Dubai: A new law regulating voluntary work in Dubai was issued on Sunday with the aim of setting controls that will aim to motivate and protect volunteers.
The law was issued by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Law No. 5 of 2018 will develop the social responsibility of members of society, instil in them the spirit of volunteer work and encourage taking initiatives that will benefit society.
It grants Dubai’s Community Development Authority (CDA) with a number of specialisations and jurisdictions regarding voluntary work, which include drawing up plans and public policies for voluntary work in Dubai and supervising their implementation, as well as encouraging public and private bodies and enterprises to launch voluntary work initiatives in Dubai.
The authority will also be responsible for approving the template for voluntary work agreements in coordination with bodies accepting volunteers, in addition to setting up a database to register volunteers in the emirate.
Specialised volunteer work
The law specifies that certain qualifications, expertise and conditions are required when it comes to specialised volunteer work, and specialised volunteers will need to have a license and the necessary permits from relevant bodies.
The CDA will issue licenses for specialised volunteer work when it ascertains that all conditions listed in this law have been met.
Volunteers can set up teams, according to the law, on the condition that the team is registered in the official CDA database, and the nature of these teams, as well as terms and conditions that they should meet, will be set through a resolution issued by CDA’s Director-General.
Volunteers or volunteer teams are not allowed to collect donations or announce that donation will be collected until they have notified the CDA and have received the approval of concerned bodies.
As per the law, specific hours can be allocated during the official working hours of public and private employees in Dubai to participate in various volunteering activities, as long as it does not infringe on their vocational rights. The employers of the volunteering employees will have to coordinate with the bodies who are accepting the voluntary work prior to nominating any of its employees for carrying out institutional voluntary work. The public and private bodies will bear the responsibility for any consequences resulting from the voluntary work of the volunteers.
Obligations of bodies accepting volunteers
The law obliges government and private entities, including civil establishments licensed to work in Dubai, to set their voluntary standards and regulations and provide the Community Development Authority with these standards and controls, as well as to identify categories of volunteers and the nature of the work that each category can perform provided that the volunteer work shall be compatible with the volunteer's qualifications and intellectual and physical abilities.
The entities shall be obliged with training volunteers to carry out the tasks entrusted to them and helping them to highlight and foster their talents and ensure that their abilities are used properly.
The entities obligations include recording the volunteers' data, the nature of voluntary work entrusted to them and the number of hours they volunteered in the database approved by the Community Development Authority, providing volunteers with necessary equipment, tools and information, and with insurance against injuries, infections and civil liability for harming others.
Entities accepting volunteers shall be thereby responsible for all voluntary work expenses, including that of for the treatment of volunteers of any damage sustained while performing volunteer work, provided that such damage is caused due to the fault of the bodies in which they are volunteering with.
The entities obligations also include ensuring the safety of volunteers and beneficiaries of voluntary work against any damage that they may suffer from in the course of doing voluntary work, developing a preventive and safety system in coordination with the competent authorities, not to assign volunteer with more than (420) voluntary hours within one year, overseeing volunteers to verify that they are doing voluntary work as required, awarding the volunteers appreciation certificates once they complete the voluntary work perfectly.
Voluntary work agreement
According to the law, the bodies accepting volunteers may seek help from volunteers as per the voluntary work agreement prepared by the CDA. The agreement shall contain all details regulating the relationship between the volunteer and the body they are volunteering in.
The law stipulates that the volunteers must not be less than 18 years old, otherwise, they need to get the approval of their guardians. Volunteers must be of good conduct and physically capable of undertaking voluntary work.
Rights and duties of volunteers
The law stipulates that volunteers must abide by the voluntary work agreement and complete the voluntary work perfectly within the pre-determined time. Volunteers must respect the principles, goals and regulations of voluntary work set by bodies accepting volunteers. They also must respect the confidential information that they come across while carrying out voluntary work.
Volunteers must commit to the limits of the voluntary work, its goal and not to delve into the affairs of the bodies they are volunteering in. They must maintain the equipment and devices that they are given for voluntary work and to give it back to the bodies once the voluntary work is done.
All bodies accepting volunteers, voluntary teams, individuals and bodies performing voluntary work must rectify their status in accordance with the law within a period of six months after the law comes into effect. The Director-General of CDA may issue necessary decisions for the implementation of this Law. The Law shall come into effect from the date of its publication in the Official Gazette.