The Philippine Institute for Certified Public Accountants in Dubai recently organized a webinar that discussed the ins and outs of the UAE Labour Law and its implementation amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country.
PICPA Dubai President Catherine Hermosa stressed that accountants and other expats for that matter should be aware of their rights as workers to make informed decisions regarding their working status in their respective fields.
“As expats, it is our responsibility to be aware on the governing rules here in UAE. We need to have an understanding of the UAE’s Labour Law that is in place to protect us while being employed here. PICPA Dubai crafted the ‘COVID-19 and the workplace-UAE labour law explained’ webinar to educate the general community on UAE Labour law and the changes being implemented on it in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak,” said Hermosa.
Legal Advisor Atty. Suneer Kumar explained several points pertaining to job offers and employment contracts. One important point he raised, in particular, was that employees who transfer towards competitor firms would not be stopped by any civil courts unless otherwise proven during the court hearing.
“The employer can file a civil claim in the court, but the civil court will not stop the employee from joining the competitor firm. The employer should prove whether he sustained any damage or loss because of the employee joining the competitor firm,” said Atty. Kumar as he explained the non-competition clause.
Atty. Vida Grace Serrano, an associate lawyer from the Al Swaidi Company discussed the impact of the COVID-19 on the UAE workforce where she explained the importance of proper documentation to ensure that everything is accounted for.
“Make sure you have the proper documentation which is signed by both the employer and the employee because in cases of an employment dispute, this is normally the cause for contention. Normally what happens is that the employer submits their system but the employee did not sign it so that is a point of contention,” said Atty. Serrano.
Joy Distor, a certified human resource professional in the UAE, explained and focused more on the discussions regarding employee leaves and payments. She shared that expats are entitled to overtime pay depending on their position. She also provided guidance for female employees and their maternity leave benefits.
“You are entitled to an overtime pay. However, supervisory and managerial positions are excluded from receiving overtime pay. Female employees who are legally married are entitled to maternity leave of 45 days with full salary payment (if 1 year of service) or half salary payment (if less than 1 year in service),” explained Distor.
Roy Lance Japor, Founder and Managing Director of DuBlog and a former regional talent acquisition partner, shared the importance of keeping your skills updated and equipping yourself with the right mindset and tools to adapt to the changing work environment.
“There is hope. Everything is slowly going back to normal now. Let us believe in ourselves, and make sure that we are equipped,” said Japor.
PICPA Dubai’s ‘COVID-19 and the workplace-UAE labour law explained’ webinar’ was hosted by members Rayhanah Natangcop and Marian Olive Quizon.