Monday, August 15, 2016

Mandatory benefits to employees in Jebel Ali Free Zone

Employees working in firms operating under the jurisdiction of the Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (Jafza) are entitled to mandatory termination benefits as per the laws of the free zone. If the dismissal is deemed to be arbitrary, the employee shall be entitled to compensation in addition to severance payments due that are governed by the employment contracts in Jafza.

Compensation you are entitled to: According to Rule 11.8.7 of Jafza employment law, the amount of compensation that will be payable to a terminated employee shall be decided by the deemed authority here and will not exceed three times the total of the basic monthly wage and allowances as specified in the employment agreement.

Gratuity payment at termination: An employee whose service exceeds one year shall be entitled to a gratuity payment on termination of service at the rate of 21 calendar days pay of the last month’s basic salary (or more if the employment agreement so specifies) for each year of service for the first 5 years.

For each additional year, the amount increases to 30 calendar days of the last month’s basic salary, provided that the maximum payment does not exceed two years’ basic salary.

After the first year, payment will be pro-rata for the period served. The regulation clarifies that gratuity shall be calculated at the basic pay rate as defined in the employment agreement.

Airfare to home country: When an employee’s services are terminated, airfare to the international airport nearest to the employee's home should be offered. This is applicable at the expiry of the employment agreement or when the employment agreement is terminated by the client prior to its expiry.

If an employee’s annual contract is automatically renewed in accordance with the employment agreement, the employee is entitled to airfare either in the event of submitting a resignation or on dismissal, whenever this occurs.

However, if the employee has already availed the ticket for the completed contract period, s/he will not be entitled to an additional airfare for the same period.

A free service certificate :If the terminated employee wishes for some kind of record, he can request a service certificate, which is to be provided free of charge. The certificate will have details of the employee such as period of service, work performed while employed, final rate of pay and bonus, if any, and a character reference. These things can come in handy while applying for a new job elsewhere.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

UAE Finance Ministry expects approval of federal debt law this year

Younis Al Khouri, the undersecretary at the Ministry of Finance, speaks during a news conference announcing the release of the statistical report on the Gulf Common Market at the Ministry of Finance in Abu Dhabi on August 2, 2016. Christopher Pike / The National
The UAE finance ministry expects this year the approval of a federal debt law that will allow the government to sell bonds on a federal level, a ministry official said.

The ministry has been working on the federal debt law for years. Currently, individual emirates, mainly Abu Dhabi and Dubai, have tapped the international bond markets.

"We have one clause outstanding, which is the debt ceiling and the servicing of the debt," said Younis Al Khouri, the undersecretary at the Ministry of Finance. "Once we agree with the central bank then we will go to the council of ministers for approval and after that is the FNC (Federal National Council) approval.

The UAE could raise between Dh80 billion and Dh100bn via a bond sale, Mr Al Khouri said in February.

Debt issuance in the UAE is expected to accelerate as the country seeks to finance a fiscal deficit, which reached 2.1 per cent of GDP last year, according to IMF estimates.

In April, Abu Dhabi raised US$5bn from the international debt markets, its first bond sale since 2009.

The IMF has called on the UAE to tap the bond markets and the assets of its sovereign wealth funds rather than draw down its local bank deposits to balance its budget.

The IMF is forecasting that the UAE’s cumulative fiscal deficit will reach $18.4bn between this year and 2021 as low oil prices reduce government income.

As a result of expected higher debt issuance, the country’s gross public debt to GDP ratio is forecast to rise to 17 per cent next year from 16.6 per cent at the end of last year, the fund said. The debt-to-GDP ratio averaged 18.5 per cent between 2005 and 2013.

Friday, July 22, 2016

U.A.E amended Federal Law to control Cyber Crimes

Sheikh Khalifa issued Federal Law No. 12/2016 amending Federal Law No. 5/2012 on combating information technology crimes.

Article 1 provides for replacing the text of Article 9 of Federal Law No. 9/2012 as follows:

Whoever uses a fraudulent computer network protocol address (IP address) by using a false address or a third-party address by any other means for the purpose of committing a crime or preventing its discovery, shall be punished by temporary imprisonment and a fine of no less than Dh500,000 and not exceeding Dh2,000,000, or either of these two penalties.

