This week the spotlight is on legal and regulatory developments in Dubai, where the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has signed an agreement with Dubai Economy to allow companies operating in the DIFC to obtain operating licences onshore in Dubai. Under the agreement, a central database will be established to allow data exchange between the bodies to improve oversight of commercial activities in the DIFC. Joint inspections will also ensure better compliance, fraud prevention and consumer protection. The agreement was signed for the DIFC by its Governor, Essa Kazim and for Dubai Economy by its Director-General, Sami Al Qamzi.
Elsewhere, Dubai’s Ruler, HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum has issued a maternity and childcare leave Decree for female employees of the Dubai Government. It came into effect on 1 March and has been published in the Official Gazette. The aim is to promote a better work-life balance, support working women’s rights and enhance gender balance. The Decree will apply retroactively to current maternity leave and nursing breaks of Dubai Government female employees. Any full-time or part-time employee in a permanent position will be entitled to 90 days’ maternity leave from the delivery date. Employees can also apply to start their maternity leave 30 days before their due date on the condition the leave is taken continuously. Employees can also combine maternity leave, regular annual leave and leave without pay, for up to 120 days. An employee who has suffered a miscarriage before the 24th week of pregnancy is entitled to sick leave based on an approved medical report. If the employee had a stillbirth or a miscarriage after the 24th week, she is entitled to 60 days of maternity leave after providing an approved medical report. An employee who gives birth to a child with a disability is entitled to childcare leave for one year, which can be renewed for up to three years based on an approved medical report and approval from the relevant senior official in the Government entity. During the maternity leave and childcare leave, the employee will only receive her basic monthly salary. Weekends and official holidays will be considered part of the maternity leave and childcare leave.
Dubai Government entities must establish a nursery for employees’ children under four if the total number of children of all female employees in the entity is more than 20. If the total number of children is less than 20, two or more Government entities can jointly establish a nursery. Government entities may also contract nurseries close to their headquarters if the entity does not have adequate space for a nursery.