Following the launch of a new National Family Policy, the UAE’s Community Development Minister, Hessa Bint Eisa Bu Humaid has announced a draft paternity leave law is under consideration. As part of the policy there are 36 initiatives which have been implemented between the Federal and local authorities. These initiatives cover educational programmes, consultations and training and are part of the UAE Vision 2021 and UAE Centennial Strategy 2071.
Abu Dhabi’s authorities have dissolved the Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority and transferred its assets and functions to a new Energy Department. The Regulation & Supervision Bureau, which oversees water, waste water and electricity in the Emirate has also become part of the new Energy Department. The change came into effect on 20 February 2018. It is part of a consolidation of state-owned bodies and follows Abu Dhabi’s Ruler issuing a series of laws establishing a number of government departments for the Emirate, including the Department of Energy last month.
Weekly Spotlight: New Ministerial Decision in the UAE Allowing Companies to Hire Employees on a Part-Time Basis
This week the spotlight is on employment law developments in the UAE, where the country’s Human Resources and Emiratisation Ministry has announced it has issued a Decision allowing companies to hire employees on a part-time basis. It is hoped the change will create a more flexible labour market in the country and reduce the country’s dependency on expatriate employees. However, a part-time contract cannot be changed into a full-time contract unless it is terminated first. Under the Decision, part-time employees must work no more than eight hours a day and have at least one day off a week. Employees will also be able to work in first and second level skilled jobs for more than one employer providing they have obtained Ministry approval. They will not need the approval of either their original or new employer.
Elsewhere, according to local newspaper reports, the application of the Good Conduct Certificate requirement has been extended. It now applies to existing workers in the country who are switching jobs regardless of their length of service. This dispels rumours in February 2018 the requirement would not apply to this category. It means Filipino and Indonesian domestic workers are now the only ones exempt from the requirement.
Kuwait’s Public Authority for Manpower has announced it has signed an agreement with the Kuwait Engineers Society which will see visa changes for expatriate engineers introduced. Under the agreement, expatriate engineers will not be able to renew their work permits without a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Kuwait Society of Engineers. All engineers will be given a NOC certificate after they have passed a competence test regardless of when they entered the country and how many years they have worked.
The UAE’s President and Abu Dhabi Ruler, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has issued a law merging the Abu Dhabi Investment Council with the Mubadala Investment Company. The new Fund will have approximately $250 billion in assets. The Mubadala Investment Company’s board of directors will now become the Abu Dhabi Investment Council’s board but the Council’s senior leadership will continue to manage the Fund and report to the Mubadala Group CEO and Managing Director, Khaldoon Khalifa al Mubarak.
Weekly Spotlight: A Mechanism for Monitoring and Inspecting Real Estate Regulatory Authority licenced entities to be established in Dubai
This week the spotlight is on legal and regulatory developments in the real estate sector in Dubai, where the Real Estate Regulatory Authority has signed an agreement with the Dubai Economic Development Department. Under the agreement, a mechanism for monitoring and inspecting Real Estate Regulatory Authority licenced entities will be established. Under the agreement, the two sides will work together to issue and impose fines on violators of the relevant regulations. The Land Department will provide all of the data and information for proper inspections, supervision and follow-up of licenced real estate facilities to be carried out. It will also provide the Economic Development Department’s Commercial Compliance and Consumer Protection Department team with all of the directives, decisions and memorandums issued to real estate companies in Dubai which clarify the relevant regulatory clauses and how they are applied. For its part the Economic Development Department’s Commercial Compliance and Consumer Protection Department will organise awareness campaigns about the relevant regulatory requirements.
Elsewhere Dubai’s Municipality Buildings Department has announced it has launched a new industrial building projects system. The aim is to ensure contractors are registered and simplify procedures for owners and customers in this sector. The new system will allow a contractor to design industrial buildings and supervise their implementation without needing to appoint a consultancy office. An awareness campaign about the new system will launch on 26 March.
The Governors of the GCC monetary agencies and Central Banks have agreed to establish a Gulf disbursements company to facilitate money transactions between them. All members have contributed to the company’s capital and are seeking specialist consultations on the payment system. The company will be headquartered in Riyadh and a secondary office will be based in Abu Dhabi. The aim is to provide a quick and safe environment for financial transactions between them.
This week the spotlight is on legal and tax developments in the UAE, where the country’s Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship has announced it is working on a new system to allow companies to issue or renew Emirates ID cards for their staff electronically. The aim is to migrate 80% of the Authority’s services to smart and digital platforms by December 2018. Under the new system, companies who meet certain criteria will be able to use Authority services to issue ID cards electronically. Companies will have to have over 100 employees and must be licenced by the relevant authorities. They will also have to apply to the Identity and Citizenship Authority to use the system.
The Federal Taxes Authority has also confirmed the provision of a receipt is a fundamental consumer right. The Authority confirmed businesses should provide receipts and should not deduct taxes if have not registered. The Authority also warned fines will be imposed on businesses who deduct tax but refuse to provide consumers with receipts.
Salasah Primary Court has issued a first-of-its-kind community service sentence to a number of defendants. The convicts were sentenced the to sweep and clean roads in Salalah province, in southern Oman. They have been ordered to do this for four hours a day for a month in addition to their original sentence. Article 57 of the new Omani Penal Code allows supplementary penalties, including the commissioning of a social service. Convicts can also be jailed for one month if they do not comply with public service sentences.
Saudi Arabia’s Health Insurance Council has confirmed it is scrapping the individual health insurance system for private sector employees. The Council added employers should provide insurance to employees and their families. This includes spouses, male children under 25 and unmarried daughters. The aim is to transfer responsibility for health insurance from employees to employers, regulate the health insurance market more effectively and eliminate fake insurance.