Article 2 of the law states that the law shall be published in the Official ‘Gazette’ and shall come into effect the day following publication.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Federal Law No. 10/2016 amends some of the provisions of Federal Law No. 45/1992 on regulating the work of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The first article of the law, published in the latest issue of the Official ‘Gazette’, changes the text of Clause 10 of Article 2 of Federal Law No. 45/1992 and replaces it with the following text:

Issuance and renewal of diplomatic and special passports for nationals of the state as well as service passports. Specifying the eligible groups (of people) and rules for issuing these passports as an exception from the provisions of Federal Law No. 17/1972 on naturalisation and passports and amendments. A diplomatic or special passport is given to groups of people, who are not specified in the previous clause, excluding their families, and by virtue of a decision made by the President or the Vice-President of the State, based on a proposal from the Foreign Minister.

Article 2 states that each and any provision that contradicts the provisions of this law shall be abolished.

Article 3 provides for the publication of this law in the Official Gazette and that it will come into effect the day after publication.

National Media Council 

Sheikh Khalifa also issued Federal Law No. 11/ 2016 regulating the competencies of the National Media Council. 

According to the law, the National Media Council is the federal government body established to oversee and undertake the media affairs of the United Arab Emirates. It has corporate character, an independent budget and the legal capacity required to undertake all activities to ensure achievement of its goals. It is a government body affiliated with the Cabinet and shall have its seat in Abu Dhabi City. The Council may set up branches and offices inside and outside the UAE.

Article 4 of the law states the objectives of the NMC and accordingly it shall develop the UAE's media policy, draft media legislation and ensure its execution and co-ordinate the media policy between the emirates, in line with the UAE's domestic and foreign policy to ensure support for the Federation of the UAE and project national unity.

Article 5 states the NMC's scope of jurisdiction which includes the following:

Developing and executing the required policies and plans to develop the media sector; proposing bills and regulations relating to the work of the Council in coordination with the relevant authorities in the country; proposing regulations, standards and foundations required for licensing and accrediting media outlets and their staff and activities, including e-publishing; issuing rules and regulations that ensure the achievement of the Council's goals in line with the controls it specifies; coordinating with the authorities of media free zones on developing an organisational framework to regulate the Council's relationship with these zones; representing the UAE at media meetings, events and activities in and outside the UAE; undertaking any other relevant responsibilities specified by the Cabinet's regulations and resolutions.

Article 6 states that a Board of Directors, formed by virtue of a decision issued by the Cabinet, shall run the Council.

Article 7 states that the Board of Directors is the supreme authority of the Council and shall accordingly exercise all its powers and the required authority. It may develop the Council's general policy, propose amendments to the required plans and follow up the plans for their execution, propose draft regulations pertaining to the work and competencies of the Council as well as to the achievement of its objectives and submitting the same to the Cabinet for approval as well as the preparing of a draft organisational structure for the Council, specifying the responsibilities and competencies and departments of the Council, and submit the same to the Cabinet for approval, propose a draft annual budget for the Council and a draft annual closing account in addition to any other competencies delegated to the Board by the laws, regulations and resolutions issued by the Cabinet. The Board may also delegate some of its competencies to its Chairman.

According to the law, the Chairman of the National Media Council is responsible for overseeing the management of the Council for all aspects in line with the provisions of the Council's effective regulations. The Council shall have a director general, to be appointed by virtue of a federal law based on a proposal from the Chairman, who will be the legal representative of the Council. The Board of Directors shall issue a decision specifying the Chairman's competencies and jurisdiction.

Article 10, a clause about the standards and regulations issued by the Council, states that media organisations in the state must comply with the regulations and rules issued by the Council, as well as commit themselves to provide information and data required by the Council to achieve its objectives.

Article 11 states that the fiscal year of the Council shall start on the 1st of January and ends on the 31st of December every year.

According to the law, regulations and decisions which are effective in the National Media Council shall remain enforced at the time of issuance of the law without conflict with its provisions.

