The Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) has enacted a new employment law, providing around 24,000 financial services employees with access to five days of statutory paternity leave.
The DIFC is a financial ecosystem consisting of professionals employed across more than 2,000 organisations. Considered the leading financial hub for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, it has an independent regulator and its own judicial system, which uses an English common law framework.
On 30 May 2019, Shiekh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), enacted Law No. 2 of 2019 to demonstrate the region’s commitment to international best practice around employment issues. It aims to balance the needs of both employers and employees within the DIFC, while at the same time maintaining a robust framework of employment standards.
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The law, which will come into effect on 28 August 2019, will introduce five days of statutory paternity leave for employees, as well as penalties for discrimination. New penalties have also been implemented to ensure adherence to basic employment conditions, such as visa and residency sponsorship.
Employer-focused provisions expand on employee duties, reduce statutory sick pay amounts and limit the application of mandatory late penalty payments for end-of-service settlements. The new law also recognises settlement agreements between employers and employees.
The policy takes into account research and global benchmarking, as well as the results of a public consultation.
Essa Kazim, governor of the DIFC, said: “The DIFC employment law enhancements are integral to creating an attractive environment for the almost 24,000-strong workforce based in the DIFC to thrive, while protecting and balancing the interests of both employers and employees.”