December 2021 / United Arab Emirates

7 Dicembre 2021

The UAE Government is to adopt a new working week, effective from 1st January 2022

The UAE Government has announced that it will transition to a four and a half day working week, with Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday forming the new weekend.

All Federal government departments will move to the new weekend from January 1, 2022, but also majority of the UAE private sector companies plan to shift to the new Monday-Friday working week in response.

Alongside the move, Friday sermons and prayers across the Emirates will be held from 1.15pm. Government staff will have the flexibility to make arrangements to work from home on Fridays, as well as to arrange their working hours on a flexi-time basis.

Adopting an agile working system will enable the UAE to rapidly respond to emerging changes and enhance wellbeing in the workplace. From an economic perspective, the new working week will better align the Emirates with global markets, reflecting the country’s strategic status on the global economic map. It will ensure smooth financial, trade and economic transactions with countries that follow a Saturday/Sunday weekend, facilitating stronger international business links and opportunities for thousands of UAE-based and multinational companies.

5 Dicembre 2021

UAE President Issues Federal Decree Law On Regulation Of Labour Relations In Private Sector

President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has issued the Federal Decree - Law No.33 of 2021 on the regulation of labour relations in the private sector that will take effect from February 2, 2022.

The new decree-law seeks to enhance the elasticity, resilience and sustainability of the labour market nationwide, as well as ensure protection of workers' rights. It places worker welfare and wellbeing at its core, and accordingly, a host of measures have been provided therein to ensure a safe, healthy, and business-conducive environment for all employees in the private sector.

Dr. Abdulrahman Al Awar, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, said in a media briefing that the new decree law is the biggest update to the laws regulating labour relations. He added that it comes as part of the UAE Government’s efforts to create a flexible and competitive business environment at a time the nation is about to embark on its journey towards the next 50 years.

"The law comes in response to the rapidly-changing workplace amid technological advancements and the outbreak of Covid-19. It will apply to different work categories including full-time, part-time, temporary and flexy work among other categories. The executive regulations of the law, which the ministry is currently working on, lays out the responsibilities of both parties in each category," he said."

The minister added that the preparation of the new law has been carried out in consultation with all parties concerned in the federal and local government sectors and the private sector.

Al Awar elaborated that the new law seeks to ensure efficiency in the labour market and also attracts and retain the best talent and skills for employment, in tandem with providing a stimulating and conducive work environment for employees.

The law supports the efforts to enhance the competitiveness of Emirati cadres in the labour market, as well as empower women, the minister added.

"It enhances the flexibility and sustainability of the labour market nationwide, by guaranteeing the protection of the work relationship, its developments and the exceptional circumstances it may face."

Al Awar added that the new law has developed an advanced mechanism that will ultimately enhance ease-of-doing business, competitiveness and productivity of the labour market.

The minister noted that the decree-law guarantees the rights of both the employer and the employee in a balanced manner and ensures protection for both the parties so that they can claim these rights as and when necessary.

He pointed out that the new law ensures the wellbeing of workers in the private sector and emphasizes on international labour obligations agreed upon by the UAE.

The minister explained that the executive regulations are currently being prepared to regulate implementation of the provisions of the decree-law, noting that the decree gives flexibility to the Cabinet by granting it a set of competencies aligned with current and future developments.

He added that the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation will work on proposing policies, strategies and legislations to encourage and motivate enterprises to invest in training and empower workers; boost their skills, efficiency and productivity; adopt modern technologies; and attract the best talent according to the requirements of the labour market in the country; as well as train students of public and higher-education institutions endorsed by the state.

The new law aims to enhance the flexibility and sustainability of the labour market in the country, as well as guarantee protection of workers, the minister stressed.

In Article 74, the decree-law stipulates that the employer may not use any means that would force the worker or threaten him/her with any penalty or force him/her to work for the employer or force him/her to provide a service against his/her will.

