COVID-19: Employment measures in the UAE

In response to the global outbreak of Covid-19, authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are taking actions to protect the safety and well-being of their citizens, residents, and visitors.

In order to fully implement the measures taken by the authorities, people should abide by rules that are not always well defined. In particular, employers and employees should fulfil certain obligations to mitigate as much as possible the impact of the coronavirus on the labor market.

What are the safety measures to be adopted in the workplace in the UAE?

Duties and obligations of employers

  • Health and safety obligations

Employers have a general obligation to ensure a safe workplace for their employees and to take precautionary protective measures.

Requiring employees to take business trips to high risk countries during the pandemic for example doesn’t align with this obligation.

Employers should be aware of the fact that expecting things to work perfectly in such times is impossible, and that taking measures to ensure employees’ safety should overcome any business consideration.

  • Adopt flexible work arrangements

Since the world is experiencing extraordinary events, it is only fair to consider the application of new work measures to cope with the whole situation. Employers should adopt flexible work arrangements with their employees whenever the nature of the work permits it such as working from home.

  • Stay up-to date with the latest measures

Exceptional times require exceptional measures. New regulations are adopted by governments on a daily basis.

For instance, the UAE banned its residents from entering and leaving the country for two weeks as of March 19 which resulted in having dozens of UAE residents stranded overseas.

The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC) issued guidelines for residents and visa holders stuck outside the country: “Those who are currently outside the UAE for business considerations have to contact their employers here as well as Emirati diplomatic missions in their host countries for all necessary support to facilitate their return back to the UAE”.

In addition, the MOFAIC introduced a new service on its website: “Tawajudi for residents”. The new service is intended for residents with valid residencies and who are outside the country, and aims to facilitate their safe return to the UAE in emergency situations.

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