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Dubai announces Presidential Directive for Protection of Companies and Employee
The Dubai International Financial Centre (“DIFC”) has recently published an important new Presidential Directive No. 4 of 2020, otherwise known as the DIFC COVID-19 Directive, which can be found here and is effective from April 21, 2020, until July 31, 2020.
The Directive has been introduced in response to the COVID-19 outbreak to address the related issues currently being faced by employers and employees within the DIFC. Read on as we cover the key provisions:
Emergency Employment Measures
The Directive introduces numerous emergency employment-related measures which a DIFC employer may, during the Emergency Period, lawfully implement without first obtaining employee consent being:
- Impose reduced working hours;
- Impose vacation leave;
- Impose unpaid leave;
- Reduce remuneration on a temporary basis;
- Restrict workplace access; and
- Impose remote working conditions and requirements including imposing means of measuring an employee’s engagement and productivity during remote working.
An employer is required to notify any affected employees in writing at least 5 days’ in advance of implementing any of the Emergency Measures.
COVID-19 Related Sick Leave
The Directive provides that any sick leave is taken by an employee during the Emergency Period as a consequence of either:
- Having contracted COVID-19 (as confirmed by a sick leave certificate issued by a ‘Competent Authority’ such as the Dubai Health Authority or Ministry of Health and Prevention) or;
- Being placed in quarantine by any Competent Authority to deal with limiting the spread of COVID-19, shall not count towards any sick leave entitlement that an employee is entitled to under the DIFC Employment Law.
Employees will be entitled to full pay during any COVID-19 sick leave period (for as long as the sick leave certificate is valid and/or the quarantine is imposed by the Competent Authority), and may not be subjected to any Emergency Measure that did not apply to them prior to any such sick leave period.
The Directive further provides that it will not be permissible to terminate the services of an employee who has taken more than the maximum aggregate 60 working days of annual sick leave entitlement under the DIFC Employment Law because of any COVID-19 related sick leave.
Employers can read the press release here.