The law forbids sexual harassment, bullying or any form of verbal, physical or psychological violence against a worker by the employer, his/her superiors at work or colleagues.

It prohibits all forms of discriminations based on race, colour, sex, religion, national or social origin or disability that would scale down the possibilities of equal opportunity, prejudice equal access to or continuation of employment and enjoyment of rights.

The amendments stressed that while not violating the prescribed rights of working women stipulated in this decree, all provisions governing the employment of workers without discrimination shall apply to women, with an emphasis on granting women the same wage as men if they are doing the same work or work of equal value, which will be determined by a Cabinet decision.

Among the key amendments provided by the decree law is the introduction of new types of work to allow employers to meet their labour requirements and benefit from their energies and productivity at the lowest operational cost through part-time work, temporary work and flexy work, as well as allow employers to hire those whose work contracts have expired, but who are still in the country, through easy and flexible procedures.

Part-time work allows work for an employer for a specified number of hours or days. Temporary work is work whose implementation requires a specified period of time or is focused on work that ends with completion of a specified job. Flexible work is work for which working hours or work days change according to the volume of work and economic and operating variables of the employer.

The executive regulations of the law determine the conditions and control of work patterns and the obligations arising from each worker and employer, depending upon the type of employment, including what is related to end-of-service gratuity and as required by the interest of the two parties to the work contract.

The law grants companies the flexibility to pay wages in UAE dirhams or in any other currency, according to the agreement between the two parties in the work contract.

The decree-law also permits the employer to prohibit the worker from competing with the employer or participate in any competing project in the same business, should the work entrusted to the worker permit him/her to know the employer’s clients or access his or her trade secrets, provided that the condition is specified in terms of time, place and type of work to the extent necessary to protect legitimate business interests and the period of non-competition shall not exceed two years from the date of contract expiry.

The decree-law specifies a fixed-term contract as one that doesn't exceed three years, and it is permissible, upon agreement by the two parties, to extend or renew this contract for a similar or lesser duration once or more.

The provisions of the decree-law shall apply to employment contracts of indefinite durations concluded in accordance with the Federal Law No (8) of 1980.

The law also stipulates that unlimited employment contracts are to be converted into fixed-term employment contracts, in accordance with the conditions, controls and procedures envisaged in this decree by law, within one year of the effective date of the existing contract and may be extended by the Cabinet for further periods as required in public interest.

All private sector workers are entitled to a paid, weekly rest day, with the possibility of increasing the weekly rest day at the discretion of the employer, in addition to providing vacations for the workers, including compassionate leave ranging from three to five days, according to the degree of the employee’s relationship with the deceased. In addition, paternity leave of five days shall be granted to private sector workers. Any other leave shall be decided by Cabinet.

The law also assigns the employer the responsibility to pay for the fees and costs of recruitment and not to collect the same from the worker either directly or indirectly.

The law stipulates the prohibition of withholding of official documents, such as passports, belonging to the workers and forcing him or her to leave the country at the end of an employment contract. This has been done to allow the worker to move to another establishment in the labour market. The worker shall also have the right to obtain his or her wages on the due date in accordance with the regulations approved by the ministry and according to the conditions and procedures as specified by the Executive Regulations of this decree-law.

The decree-law permits the worker, in the event of expiration of the work contract, to move to another employer. A probationary period for the worker may not exceed six months, in accordance with the law's executive regulations The amendments include a provision, according to which, a worker is entitled to an end-of-service gratuity, in accordance with the legislation regulating pensions and social security in the country.

As per the law, a foreign worker who has worked full-time and who has completed one year or more of continuous service with an establishment, shall be paid end-of-service benefits calculated according to the basic wage, with a wage of 21 days for each of the first five years of service and 30 days for each subsequent year.

The decree-law waives judicial fees in all stages of litigation in all stages of litigation, execution and requests made by workers or their heirs, the value of which does not exceed AED100,000.

