrees which came into effect on 1 January 2016, introducing significant changes to the UAE labour regulations. Between them, the new Decrees seek to provide greater protection and certainty for employees on the terms on which they accept employment, clarification of the circumstances in which their employment may be terminated (and the compensation payable on termination), and promote mobility within the UAE labour market.
Under Ministerial Decree No.764/2015, when hiring foreign workers, employers will now be required to file a signed employment offer with the Ministry of Labour before approval is granted to admit the foreign worker into the UAE for employment. The terms set out in the employment offer must match the terms of the standardized employment contract subsequently entered into between the employee and the employer. No alterations, additions or substitutions to the standard contract can be made unless they are beneficial to the employee and approved by both the Ministry of Labour and the employee. The introduction of the employment offer will force employers to be transparent on the contract terms offered and granted to employees and give foreign workers reassurance that the contract they enter into on arrival in the UAE will meet the terms previously offered to them.
While it had previously been common to see senior management staff on contracts requiring 6 months’ notice for termination, Ministerial Decree No.765/2015 has introduced new limits which require the contractual notice period to be a minimum of 1 month and a maximum of 3 months, regardless of seniority or job title. Such a change reinforces the importance of robust “garden leave”, non-compete, non-solicitation and confidentiality provisions in employment contracts to assist companies in managing the risks associated with senior management employment termination.
Ministerial Decree No. 765/2015 has also reduced the maximum term of fixed term contracts from four years to two years and clarified the conditions under which employment contracts can be terminated (including where the contracts can be deemed to be terminated by the employer failing to meet its contractual obligations to the employee, such as non-payment of wages for 60 days or more). Where fixed term contracts are terminated before expiry of their term the parties can seek compensation and under the new rules can even fix the amount of compensation to be paid in advance by agreement in the contract, provided the agreed compensation does not exceed the equivalent of 3 months gross wages.
Greater mobility in the labour market is expected to be seen with the introduction of Ministerial Decree No.766 of 2015, which sets out the circumstances in which new work permits will be granted to employees after termination of previous UAE employment (and hence no labour ban enforced) in respect of both limited and unlimited contracts. This is expected to have the greatest impact on blue collar workers.
The Ministry of Labour has stated that it has already begun implementing these changes so employers should be aware of the practical implications for any recruitment or redundancy procedures and will need to consider what changes they need to make to their current processes to ensure any new employment contracts (or those due to renew) are fully compliant with the new rules. Employees should also be aware of the new rules and how they safeguard their rights and provide for a more transparent and better regulated employment relationship.
G7 Summit guide: What it is and what leaders hope to achieve
Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand, you’ll have seen the term ‘G7’ plastered all over the Internet this week. We’re going to give you the skinny on exactly what the G7 is and what its purpose on this planet is ─ and whether it’s a good or a bad collaboration.
Who are the G7?
The Group of Seven, or ‘G7’, may sound like a collective of pirate lords from a certain Disney smash-hit, but in reality, it’s a group of the world’s seven largest “advanced” economies ─ the powerhouses of the world, if you like.
The merry band comprises:
- The United Kingdom
- The United States
Historically, Russia was a member of the then-called ‘G8’ but found itself excluded after their ever-so-slightly illegal takeover of Crimea back in 2014.
Since 1977, the European Union has also been involved in some capacity with the G7 Summit. The Union is not recognised as an official member, but gradually, as with all Europe-linked affairs, the Union has integrated itself into the conversation and is now included in all political discussions on the annual summit agenda.
When was the ‘G’ formed?
Back in 1975, when the world was reeling from its very first oil shock and the subsequent financial fallout that came with it, the heads of state and government from six of the leading industrial countries had a face-to-face meeting at the Chateau de Rambouillet to discuss the global economy, its trajectory, and what they could do to address the economic turmoil that reared its ugly head throughout the 70s.
Why does the G7 exist?
At this very first summit ─ the ‘G6’ summit ─, the leaders adopted a 15-point communiqué, the Declaration of Rambouillet, and agreed to continuously meet once a year moving forward to address the problems of the day, with a rotating Presidency. One year later, Canada was welcomed into the fold, and the ‘G6’ became seven and has remained so ever since ─ Russia’s inclusion and exclusion not counted.
The group, as previously mentioned, was born in the looming shadow of a financial crisis, but its purpose is more significant than just economics. When leaders from the group meet, they discuss and exchange ideas on a broad range of issues, including injustice around the world, geopolitical matters, security, and sustainability.
It’s worth noting that, while the G7 may be made up of mighty nations, the bloc is an informal one. So, although it is considered an important annual event, declarations made during the summit are not legally binding. That said, they are still very influential and worth taking note of because it indicates the ambitions and outlines the initiatives of these particularly prominent leading nations.
Where is the 2021 G7 summit?
This year, the summit will be held in the United Kingdom deep in the southwest of England, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosting his contemporaries in the quaint Cornish resort of Carbis Bay near St Ives in Cornwall.
What will be discussed this year?
After almost two years of remote communication, this will be the first in-person G7 summit since the novel Coronavirus first took hold of the globe, and Britain wants “leaders to seize the opportunity to build back better from coronavirus, uniting to make the future fairer, greener, and more prosperous.”
The three-day summit, running from Friday to Sunday, will see the seven leaders discussing a whole host of shared challenges, ranging from the pandemic and vaccine development and distribution to the ongoing global fight against climate change through the implementation of sustainable norms and values.
According to the UK government, the attendees will also be taking a look at “ensuring that people everywhere can benefit from open trade, technological change, and scientific discovery.”