Coronavirus: Dubai’s DIFC to allow employers to reduce hours, pay without consent

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The Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) has announced that employers will now be able to impose reduced working hours and pay without employee consent until the end of July as a measure to combat the economic fallout of the coronavirus.

Employers will also be able to restrict workplace access, mandate remote working, and impose paid or unpaid leave, according to a release from the Government of Dubai’s Media Office.

“The primary motivation of the Directive is to make it easier for DIFC employers to impose temporary changes to their employees’ terms of employment, which in turn will reduce the likelihood of employers having to resort to terminate employment of their staff,” the statement read.

The new measures will only last between April 21, 2020, and July 31, 2020. Any permanent changes will require employee consent.

All end of service benefits will continue to be calculated on the basic salary as of February 29, 2020, ensuring subsequent reductions in pay will not affect any remuneration.

“The severity of the COVID-19 situation on businesses cannot be understated and we have a clear responsibility to do everything possible to mitigate its impact … We intend to provide companies and their employees with certainty and flexibility in a practical way that will help see them through this challenging crisis,” said Essa Kazim, Governor of DIFC.

The UAE has instituted numerous policies to help businesses survive the economic fallout of the coronavirus. Lockdown measures have caused a broad slowdown in business as many remain shuttered to prevent the spread of the virus.

The country has reported 9,813 infections of coronavirus, with 71 deaths. Nearly 1,900 people have recovered so far.

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