COVID-19 Employment Update: MoHRE Resolution for Stability of Expat Employees and Labourers

Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (“MoHRE”) has issued Resolution No. 279 of 2020 (“Resolution”) regarding the stability of employment in private sector companies during the period of applying precautionary measures to contain the spread of Covid-19 virus.

The Resolution has answered several questions that have been circulating in the market due to the pandemic of the Covid-19, especially in relation to the labourers and employees in the private sector. The Resolution makes it obligatory for all companies that are registered with the MoHRE to adhere the provisions of the Resolution to regulate the labour in harmonious agreement between the employer and the expatriate employees, in order to preserve the interests of the both parties during the period of the precautionary measures which have been implemented by the UAE government.

The Resolution is applicable only in respect of expatriate employees and labourers during the period of implementation of the precautionary measures in the UAE. It has come into force retrospectively from 26th March 2020.

The Resolution states that:

  1. Arrangement between Employers and Employees:

Companies affected by the precautionary measures and who wish to re-organize their work force must enter into an agreement with the expatriate employees and labourers to include the following:

  1. Implementation of work from home.
  2. Granting a paid leave.
  3. Granting an unpaid leave.
  4. Reducing wages for a temporary period (i.e. during the time the precautionary measures are in enforce in the UAE).
  5. Reducing wages permanently.
  1. Enrolment on Virtual Labour Market to Find Alternate Work:

Companies can now register their surplus work force on the Virtual Labour Market System so that they can avail work from other companies in need on a rotation basis. It is pertinent that even after doing so the said companies shall still remain responsible for the housing and fulfillments of other entitlements of the surplus workforce, except their wages, until such time they leave UAE or obtain requisite permit to work in another company.

Expatriate employees and labourers who are seeking for jobs can register on the Virtual Labour Market and apply for jobs available in the system.

  1. Vacancies in Companies:

Companies who have vacancies or require additional workforce must:

  1. Post job vacancies on the Virtual Labour Market, search the existing database and chose from them which match their requirements; and
  2. Use such labour by applying internal work permits from MoHRE:
  1. work permit;
  2. transfer to new employer;
  3. temporary work permit; and
  4. part-time work permit.
  1. Temporary Reduction of Wages:

Companies that wish to reduce the wages of expatriate employees for a temporary period must execute an amendment to the existing labour contract registered with the MoHRE using an appendix (form which is available on the website of MoHRE). This amendment shall be valid until the expiry of the enforcement of precautionary measures or the validity of this Resolution, whichever is earlier.

Both the employer and the employee have the right to mutually extend the validity/term of this amendment.

This amendment must be executed in two copies (one for the employer and one for the employee), and the employer must present it to MoHRE if and when requested to do so.

  1. Permanent Reduction of Wages:

Any company that wishes to permanently reduce the wages of its expatriate employees must apply on the “Employment Contract Data Modification” service on the website and seek approval of MoHRE to do so.


Adv. Shayan Dasgupta
Corporate & Commercial Law | M&A | FinTech, Blockchain & AI