BBG Member and sponsor of the New Members’ Breakfast last week, Hadef & Partners’, Head of Employment & Partner Rachel Hill has compiled a “cheat sheet” for BBG Members to refer to that will help employers navigate the evolving guidelines around COVID and safe working environments. For more information and advice, please contact Rachel and her team directly.
Key issues employers should address as part of its strategy to return to the office in 2021
HR Housekeeping and Strategy
Ensure relevant HR paperwork is up-to-date – this is fundamental;
Check employee visas are still valid;
Determine if employee status (e.g. on leave/part-time/salary cuts) will change/continue; and
Agree whether all or parts of the business return to the office.
Carry out a Covid-19 risk assessment;
Draft HR policies in respect of employee compliance with Covid-19 legal requirements;
Consider appropriate disciplinary sanctions for non-compliance;
Evaluate employees’ individual risk factors; and
Formulate strategy on how to manage high risk employees.
Ensure precautionary measures (such as social distancing, face masks, sanitisation, screening, Single Point of Contact, reporting requirements are implemented in accordance with the law, relevant authority guidelines and DHA guidance.
Continued transparency and clarity are vital to reopening offices.
Employee Notice to return to work is best practice but handle with care; and
Circulate amended and/or new Covid-19 related policies and updated disciplinary policy.
Recognise legal obligations in respect of employees reluctant and/or unwilling to return to the workplace - could that amount to being absent without consent?
Employees should be contacted regularly and warned that failure to return to work may amount to a disciplinary sanction;
Take legal advice before any disciplinary and/or termination action is taken.
Flexible working arrangements?
A new remote work visa to enable oversees professionals to work in the UAE but for their home country employer; and
Recent Government circulars to push to employees to be vaccinated.
Government directives change on a weekly basis, so keep updated (see useful links below) or ask us.