Picture for illustrative purposes: Remote working Image Credit: Stock Image

Abu Dhabi: The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation has issued a new remote work policy for private businesses during the Coronavirus crisis.

The policy, a copy of which is obtained by Gulf News, outlines guidelines for employers and employees who work remotely to ensure that both companies and employees will benefit from the arrangements.

Under the policy, office-based workers must be limited to not more than 30 per cent of any company’s workforce. This rule specifically applies to customer service staff and commits businesses to always maintain social distance and disinfection of equipment and facilities.

Exempt from this rule are companies operating in infrastructure, supply, telecommunications, energy, health, education, financial sector, food industry, hospitality, medical industry and cleaning.

The ministry has recently issued a new resolution to regulate private sector jobs during Coronavirus crisis.

Under the resolution, businesses affected by the COVID-19 may gradually grant their foreign employees paid leave, unpaid leave, temporarily or permanently cut their salaries or lay them off.

According to a decision by Nasser Thani Al Hamli, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, businesses affected by the precautionary measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus and seeking to restructure their business shall gradually

Set up the remote work system; granting employees paid or unpaid leave; temporarily reduce salary during the aforementioned period; or permanently cut salary.

“Businesses with redundant employees must register them on the virtual job market, so that they can be recruited by other companies. These businesses will remain obliged to provide these employees with accommodation and other dues, except for salary, up until their departure from the country or being permitted to join other businesses,” the decision, to be enforced with immediate effect, states.

The new distance work policy, enforced with imediate effect, also commits private sector firms to take precautionary measures required for office-based workers and their accommodation.

Firms must set up screening points at the entrance of office and accommodation and must check on Coronavirus symptoms, twice daily; in the morning before leaving to work from the accommodation or when arriving at the office; and in the evening at the time of departure from office or arriving at the accommodation.

Suspected coronavirus cases must be sent to hospitals for testing and taking necessary precautions.

The number of riders per bus must not exceed 25 per cent of the bus capacity to maintain a safe distance between riders.

Firms must stop assemblies and all cultural, sports or social activities held at workers’ accommodation and must maintain social distance or at least two meter apart at workers accommodation canteen.

Businesses must also report any suspected coronavirus cases and maintain health precautions in the case of delivery of goods and services.

The remote work system is applicable to all workers whose presence in office is not required, especially pregnant women, workers aged above 55 years, people of determination, workers with respiratory or chronic diseases, women with grade 9 or below students.

All private sector firms, whose workers work remotely, must use smart electronic applications and provide IT support systems.

Firms which support governmental departments must coordinate to ensure continuity of business.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation has allowed private sector businesses affected by the COVID-19 measures to restructure the contractual relationship with employees. The goal for these contractaul changes are to be made in mutual agreement through gradual procedures.

Under this decision, businesses affected by precautionary measures taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus and seeking to reshuffle their business structure shall gradually adopt the following actions, in agreement with their employees: Implementing a remote work system, granting employees paid and unpaid leave and temporarily & permanently reducing salaries

How can I renew my domestic worker visa and conduct a medical fitness examination?

Sponsors of domestic workers can renew residence permits for their domestic helpers from Tadbeer centers, or by using the online services of the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.

As for the medical examination, the Ministry of Health and Prevention is the concerned authority for the residents of the northern emirates, while the Health Authority - Dubai is the jurisdiction for the residents of Dubai.

For Abu Dhabi residents, the Abu Dhabi Health Department represented in Mubadala and Seha is responsible for the medical examination of domestic workers.