Adaptability in UAE workplaces

Published 7 months ago on 6 May 2023
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In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing business landscape, adaptability is a crucial trait to possess. This holds true for United Arab Emirates (UAE) workplaces, where companies operate in a multi-cultural environment and face challenges unique to the region. The ability to adapt to changing circumstances, technologies and methods of operation is a key factor in the success and growth of organizations in the UAE. This blog discusses the importance of adaptability in UAE workplaces, the challenges of cultural diversity and how companies can foster a culture of adaptability to thrive in this dynamic market.

New labour laws in UAE to introduce flexible working

New labour laws in UAE, effective from February 2, 2022, will introduce flexible working options for private sector employees. Under the amended labour laws, workers may now take on temporary work, work for multiple employers for a specified number of hours, and complete tasks on a project or hourly basis. Shared jobs and condensed working hours are also allowed. Employees under condensed hours agreements may work their 40 hours in three days, with the agreement of their employer. The shared job model permits two people to split one job and its pay. The updated laws aim to improve employee rights and make the UAE a more competitive work environment. Furthermore, workers are protected against harassment and discrimination. The changes also provide for paid leave entitlements, including traditional rest days, mourning, and paternity leave. [1][2]

Private sector employees to have options for temporary and freelance work

Starting February 2022, private sector employees in the UAE will have new options for temporary and flexible work arrangements. Under Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021, workers can now opt for freelance jobs, condensed working hours, or shared jobs. If contracted to work 40 hours a week, employees can now complete them in just three days under the condensed-hours model. These new arrangements can be agreed upon by both the employee and employer. The law does not apply to public sector employees or domestic workers. The move towards flexible work arrangements is seen as a way to adapt to the post-coronavirus workplace. The new rules will enable employees to fulfil work hours as needed, rather than committing to full-time positions. Along with the benefits to employees, the law also highlights and emphasises the protection of anyone in the workplace against discrimination and harassment, and more protection to employees against withholding of documents by employers. [3][4]

Condensed working hours and shared jobs now allowed in UAE

According to the new UAE labor laws that will come into force on February 2, 2022, workers in the private sector will be allowed to opt for condensed working hours and shared jobs. Under the condensed-hours model, an employee can work 40 hours a week in three working days as per their contract if both parties agree. In the shared-jobs model, two people can undertake the same job and split the pay with the employer’s prior approval. These new work models offer greater flexibility and adaptability to the workforce, enabling them to choose the working style that suits their needs. The new laws emphasize the importance of creating a competitive work environment and encouraging companies to invest in the training and empowerment of their employees. The UAE government aims to create an environment that attracts talents and competencies from all over the world while providing a stimulating and attractive working environment for employers. [5][6]

Protection against discrimination and harassment emphasized in new laws

The UAE’s new labor laws emphasize protection against discrimination and harassment in the workplace. The law prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, ethnic origin, or disability. Additionally, the new law expressly prohibits harassment, bullying, or any verbal, physical, or mental violence against employees. However, it remains to be seen how the protection against discrimination and harassment will be enforced in practice or what the remedy will be for victims of discriminatory or harassing conduct. These provisions highlight the importance of creating a safe and inclusive workplace culture that values diversity and inclusion. Employers should ensure that their policies and practices reflect these protections and take proactive steps to prevent discrimination and harassment, such as implementing anti-bias training and establishing clear reporting channels for employees who experience or witness inappropriate behavior. [7][8]

Introduction to new laws promoting adaptability in UAE workplaces

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has recently announced significant reforms to the country’s labor laws, with a focus on promoting adaptability in the workplace. The changes aim to provide greater flexibility and protections for employees while creating a stimulating working environment for employers. One of the key changes is the introduction of fixed-term employment contracts, which can last up to three years and be renewed for a similar or lesser duration. This provides both parties with more certainty and predictability in their employment relationship. The new laws also include provisions prohibiting discrimination and harassment in the workplace. This marks an essential step towards creating a workplace environment that values diversity and inclusion. Companies will need to train their employees on these new provisions to ensure compliance and foster a workplace culture that values and promotes adaptability. By implementing these changes, the UAE is positioning itself as a leading destination for businesses looking to create a flexible and dynamic workplace environment. [9][10]

