Employment in the UAE: Introduction
Employment statutory and contractual benefits
Case study: Protecting your business
Employment terminations: Poor performance, redundancy, Article 120
Case study: Employment terminations on the grounds of conduct and poor performance
Employment litigation: Introduction
Round up of learning point and questions
PARTNER - HEAD OF MIDDLE EAST EMPLOYMENT PRACTICE
As head of the Pinsent Masons Middle East Employment Practice, Luke advises clients based in the United Arab Emirates and Gulf region on all aspects of employment and labour law issues.
Chambers describes Luke as being "praised by sources as a very experienced and capable lawyer. Other commentators add that he's proactive and definitely someone to watch. He regularly advises clients on contentious and non-contentious matters, including before the DIFC courts". Luke is ranked as a “Next Generation Lawyer” and an “Associate to Watch” by Legal 500 and Chambers respectively, and was awarded Young Lawyer of the Year at the 2017 DIFC Gala Dinner. Luke is ranked as a “Next Generation Lawyer” and an “Associate to Watch” by Legal 500 and Chambers respectively, and was awarded Young Lawyer of the Year at the 2017 DIFC Gala Dinner.
Luke assists clients on all aspects of the labour laws of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait. Luke regularly presents to clients and HR professionals on a variety of employment law topics.
- Assisted a tier-one energy sector client on all aspects of its UAE employment terms and conditions and implementing change across the workplace arrangements, including changes under the UAE Labour Law and changes to the contractual terms and conditions of employment. The project we consulted on included changes to working hours and reductions in allowances and benefits. Our assistance included consulting with the client on the required amendments, the most effective way of implementing those amendments in accordance with the statutory requirements and incorporating the amendments into the terms and conditions of employment.
- Provided consultation and legal support to a major financial Free Zone in preparing an Employee Handbook and several employee-related policies for implementation within the Free Zone. Our approach was to meet with the client to discuss their objectives and understand the legislative position and the areas where change was necessary to support the cultural and legal requirements. We prepared and finalised the handbook and delivered a presentation to a number of delegates on local employment law which included discussion around aspects of the policy. The client required us to prepare a policy that reflects the local legal requirements and also included elements of international best practice.
- Assisted the DMCC Free Zone with the preparation of a guidance handbook and staff policies to be standardized and made available for all clients and companies incorporated within the free zone. Our handbook dealt with all aspects of employee relations and policies, including incorporating international best practice into the policies. We have also delivered presentations to hundreds of companies incorporated within the DMCC free zone on the applicable Labour Law and international best practice in respect of employee relations.
- Assisted a semi-government conglomerate in establishing its workplace arrangements and employee policies for entities being incorporated in Kuwait, Oman, KSA and the UAE. This cross-border project required us to advise on all aspects of statutory employment benefits that operate across the five GCC jurisdictions and to assist with implementing these benefits, which included addressing areas such as working hours, agile working and part-time working hours. We also provided our client with advice on the employment and secondment of employees in the five jurisdictions. Our ongoing assistance reflects our ability to advise clients on all aspects of Middle East employment matters across the GCC jurisdictions. Our involvement included ensuring the policies reflected minimum statutory requirements across the GCC jurisdictions. We also advised the client on the consultation process to implement the policies.
- Assisted a major conglomerate in the transfer of employment of its Middle East-based workforce from one employing entity to a newly established entity. The project involved advising on legal issues arising out of the transfer of employment from the entity established within a free zone into an onshore entity and the impact on employment law rights. We assisted the client in respect of its consultation process, preparing transfer documentation and new employment contracts and preparation of associated HR policies.
- 2007 - Current: Solicitor qualified in England and Wales
- 2007 - Current: Law Society
- 2014 - Current: DIFC Registered Practitioner
- 2005 - LPC Commendation Nottingham Law School
- 2004 - LLB Law 2:1 University of Wales
Michael is a UK Qualified solicitor who specialises in employment law, working in the UAE and advising on employment issues across a number of jurisdictions in the Middle East. Michael advises clients on compliance with the Federal Labour Law as well as the regulation in the free zones including the DIFC law in the Dubai International Finance Centre and the ADGM law in the Abu Dhabi Global Market. Michael works closely with the DMCC mediation team, assisting with training and the DMCC legal clinics.
