Bloomberg Law for HR Professionals is a complete, one-stop resource, continuously updated, providing HR professionals with fast answers to a wide range of domestic and international human resources...
By Jenny David
Oct. 2—Labor and immigration officials have stepped up workplace inspections throughout the United Arab Emirates. The spot-checks, announced earlier this summer, are part of a trend toward stricter enforcement of labor regulations, particularly those affecting foreign workers.
Many inspections have focused on the construction industry, the Foreign Ministry said, adding that “the UAE considers it a priority to work on an ongoing basis to improve the conditions” of construction workers. Inspectors are also verifying that employers provide physical laborers with a compulsory midday break during the hottest hours of the desert kingdom's workday and investigating whether workers are carrying the new electronic labor cards as required by a directive that took effect in mid-July over employers' objections.
During the past three months, almost 80,000 companies located both within and outside the UAE's free trade zones for foreign businesses have been audited, the Labor Ministry confirmed Sept. 22. Some 99 percent were found to be in compliance with the midday-break law, violation of which entails fines of up to 15,000 dirham ($4,100) and closure of repeat offenders' businesses.
The ministry did not note the number of workers found to be lacking valid labor and residency permits, but a recent report from workplace inspections in Abu Dhabi said that more than 1,000 such cases had been referred to prosecutors in the past year.
Companies can be fined 50,000 dirham ($13,600) for breaching residency rules and owners can be imprisoned for repeated mistreatment of their workers, a ministry official noted, adding that employers should ensure their workers' documents are in order and are in their workers' possession at all times.
Several labor laws have been amended to better protect workers' rights in the UAE, according to a recent Foreign Ministry report. Initiatives have included the adoption of international labor conventions, fines for violations such as the withholding of workers' travel documents and late or nonpayment of wages, strict housing rules, recruitment protection and the expansion of complaint mechanisms.
The UAE has also made significant progress in enforcing workers' rights, according to Emirates Human Rights Association Treasurer Jamila Al Hamli, who reported to an August conference that labor complaints received by the association dropped by 30-40 percent in the first half of 2014, and most complaints—related to wrongful termination and malicious behavior—were resolved quickly.
To contact the reporter on this story: Jenny David in Jerusalem at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rick Vollmar at email@example.com
For more information on HR law and regulation, see the UAE primer.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)