Explanation of how adaptability can improve workplace culture

Adaptability can significantly improve workplace culture by promoting a more positive and inclusive environment. When employees are adaptable, they are better able to handle change and uncertainty, which can reduce stress and anxiety in the workplace. This, in turn, can lead to improved morale, greater job satisfaction, and higher levels of productivity. Adaptability also allows employees to work more effectively with others, as they are better able to adjust to the needs and preferences of their colleagues. This can create a more collaborative and supportive workplace culture, which can improve communication and strengthen relationships between team members. By prioritizing adaptability, employers can create a workplace culture that is more resilient, flexible, and able to respond to challenges effectively. Through training programs that promote diversity and inclusion, employers can help employees develop the skills they need to adapt to different situations and work more effectively with a wide range of people and teams. [11][12]

Discussion of how to promote adaptability in the workplace

Promoting adaptability in the workplace involves creating a culture that embraces change and fosters learning and growth. Employers can encourage adaptability by promoting a collaborative work environment where teamwork and open communication are valued. Providing training on workplace diversity and inclusion can also help employees understand and appreciate different perspectives, leading to increased flexibility and adaptability. Companies can also implement practices such as offering flexible work arrangements, supporting continued learning and development, and providing opportunities for employees to take on new challenges and responsibilities. Successful companies that have implemented adaptability policies include Google and Salesforce, which encourage their employees to innovate and explore new ideas. By promoting adaptability, companies can create a more resilient and dynamic workforce, capable of responding to changing circumstances and thriving in the face of uncertainty. [13][14]

The importance of training employees on workplace diversity and inclusion

It is crucial for companies to prioritize workplace diversity and inclusion by training their employees. According to a new report by the International Labour Organization, only half of respondents felt that diversity and inclusion were sufficiently identified and resourced in their workplace’s culture and strategy. Furthermore, only one-third of enterprises currently measure inclusion. By prioritizing diversity and inclusion in the workplace, companies can reap benefits like greater innovation, productivity, and workforce well-being. It is necessary to provide training for employees to understand how to create an inclusive workplace environment and recognize subtle forms of discrimination and unconscious biases. In addition, it is important to foster a sense of belonging among employees as it promotes employee engagement and job satisfaction. By prioritizing diversity and inclusion, companies can create an adaptive workplace that can withstand changes and challenges in the long term. [15][16]

Examples of companies that have successfully implemented adaptability policies and practices

Several companies in the UAE have successfully implemented adaptability policies and practices that align with the newly introduced labor laws. For instance, Emirates Group has been implementing flexible working arrangements for several years now to promote work-life balance among its employees. The company has introduced remote working options, part-time schedules, and job-sharing arrangements, allowing its employees to work from home or choose flexible hours. Similarly, Majid Al Futtaim, a leading retail company, has implemented parental leave policies that provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave for primary caregivers and up to four weeks for secondary caregivers. The company has also introduced a Cultural Diversity and Inclusion Strategy that aims to create a diverse workforce, promote an inclusive culture, and provide equal opportunities for all employees. These examples highlight the benefits of creating an adaptable workplace environment that caters to the needs of its employees while complying with labor laws and regulations. [17][18]

Conclusion emphasizing the benefits of creating an adaptable workplace environment.

Creating an adaptable workplace environment is crucial to achieving success. The ability to adapt to new situations and challenges is essential for leaders to ensure their teams work effectively together. The new labor laws in the UAE emphasize the importance of adaptability, prohibiting discrimination and harassment in the workplace. The laws also recommend fixed-term employment contracts lasting up to three years and limit the probation period to six months with a two-week notice period required for termination. Limiting overtime and providing paid leave entitlements also foster employee well-being. School leaders in the UAE have also demonstrated high levels of adaptability, according to a new measurement scale. All of these measures contribute to a more productive and efficient workplace. By creating a more adaptable working environment, companies can encourage a culture of innovation and growth, while ensuring that team members can succeed and grow together. [19][20]

Employment contracts can last up to 3 years, with fixed-term contracts recommended for indefinite jobs

