27 July 2016
UAE: Employers Legally Obliged to House Low-Paid Workers
Free accommodation will have to be provided for low-income workers by employers with 50 or more employees from December 2016. The new directive defines low earners as those with a monthly salary of UAE Dirham 2,000 (US$544) or less. In 2015, the average monthly salary in the UAE was estimated at around UAE Dirham 18,192.
In the case of businesses obliged to house 500 or less members of staff, the accommodation provided will have meet the health and safety requirements laid down in a 2014 ministerial decree. In cases where more than 500 workers are to be housed, such accommodation will have to comply with the strictures of a 2009 UAE Cabinet decree. Compliance with the appropriate decree will be enforced through compulsory inspections, with penalties levied in any case of non-compliance.
The legislative changes come amid continuing government efforts to protect the rights of foreign workers. In January 2016, the UAE government implemented a series of labour reforms, abolishing the practice of sponsorship, whereby workers’ contracts were filed with their employers rather than with the appropriate government body.