It regulates the obligations of the employer, the most prominent of which is the establishment of labour regulations, the obligation to provide adequate accommodation, protection and prevention, as well as train workers and help them develop their skills.

In the meantime, the law regulates the workers’ obligations based on the terms of the employment contract and in accordance with duties, notably performing work during the specified times; abiding by work ethics and good conduct; keeping work secrets; developing job skills; committing not to work for another competing employer; vacating the labour accommodation within one month of expiry of employment contract and other obligations.

The decree-law regulates the controls and conditions for terminating work contracts in a way that guarantees the rights of both parties. The amendments also strengthen the controls for the employment of juveniles, as well as with regards to the entitlements of the deceased worker, the requirements for occupational safety and other controls that guarantee the rights of both parties in a balanced manner.

Source: MOHRE

13 Dicembre 2011

UAE ranks first regionally,11th globally in Global Knowledge Index

Under the patronage of H.H. Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation (MBRF) today unveiled the Global Knowledge Index leaders for 2021, in its fifth edition in a row, which aims to measure knowledge globally as a comprehensive closely connected with sustainable development and with different dimensions of modern human life.

In this year’s edition, the knowledge index included 155 variables, selected by more than 40 international sources and databases.

The results of global knowledge index for the year 2021 unveiled that Switzerland came in the first place globally for the fifth year in a row, followed by Sweden, the US, Finland and the Netherlands. While the UAE was ranked 11th globally and first in the Arab World at GKI 2021.

Switzerland has retained its top ranking for the fifth consecutive time this year.

"The world is not completely out of the grip of COVID-19, but without doubt what stands out as we negotiated these trying times, is the relentless quest for knowledge that led us to develop vaccines as well as remedial and precautionary measures against the virus. Obviously, this continuing focus on knowledge and its triumph is what has led us to bring back careful normalcy in our daily life, and what has enabled this face-to-face meeting today," said Jamal bin Huwaireb, CEO, MBRF.

He said this year there has seen an extended participation in GKI endeavor, globally as well regionally, signifying the increased commitment towards reinforcing knowledge as a key driver for economic and social growth. The Arabic countries which debuted this year included Iraq and Palestine, joining the portfolio of 16 regional countries in the index.

Globally, the country level participation at GKI 2021 was at 154, compared to 138 last year.

Oher countries in the GKI global leader list up to the 100th position included Qatar at the 38th place, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at 40, Kuwait (48), Oman (52), Egypt (53), Bahrain (55), Tunisia (83) and Lebanon (92). Morocco was at 101 globally, followed by Jordan (103), Algeria (111), Iraq (137), Sudan (145), Mauritania (147) and Yemen (150).

"When the word stands at these challenging cross roads, the increased global participation at GKI is a robust indicator of how knowledge is the single most factor that will help world nations prosper and lead in front for the benefit of posterity with sustainable focus. In this context, the GKI series has developed into an accepted and prudent benchmark in assessing knowledge-based societies and their growth," said Dena Assaf of the UN.

"It is encouraging to see that in certain key branch indexes that drive knowledge, innovation and education, Arab countries have been faring well and is firmly on the road to progress. Significantly, it shows the positive impact of the awareness that the new world is largely shaped and led by countries that have an edge in knowledge," said Khaled Abdel-Shafi, Regional Hub Manager, UNDP Regional Bureau for Arab States (RBAS).

The launch ceremony was also immediately followed by a ministerial panel on `Rethinking Policymaking in the Age of Knowledge,’ with the participation of Hussain Al Hammadi - Minister of Education, Dr. Tarek Shawki - Minister of Education, Egypt, Ahmed Hanandeh, Minister of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship, Jordan, Dr. Fadia Kiwan - Director General, Arab Women Organization, and moderated by Dr. Hany Torky - Manager, Knowledge Project, UNDP RBAS.