The law shall be published in the Official ‘Gazette’ and will come into effect the day following publication.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Low-income workers get free housing in U.A.E

 Free housing must be provided to workers who earn less than Dh2,000 a month from December on-wards, the UAE Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation announced 18th July  2016

Companies across the nation with more than 50 workers must comply with the ruling, which was issued by Saqr Ghobash, UAE Minister for Human Resources and Emiratisation. He warned that regular inspections visits would be undertaken by the ministry to ensure compliance, and that legal action will be pursued against firms that fail to adhere to the regulation.

“Experts spent several months studying the living conditions of low-skill workers. The decision comes after these recent studies into the labour market,” said Ghobash.

Accommodation for workers in companies employing more than 500 people has been regulated by the ministry since 2014. The applicable standards cover details such as the location of the accommodation, the provision of hygiene and medical facilities, and the availability of safety equipment and protocol.

Low-income workers welcomed the new decree, saying that paying rent is often a massive drain on meagre incomes.

Shajal, who earns about Dh1,000 and sends Dh700 of it home to support his family, said secure accommodation is a boon.

B.K., an Indian painter, also lives in a dedicated labour accommodation facility in Abu Dhabi’s Musaffah area.

“I am thankful for this accommodation as it is very difficult to find a room, especially because of the high rents. For example, sharing a room can set you back about Dh500, which is half my monthly income,” he explained.

Raj Praveen, a division manager at National Trading and Pharmaceutical Establishment, a trading company, said that many of the firm’s 2,000 workers live in accommodation located in Dubai’s Sonapur area.

“These workers earn very little, and having to pay rent makes things even more difficult for them. This ministry decree will therefore provide much relief,” he said.

“We provide both food and accommodation for our low-skill workers, and we believe that it improves their productivity and morale,” Rajpraveen added.

As reported by Gulf News, the minister had announced in January that companies which fail to provide labour accommodation short of international standards and requirements will not be granted new work permits.

“We want to ensure that labourers are not cheated of their rights, and that their living conditions are comfortable, sanitary and humane,” he had said.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Bounced cheque can lead to freeze tenant's account in Dubai

The Rental Disputes Centre (RDC), the judicial arm of the Dubai Land Department (DLD), and the UAE Central Bank have signed an agreement that allows for freezing of the bank account of a tenant if his/her rent cheque bounce.“After the judgment is passed by the RDC, it will be informed to the Central Bank, which will pass the information to the banks. It could also lead to blocking of tenant’s bank account,” a DLD spokesperson said.

“This process will now take two days instead of 60,” the spokesperson added.

In a statement, the DLD said the aim of the MoU, signed by RDC Director Abdulqader Musa Mohammed and UAE Central Bank’s Assistant Governor for Banking Supervision, Saeed Abdullah Al Hamiz, was to create an electronic framework of cooperation to facilitate the implementation of decisions and judgments.

The proposals will speed up procedures and reduce transaction time from six months to two working days following the transition from paper-based to electronic systems. Both parties agreed to establish a platform utilising the UAE Central Bank’s existing Customer Information Request (CIR) system.

As per the agreement, the Central Bank will direct queries submitted by the RDC to enable the efficient execution of judicial committee decisions and judgments. These verdicts will be directly implemented by the banks, which will also provide immediate responses to enquiries.

RDC’s Mohammed said: “This move is consistent with our ongoing efforts to improve upon existing frameworks of cooperation with official bodies, with the aim of improving government procedures and promoting cooperation between all institutions.

“It is expected that this MoU will pave the way towards promoting transparency for all property transactions and procedures, benefiting all parties and guaranteeing the protection of their rights.”

The number of RDC judgments to be implemented for 2016 stands at 2,630, all of which will all now be rapidly implemented by the effective system set in motion as an outcome of this MoU, he added.

UAE Central Bank’s Al Hamiz emphasised the vital role that the RDC plays in supporting the stability of the national markets and in upholding transparency, providing greater peace of mind and ensuring a higher level of security for all parties involved in property contracts.

“The CIR system at the Central Bank has safeguarded stability across many of Dubai’s industry sectors and we are certain that this will also be the case for our cooperation with the RDC and DLD. Our plan will help the emirate’s real estate sector by maintaining the rights of all parties, ensuring justice through the fair and efficient application of the provisions of UAE law,” he said.