Abu Dhabi: As the New Year approaches, the UAE has introduced a comprehensive overhaul of its laws and changed the working environment. The reform over the weekend is quite remarkable. The working days from Sunday to Thursday have been extended from Monday to Friday for government agencies. Fridays and Sundays will be holidays, followed by Saturdays and Sundays. Although these changes are currently being made in the public sector, some private companies have issued circulars approving similar changes. Only those who go to church on Fridays are given work holidays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
At the same time, the consolidation of leave benefits of public and private institutions is a significant change. Under the law, which will take effect on February 2, 2022, full-time employees in the private and public sectors will receive 30 days of annual leave. Employees who have completed six months on the job are entitled to two paid vacations per month for one year. Private and public sector employees also get 60 days maternity leave. Of these, 45 days will be full pay and 15 days will be half pay. Employees are entitled to maternity leave along with other approved leave. The employer does not have the power to dismiss a person for taking maternity leave. The father is entitled to five days’ leave for a period of six months after the birth of the child.
Leave is allowed for five days in case of death of spouse and three days in case of death of next of kin. Sick leave is allowed for 90 days a year. Of these, 15 days will be full pay, 30 days will be half pay and the rest will be unpaid leave. It also guarantees 10 days leave per year for examinations for employees studying in UAE recognized educational institutions or universities inside or outside the UAE.
It is also the year when cyber laws are tightened. According to the law, taking a person’s photo without permission is punishable by up to six months in prison, a fine of between 50 150,000 and 5 500,000, or both. This is part of ensuring public privacy. Those who commit online crimes related to cryptocurrency transactions face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to 10 million dirhams. The law is being tightened as part of efforts to ensure the safety of the public from online financial exploitation. The law has also been expanded to include advertisements for unauthorized cryptocurrency schemes as criminal offenses. Advertising misleading or inaccurate information about products is an offense punishable by a fine of between AED 20,000 and AED 50,000 under Article 48 of the Federal Law.
The same law applies to those who promote cryptocurrency transactions without the permission of the UAE government. Funds raised from the public for transactions in electronic currency or counterfeit companies without the permission of the relevant departments are punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of between two and a half million and ten million dirhams. Those who make financial transactions using fake emails or websites are liable to imprisonment or a fine of between 50,000 and 200,000 dirhams. Creating a fake account and committing suicide is a crime punishable by up to two years in prison. UAE law stipulates that spreading fake news through electronic sharing systems is punishable by up to two years in prison, a fine of between Dh1 million and Dh1 million, or both.