The average global performance rate at GKI 2021 stood at 48.4 per cent, while for the seven branch indexes of the index, the best performance was for pre-university education at 60.8 per cent, followed by enabling environment (55.3), economy (52.9), technical learning and professional training (51.2), higher education (46.1), ICT (43.3) and research and development and innovation (31.4).

GKI is produced annually since 2017 by the Knowledge Project, a partnership between UNDP-RBAS and MBRF. The index includes 155 variables, selected from over 40 sources and international data bases including the UNESCO, World Bank, ITU, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), International Labour Organisation (ILO) etc.

"Over the years the Knowledge Project and GKI have been able to facilitate a strategic and forward looking policy push among countries and decision makers to give more weightage to knowledge-centric development. This shift in developmental vision is imperative in times when sustainability has also become a core issue that needs to be addressed with alacrity, and the institution of GKI has added immense value to this context," said Dr. Hany Torky, Manager, Knowledge Project, UNDP RBAS.

  Source: WAM
11 Dicembre 2021

Tourism growth in Dubai gathers pace with 4.88 million visitors between January – October 2021

- Dubai reinforces its status as one of the world’s safest and fastest growing tourism destinations - Department of Economy and Tourism shares positive industry results at second bi-annual City Briefing event held at Ain Dubai attended by over 1,150 stakeholders and partners - International visitation in Dubai in October alone reaches over one million - 9.4 million room nights sold between January - October 2021 in comparison to 7 million room nights in the same period in 2019 - Expo 2020 raises Dubai’s profile as best city to live, work and visit Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) revealed that the emirate welcomed 4.88 million visitors between January - October 2021 with international visitation during October alone reaching over one million. Reflecting the rising growth momentum and stability of the industry, strong international visitation was complemented by a robust domestic tourism market, further boosting the hospitality sector resulting in 9.4 million room nights sold between January - October 2021 in comparison to 7 million room nights sold in the same period in 2019. The latest tourism figures were released at the second bi-annual City Briefing of 2021 held by the Department of Economy and Tourism to provide stakeholders with key updates on the tourism sector’s positive growth and insights into current and future strategies and global marketing campaigns. As Dubai continues to lead the global tourism rebound and stimulate international business growth, the forum featured a detailed presentation on domestic and global developments, including an overview of increasing visitor numbers, hotel occupancy, and activities in international markets, which have all reinforced Dubai’s profile as a safe, must-visit destination and the world’s best city to live, work and visit. The meeting was presided by His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General, Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism, and was attended by over 1,150 representatives from leading establishments in the hospitality, travel, and tourism sectors. The forum was part of DET’s regular dialogue with business leaders to encourage collaboration and exchange insights to ensure the industry is seamlessly aligned with tourism growth initiatives and strategies. Held at Ain Dubai, the forum discussed ways to further accelerate growth in the industry, leveraging the latest landmark attractions to open in Dubai. HE Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General, Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism, commented: “Inspired by the visionary leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE, and Ruler of Dubai and strengthened by the success of Expo 2020 Dubai and the UAE’s Golden Jubilee celebrations, Dubai has been at the vanguard of the world’s tourism and economic rebound, setting the tone for sustained recovery and growth. “Our multi-pronged strategy to combat the pandemic and deployment of wide-ranging initiatives to increase our global competitiveness and attractiveness is a hallmark of Dubai’s highly progressive public-private partnership model, which has been a cornerstone of not only what was achieved in 2021 but what will be achieved in the next critical 12 to 24-month period. Expo 2020 also provides us a unique platform to engage with the global community as all hotels and tourism partners work closely to facilitate visits for their guests to maximise this opportunity. “Through this highly energised and cohesive tourism and economic ecosystem, I am confident that Dubai will deliver on its vision of being the world’s leading global centre for investment, business, talent, visitation and next-generation thinking.” Dubai’s strong reputation for safe travel internationally has resulted in both