Michael has experience advising on a wide number of employment-related issues including both contentious and non-contentious matters. In particular, Michael advises on employee relations, dismissals, employee litigation, contractual queries/disputes, breach of privacy/confidential information, restrictive covenants and also on large, multi-jurisdictional employment law projects across the Middle East, Europe and Asia.
Michael handles all aspects of employment law issues, including advising on:
- breach of restrictive covenants and theft of confidential information for a UAE based client in the Oil industry;
- a global contract review and harmonisation project for a multinational construction client;
- a redundancy project for a software client with employees across the GCC region;
- litigation relating a contentious exit for a senior employee working in the financial sector; and
- a variety of employment law disputes such as contentious terminations, breach of restrictive covenants, with DMCC based employers in association with the DMCC Disputes Centre Legal Clinics; and
- large multinational transactions, including acquisitions and advising on the impact of business restructuring, visa transfers and the effect of organisational changes on employees.
- BPP University, London – Legal Practice Course – 2013-2014
- BPP University, London – Graduate Diploma in Law – 2012-2013
- Royal Holloway College, University of London – BA (Hons) 2009 - 2012
- Solicitor - Pinsent Masons LLP (Middle East) – 2020 to date
- Associate – Taylor Wessing LLP (UK) – 2016 – 2020 (including client secondment to Adobe)
- Trainee Solicitor – Taylor Wessing LLP – 2014 – 2016
Ruth is a UK qualified lawyer who specializes in advising companies in the GCC on their employment-related matters.
From the UK Ruth brings her in-depth knowledge of the unique mechanics of the volatile oil and gas arm of the energy sector.
Together with the energy industry, Ruth supports clients operating in a range of industry sectors including: healthcare; construction; technology; retail; hospitality; insurance; and, banking and finance.
Ruth advises clients on compliance with the Federal Labour Law as well as the regulation in the free zones including the DIFC law in the Dubai International Finance Centre and the ADGM law in the Abu Dhabi Global Market. Additionally, Ruth has experience working in the Qatar Financial Centre.
Through the team's network of international offices, Ruth supports clients on the application of mandatory employment law in different countries and the issues arising out of the operation of a multi-jurisdictional business staffed by a mobile workforce. n jurisdictions where we do not have a presence, Ruth works with preferred providers of legal services to ensure clients achieve the seamless service that they need.
Ruth advises clients on the wide-range of challenges business meet day-to-day. Examples of some of Ruth's work includes advising:
- A global waste disposals company on changing its staff policies throughout the GCC. We worked with colleagues and partnered law firms of choice in countries where we do not have an office
- A global company operating in the energy sector on its risks and exposures from a privacy and cybercrime perspective in the UAE
- A global media company on its options for rolling out atypical working arrangements including part-time working, secondments and working across different branches while under the original employer's sponsorship
- A financial institution regulated by the central bank on its Emiratisation quota and targets specific to the sector as per recent UAE regulations
- An insurance company on the secondment of one of its UAE employees to Oman. This work involved linking-in with counsel in Oman to ensure that the immigration and labour requirements in Oman were carefully considered
- A healthcare provider on the transfer of its employees from its free zone entity branch to its newly incorporated onshore entity. This included narrating the mechanics clearly via a tripartite agreement
- A financial institution on the allocation of visas and the visa quota system applicable to the Qatar Financial Centre
- University of Aberdeen - Diploma in Legal Practice 2011-2012
- University of Glasgow – LLB Law Honours 2007-2011
- Uppsala University, Sweden, Erasmus semester 2009
- Associate - Pinsent Masons LLP (Middle East) – July 2018 to date
- Associate – Clyde & Co (Dubai) - October 2016 – June 2018
- Solicitor – CMS Cameron McKenna (UK) – August 2014 – October 2016
- Trainee Solicitor – Burness Paull (UK) – August 2012 – August 2014
SENIOR MARKETING MANAGER - EVENTS
Samer Merhi is the Senior Marketing Manager of Events at DMCC, the world’s leading Free Zone and Government of Dubai Authority on commodities trade and enterprise.
Joining DMCC in 2012, Samer is responsible for delivering the organisation’s event programme in line with corporate marketing strategy and business objectives.
Technically knowledgeable and professionally qualified, Samer forges strategic relationships with partners around the world to deliver an ever-growing DMCC calendar of events both physical and virtual.
In a career spanning 15 years, Samer has managed some of the region’s largest and high-profile live events and conferences, as well as diplomatic meetings and industry gatherings.