As per the new labour laws in the UAE, employment contracts can last up to three years, although the law no longer sets a limit on the contract period. The contract can be renewed and will remain valid as long as both the employer and the employee agree to the stipulated conditions. Previously, employment contracts used to be synchronised with the visa status of the employee, thus limited to the two and three-year validity of visas. However, with the new announcement, the contracts could have a much longer duration than the visa status of the applicant. Experts believe that these changes create a more balanced ecosystem between the employer and employee, especially considering the competitive job market. Preparations for this shift to fixed-term contracts will require companies to put in place new employment contracts and amend the template employment contracts. [21][22]

Probation period limited to 6 months with a 2-week notice required for termination

Under the new labour laws in the UAE, the probation period for private sector employees has been limited to six months. Employers must provide written notice of termination of at least two weeks during the probation period. Employees who wish to terminate their contract during the probation period must give a one-month notice. If an employee leaves the country during the probation period, they must submit a 14-day notice, or they may face a one-year ban from obtaining a work permit. Employers cannot extend the probation period beyond six months. Once an employee successfully completes their probation period, they will work under the conditions of their contract, including the probation period as part of the overall service. The new laws were put in place in February 2022 to provide more rights and flexibility to private sector employees and protect their interests. [23][24]

Workers may not be forced to leave the country after the end of their contract

Under the new labour laws in the UAE, workers may not be forced to leave the country after the end of their work contract. Instead, workers will be allowed to move to another employer, and plans are underway to allow for up to 180 days to find a job without overstaying one’s visa. This provides more job security and flexibility for workers, as they can now freely seek out new employment opportunities without fear of being forced to leave the country. The protection and support of workers are emphasized in the new laws, prohibiting discrimination and offering more protection against harassment. The introduction of these changes demonstrates the UAE government’s commitment to improving employee rights and creating a more inclusive and flexible labour market. This is an important step towards attracting and retaining talent, which is crucial for the country’s continued growth and success. [25][26]

Overtime limited to 2 hours per day, with overtime wage required for extra hours

The UAE Labor Law mandates that private sector workers should work for eight hours per day or 48 hours per week. In case of overtime, the employer may ask or instruct the worker to work beyond the normal working hours provided that it does not exceed two hours per day. If the worker is required to work beyond the normal working hours due to work conditions, then the excess period is considered as overtime, and the worker should receive a wage equal to the normal working hours pay, which is calculated based on the basic pay plus an increase of not less than 25% of that wage. In such cases, if the worker is required to work between 10 pm and 4 am, then he/she should receive a wage calculated according to normal working hours pay plus an increase of not less than 50% of that wage. The rule does not apply to workers who work on a shift basis. [27][28]

Employees in the UAE’s private sector are entitled to several paid leave options, effective February 2, 2022. These entitlements include one day of paid rest weekly, with the possibility of the company increasing the number of rest days in a week. Employees can also take up to three to five days of mourning leave, depending on the degree of kinship with the deceased. After completing two years of service with an employer, employees can take 10 days of paid study leave per year, provided they are enrolled in an accredited educational institution in the UAE. Parents of newborns can take five days of paid parental leave, starting from the day of the child’s birth and up to six months. Maternity leave in the private sector can extend up to 60 days, with 45 fully paid days followed by 15 paid half days. Mothers of infants with special needs can take an additional 30 days of paid leave, renewable for another 30 days with no pay. [29][30]

School leaders in UAE show high levels of adaptability, according to new measurement scale

According to a new study published in Evidence-based HRM, school leaders in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi have shown high levels of adaptability, based on a newly-developed quantitative measurement instrument for leadership adaptability. The study surveyed 167 public and private school leaders and applied three dimension reduction techniques to validate the leadership adaptability scale. The results showed that the 13 statements measuring leadership adaptability should be treated as a single homogeneous scale, with a high level of reliability classified as excellent. The discriminant validity tests also confirmed the statements as being a distinct scale alongside the 20-item Cultural Intelligence Scale. This study is the first known quantitative measurement instrument for understanding leadership adaptability, providing a valuable tool for researchers and facilitating further exploration of this topic. The results of the study offer insights into the level of adaptability among school leaders in the UAE. [31][32]