domestic and international tourism growth, as seen by the improved hotel performance. In a year-to-date study in October 2021, occupancy was at almost 64%, while the length of stay showed a 12% increase from 4.1 nights to 4.6 nights. During this period, there were 24.74 million occupied rooms nights across the emirate at an average daily rate of AED384, in comparison to 15.66 million occupied room nights at an average daily rate of AED335. Room inventory is now 6% higher than 2019. Taking a closer look at the profile of international visitors, research showed that in the first half of 2021, Dubai visitors were balanced across genders with 52% male visitors and 48% female visitors. During this time, the emirate also attracted a higher first-time visitor’s volume, reflecting the attractiveness of the city despite the pandemic, when compared to the first half of the previous year. Issam Kazim, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing commented: “At Dubai’s Department for Economy and Tourism, we are proud to be part of the success Dubai has achieved so far in 2021, which has been built on the vision and leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Over the last five decades Dubai has transformed into a global tourism and business hub and through the effective citywide management of the pandemic, the city has strengthened its position as one of the safest destinations in the world. Dubai’s ability to evolve and adapt, with the support of our stakeholders and partners, has been critical in ensuring that the city continues to retain its position at the forefront of the world’s leading travel and business destinations. With our world-class infrastructure, one of the highest vaccination rates in the world and flexible working visas, Dubai is becoming the preferred business hub for conglomerates and start-ups alike. As part of our strategy, we have consistently used innovative global campaigns to further highlight the city’s multi-faceted touristic appeal and reach our overseas markets, with the latest being Dubai Presents. This synergetic approach to showcasing Dubai’s diverse offering involves the enlistment of celebrities, influencers and community personalities to create a steady stream of ambassadors and advocates to narrate Dubai’s story across gastronomy, retail, tourism, leisure and events to showcase it as the best city to live, visit and work in.” To ensure that Dubai was top-of-mind and seen as the destination of choice for 2021, DET launched an integrated global marketing campaign via ‘Dubai Presents’ that broadcast over 3,500 assets across 25 languages and specifically targeted audiences that were seeking international travel, had engaged with previous campaigns or were searching for Dubai on digital channels. By creating Hollywood inspired trailers with A-list actors Jessica Alba and Zac Efron, DET simultaneously highlighted the emirates’ multiplicity of offerings and reinstated its profile as ‘the happening city’. Dubai’s ability to evolve and adapt, combined with its diversified multi-geographic approach to markets, was key in ensuring that Dubai retained its relevance and competitiveness as a global destination and creative hub. In the last year, the emirate built momentum in business tourism as Dubai gave more flexibility and options for talent to visit and stay by introducing new categories and programmes, which included the Golden Visa, the Property Investor Visa, the Entrepreneur Visa, the Retire in Dubai Visa and the Virtual Working Visa. The focus for DET for the upcoming year is to continue to drive growth across all sectors. Initiatives will be introduced to further catalyse Expo 2020 visitor numbers, strengthen relationships with the travel trade and explore new channels to source visitors. By highlighting Dubai’s versatility, DET plans to demonstrate its position as a thriving global hub for business and tourism, gastronomy, sustainability, weddings, retail and events.

Source: Media Office

28 Dicembre 2021

Sharjah Ruler approves AED 34.422 billion budget for 2022

H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, has approved AED34.4 billion for the 2022 general budget for the Emirate of Sharjah. This is in line with the emirate’s strategic vision regarding promoting economic and social development, enhancing financial sustainability, and stimulating the overall economy.

The general budget contributes to both services and development and is based on the process of strengthening the emirate’s financial pillars to advance economic, cultural, scientific and tourism leadership and enhance capabilities to meet various economic challenges. The budget has adopted various strategic goals and indicators, including promoting investment in infrastructure and other economic activities to achieve a competitive advantage, and providing various forms of social support to address the needs of citizens.

The budget aims to use the best means to stimulate the economy, encourage development, and ensure financial sustainability, as well as to support the growing interest in human resources and to enhance the role of citizens.

