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Khaleej Times

DUBAI, Sep 17: The comprehensive amendements being drafted to the Federal Labour Law No. 8 of 1980 will include a provision clearly incriminating trading in employment visas, and another allowing two-days weekly off in the private sector, according to Labour Minister Dr Ali bin Abdullah Al Ka’abi.

Dr Al Kaabi said new sweeping changes and amendments would be incorporated in the Labour Law No (8) for 1980 including some articles incriminating the visa trade and imposing tough penalties against visa racketeers, besides articles that detail the rights of workers and the specifications of hygienic and suitable labour accommodations.

“The Labour Ministry is currently revising the law and  update it to cope with rapid changes in the private sector as well as with international developments and the chracteristics of open markets, besides keeping pace with the changes in global productivity systems,” Al Ka’abi affirmed.

The ministry, he noted, had added new articles and amended others to mirror a civilised image of the UAE as regards the care for the foreign manpower and protection of their rights.

According to the minister, four committees had been working on revising the law and were expected to finish their work by the end of the current month. “The final version of the draft amendment will be submitted to the ministry’s advisory board to seek opinions of its members comprising chambers of commerce and businessmen, before referring it to the Justice Ministry for consideration and approval. He disclosed that the law would include an article calling for a two-day off for the private sector, noting that the ministry would endeavour to unify the Friday-Saturday weekly holidays across the country “if possible.”  

“Unifying the weekly off for the private and public sectors will reflect positively on productivity and speed the porocessing of work,” Dr Al Kaabi said.

The new law, he emphasised, would maintain the present rights of the employees, especially those of workers and would never touch them.   “The Ministry has preserved privileges awarded to the worker in the existing law, but the amendments will guarantee greater protection to workers as per laws of the International Labour Organisation (ILO),” he said, indicating that the UAE maintains a good standing at international forums and human rights organisations for its protection of workers. The Labour Ministry makes it obligatory to  firms to provide their workers with what is called the “workers’ rights trio” — salary, adequate accommodation and health insurance.

The law will take a blanket look at the labour issues while the executive by-laws will explain details of various issues like accommodation of workers and the required specifications.

Dr. Al Kaabi said the provisions which grant employees an annual leave of 30 paid days will remain unchanged, so is the case with the calculation of the gratuity which will see no change as well. “Weekly working timing will remain 48 hours. However, firms can determine the timing according to the nature of its work but should stick to the endorsed time-frame,” he added.

On whether there will be an article about the minimum wage, Al Kaabi underlined that his ministry would not include any legislation on minimum wages in the law, but indicated that the executive by-laws might handle it.

The law will govern the employer-employee relationship and include recent ministerial resolutions like those dealing with false and malicious absconding notifications.

He said the revision of the existing labour law was dictated by the need to secure more rights for workers, especially in the light of their growing number in the private sector which reached 2.6 million by June this year and stressed that the amendements will be in favour of workers in the first place.


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