UAE law: Can I continue to work from home amid Covid-19?
The human resources ministry in the UAE allows the employer to adopt remote working systems during the pandemic.
Question: I work in a firm in Dubai. I am a little paranoid about the general Covid-19 situation. Moreover, I have elderly parents living with me. Can I put in a request to continue working from home? What happens if my firm insists that I work from the office?
Answer: The UAE continues to handle the Covid-19 pandemic in a manner that is well recognised and greatly appreciated all over the world. The UAE has created a perfect balance in protecting lives and its economy.
Pursuant to your queries, we assume that you are employed by a mainland firm based in the Emirate of Dubai. Therefore, the provisions of Ministerial Resolution No. 279 of 2020 Concerning the Employment Stability in Establishments of the Private Sector During the Application of Precautionary Measures to Control Novel Coronavirus Outbreak (the ‘Ministerial Resolution No. 279 of 2020) are applicable.
It should be noted that due to the pandemic, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) issued the Ministerial Resolution No. 279 of 2020 on March 26, 2020, and the provisions of the same are still applicable. The MOHRE allows the employer to adopt remote working system during the pandemic.
This is in accordance with Article 2(1) of the Ministerial Resolution No. 279 of 2020, which states: “Establishments affected by the precautionary measures referred to above, who wish to reorganise its employment relations, shall take the following measures gradually, and in agreement with the non-national employee, as per the following:
1. Apply a remote working system."
Based on the aforementioned provision of law, if your work does not necessarily require your presence in the office, you may request your employer to grant you permission to work from home, keeping in mind that your elderly parents are residing with you. However, if your employer needs you to work from the office premises based on their requirements, then you may have to do so.
Employers in Dubai may ask all its employees to work from office as the Emirate has allowed all offices to work at 100 per cent capacity. If your employer insists that you work from office, it is important for staff to follow the Covid-19 safety precautions such as wearing a mask, keeping a safe distance between each other and washing or sanitising hands regularly. Your employer also needs to sanitise the office premises regularly.
Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom and India. Full details of his firm on: www.amalawyers.com. Readers may e-mail their questions to: email@example.com or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.
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