H.H. Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, said, “The Sharjah government’s budget for the year 2022 follows the directives and comes with the blessing of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, to complete the emirate’s march in achieving the highest levels of excellence, success and sustainable development in all sectors and fields. It is set to help the emirate continue to build on what has already been achieved, according to His Highness’s insightful vision.”

He added, “The new year’s budget, which exceeds AED34 billion, and which has increased in quantity and quality over the previous year, calls on each of us to take responsibility and to contribute to the advancement of Sharjah in a fitting manner to ensure a better future for all. Under the wise leadership of H.H. the Ruler of Sharjah, who offers his limitless support and of H.H. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah and Chairman of the Executive Council, it is our duty to develop all areas and services and to implement projects according to the best standards to maintain social cohesion and achieve prosperity for all.”

Sheikh Mohammed bin Saud Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Central Finance Department in Sharjah, indicated that the emirate’s new general budget adopts many strategic and financial goals and priorities, which reflects the directives and vision of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, as well as that of the Executive Council. It also supports the strategic vision of the Central Finance Department, which works to achieve higher levels of financial sustainability, to efficiently manage government resources, to support government agencies in terms of service provision, to strengthen strategic partnerships with the private sector, and to provide incentives that ensure the continued advancement, growth and development of the emirate.

His Excellency Waleed Al Sayegh, Director General of the Central Finance Department, stressed that while the world is witnessing instability because of the negative effects of the pandemic, Sharjah has created an ideal balance between development and services, resulting in the continued implementation of capital projects and initiatives. Both Khorfakkan and Kalba, as well as the rest of the emirate’s regions, witnessed an urban renaissance with social, tourist and cultural dimensions.


The Director General indicated that the general budget has increased by (2%) compared to the 2021 budget, and that the government will continue to support capital projects to ensure continuity in meeting the spending needs on these projects in 2022. The capital projects budget constitutes (30%) of the general budget.

Salaries and wages constitute (25%) of the budget, an increase of (4%), while operating expenses make up (25%) for the year 2022, an increase of (3%) compared to the budget of 2021. The budget for support and aid accounts for approximately (11%) of the general budget, (3%) more than in 2021, while the balance of loan repayments and interest constitute (7%) of the total, which is an increase of (18%). This will enhance the government’s solvency and ability to meet all its obligations.

In addition, to enable the government to achieve its strategic and operational goals and initiatives, the Department of Finance wants to enhance the government’s financial stability and sustainability by increasing the level of spending by (2%), thus improving government agencies’ ability to meet development requirements.

The process of classifying the budget according to economic sector is one of the most important tools reflecting the government’s strategic direction. The infrastructure sector ranked first with (44%) of the total general budget for 2022, which is an increase of (4%). This reflects the government’s interest in developing the emirate’s infrastructure, which is the backbone of the development and sustainability process, and which attracts foreign and local investments across all vital sectors.

The economic development sector ranked second with an allocation of (27%) of the total general budget for 2022, followed by the social development sector, with (21%). The increase of (3%) will help provide the best services, support and assistance to citizens and residents in the emirate. The government administration, security and safety sector constitutes (8%) of the total general budget for 2022, an increase of (8%) compared to 2021.


With government revenues being the main source of financing for the general budget, the government has paid special attention to the development of these revenues, particularly in terms of improving collection efficiency and developing smart tools and methods to assist in this regard.

Government revenues is expected to see an increase of (49%) for the year 2022, compared to the general revenue budget for the year 2021, with operating revenues constituting (53%) of the total revenue budget for the year 2022, an increase of (8%) compared to the operating revenues for 2021. Capital revenues is expected to represent (35%) for the year 2022, showing a significant increase over 2021. Tax revenues will represent approximately (6%), an increase of roughly (20%) compared to last year, while customs revenues will constitute (3%). Oil and gas revenues are expected to be around (3%), a noticeable increase compared to oil and gas revenues for 2021.

Source: WAM