Saudi Arabia’s Commerce and Investment Ministry has called on the public and interested parties to give their feedback on draft Implementing Regulations to the Kingdom’s Commercial Franchise Law by 20 February 2020. The Ministry said the Regulations aim to encourage franchise businesses and set strong foundations for their activities. It also aims to ensure details about the rights, duties, and risks related to each opportunity are properly disclosed.
Five Kuwaiti MPs have proposed amending the procedural law by adding new articles to the Civil and Commercial Law issued by Kuwait Decree-Law No 38/1980. The MPs want to make changes to regulate disputes involving judges and members of the public prosecution office by adding a new chapter. The aim is to set the situations in which a judge or a member of the prosecution office can be disputed and the deadlines to be met.
Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing has issued directives, which among things, state developers and owners association in the Emirate cannot stop licensed holiday home operators from accessing their buildings or communities. Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing is responsible for licensing holiday homes. The new rules also apply to facility management firms who operate on behalf of developers or owners associations in maintaining buildings.
Qatar’s Emir has issued amendments to the country’s Penal Code. Under the amendments, anyone who broadcasts, publishes, or re-publishes rumours, fake news, or biased news, locally or abroad, with the intent to harm national interests, stir up public opinion, or infringe on social harmony or public order will be jailed. Biased broadcasting or publication will be jailed for up to five years and fined 100,000 Riyals. The amendments have been published in the Official Gazette.
The DIFC has enacted amendments to the 2019 Employment Law (DIFC Law No. 2/2019) and introduced new Employment Regulations which introduce a new end of service savings plan. The amendments to the Labour Law introduce the new Qualifying Scheme workplace savings scheme in the Centre and replace the current end-of-service gratuity payment regime which has been in place since the Centre’s founding in 2004. They come into force on 1 February 2020 and employers will have to make mandatory monthly contributions to a professionally managed and regulated savings plan after that.
The new Regulations set out the requirements for Qualifying Schemes. Employers have until 31 March 2020 to enrol into a Qualifying Scheme. These include the DIFC Employee Workplace Savings Plan. Alternatively, employers may seek a Certificate of Compliance from the DIFC Authority for an alternative Qualifying Scheme under the Regulations.
There will also be a new oversight body which will have the right to appoint and remove the scheme operator, review its governance and fees and charges imposed on the scheme. In addition, Qualifying Schemes must require employer and employee representation and independent oversight with the aim of ensuring the proper protection of the employee’s interests.
Employees will also be allowed to make voluntary workplace savings contributions into a Qualifying Scheme on top of the mandatory monthly contributions to be made by employers under the Employment Law and ensure any accrued end-of-service benefits under the current regime remain in place, also providing employers with the option to pay these accrued benefits into a Qualifying Scheme. In addition, there are exemptions for certain types of employees, like those on secondment in the Centre, short-term workers, equity partners and employees working for Government departments and bodies which have a presence in the Centre. The mandatory contributions to be made by employers are set at 5.83% of monthly basic wage, for employees who have less than five years’ service and 8.33% of monthly basic wage for employees who have served for longer.
Qatar’s Prime Minister and Interior Minister has issued Qatar Decision No. 95/2019 on controls and procedures for the exit of some categories of expatriates who are not subject to the Labour Law. The Decision allows expatriates to exit the country during the validity of their work contract. It applies to workers in Ministries and other Government agencies as well as public bodies and institutions. In addition, it applies to those in the oil and gas sector, maritime industries, agriculture and grazing, domestic and private office workers. An employer has the right to submit a request to the Interior Ministry with the names of those who may require approval before they leave the country because of the nature of their work, up to 5% of the number of their employees. Domestic workers should inform their employer at least 72 hours before they want to leave.
The Rapporteur of the Educational Affairs Committee of Kuwait’s National Assembly has announced the Committee has discussed amendments to the Audiovisual and Publication Laws. The amendments being considered relate to the penalties under both laws. If they are approved, those who violate either law will not be jailed. The Committee also discussed a draft law on media protections for young people and is waiting to get feedback on the Government.
The Head of Bahrain’s Execution Court has announced it is going to expedite procedures in the Court. The Courts have been split to hear different cases and enable them to provide more effective e-services. The number of Execution Court judges have also been increased from six to eight. The changes have been introduced together with the Supreme Judicial Council and the Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Ministry. Private firms will also be able to act as legal notaries if they are licensed.
The DIFC has issued a reminder that the deadline for appointing an employee and/or employer to the DEWS Supervisory Board is 15 January 2020.
Nominations should be accompanied with a valid DIFC employee card and the entity should be registered in the DIFC. The nominees should also have the appropriate qualified and experience.
The DEWS Supervisory Board will be made up of DIFC Authority representatives, employer and employee representatives and independent members. The Board will oversee the continuing governance and commercial aspects of the scheme which are not subject to regulatory supervision.
According to local newspaper reports, Kuwait’s Social Affairs Minister has presented a draft law to allow the children of Kuwaiti female nationals and non-Kuwaiti men to receive social assistance. It has been referred to the Fatwa and Legislation Department to consider. The aim is to improve their living conditions and create a more equal system.