• Corporate Law/ Employment

    Students working in the UAE private sector

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    The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiritisation announced a new decree on 13 July 2016 that will have an impact on those wishing to employ individuals between the ages of 12 and 18.

    The decree states that both local and expatriate students will be able to obtain work permits that can be used to work or train within the private sector. The specifics here mean that those aged between 12 and 18 can obtain work for training purposes, while those aged between 15 and 18 can opt for permits to work in the private sector.

    There are particular rules governing the new situation:

    • A work permit will cost AED500
    • Any student under the age of 18 intending to apply for a permit will need written consent from a parent or guardian
    • Any student can work for a maximum of 6 hours per day
    • An hour or more must be allowed each day to eat, rest or pray
    • Students are not allowed to work for 4 or more consecutive hours within a day

    Work permits allow a student to work for six months on this basis. There are also extended permits available, covering up to a year, for those who wish to work fewer hours.

    The permits that are available fall into three categories: temporary, part-time and juvenile. A temporary permit is intended to be used by those who will be working on projects that will last for no more than six months.

    A part-time permit allows an individual to work for up to one year, but they will be working for fewer hours in the role.

    In the case of a juvenile permit, an individual aged between 15 and 18 years is given the option to work for up to a year.

    In order to ease permit applications, it’s possible to obtain such a permit via a smartphone app that has been made available by the Ministry, while there is also the option of visiting a service centre. In each case, the fee equates to AED500.

    The importance of avoiding discrimination is noted within the decree and employers must give students the same rights and benefits as existing members of staff. Similarly, as would be expected, all health and safety legislation must be followed to protect the welfare of the students involved.

    Finally, employers need to remember that students can work for a maximum of 6 hours per day and that a one hour break must be offered.

    The new decree will open up opportunities for both students and employers. It’s evident that the decree also makes provision to offer suitable protection to the students involved. Davidson & Co are able to advise on all elements of the degree and other workplace legislation, including discussing those 31 sectors of industry where it’s not possible for students to work.

  • Family Law

    What does the new UAE child protection law mean?

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    On June 15, the new UAE Child Protection Law came into effect, but what does it mean in practical terms? The law includes mention of five key areas:

    1. Hitting a child

    Parents and guardians are prohibited from disciplining children in an excessive manner. A specific example is given of hitting a child in the face, which is prohibited. Similarly, it is not permissible to beat a child in a manner that would lead to the creation of injuries and marks.

    It’s intended that children should be disciplined in order to ensure that behaviour is appropriate, but the Child Protection Law sets out that such discipline should not lead to harm.

    1. Home alone children

    It’s been identified that many child deaths have been associated with sleeping children being left alone in high-rise buildings. In order to increase the protection available to children, the new law ensures that it is an offence to leave a child alone in the home.

    1. Children in vehicles

    The law also seeks to offer additional protection to children travelling in cars and other vehicles. A specific measure means that children are not allowed to sit in the front seats of a car, while they are also not allowed to jump up and down when the vehicle is moving. A parent or other responsible adult allowing a child to behave in this way would be regarded as being negligent.

    1. Psychological damage

    The restrictions on hitting children provide for physical protection, but the law also gives due consideration to psychological damage that might be suffered. With this in mind, it is an offence to go beyond what is stated in Sharia.

    In short, parents or custodians are expected to maintain the dignity of a child at all times, with reprimands being carried out in a suitably calm manner.

    1. Proper child support

    Finally, the law recognises that every child has the right to live in a safe environment, with access to good quality health and social services.

    According to 2010 estimates, almost a quarter of the UAE population is made up of children, although there is recognition that information on the levels of abuse being suffered is absent. This particular law has been introduced following the high profile case of Wudeema, a young girl who was tortured and starved to death by members of her own family.

    Commenting on the Child Protection Law, the Director General of the Dubai Community Development Authority was keen to stress that any act that puts a child in harm’s way is prohibited by this law. Punishments range from substantial fine to imprisonment of up to 10 years, depending upon the seriousness of the identified offence.

    As with all legal issues, we are able to offer appropriate advice here at Davidson & Co. Contact us today for detailed information on this law, or any other legal requirements that you may have.

  • Property

    Green building rating system launched

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    How important is it that the construction industry should pay attention to the environmental impact of their work? Legislators around the world evidently believe that this is a relevant issue, with increasing attempts being made to ensure that new buildings are constructed in an environmentally friendly manner.

    There is undoubtedly an awareness that any building, whether built for residential or commercial use, has the potential to have a significant environmental impact during its life. Although it may be difficult to dictate individual lifestyle choices, there are clear opportunities to ensure that any such impact is kept to a minimum over time.

    The government in Dubai are following the lead set by other administrations around the world, with the decision to enforce new regulations in this area. Every new building will be given a rating, based upon how “green” that building is identified as being. Only those developments that reach the required minimum level (Bronze) will be issued with a permit.

    This is an interesting move, partly reflecting a desire to change the way in which Dubai is seen on a global scale. Often viewed as being an economy that is dependent upon the oil sector for its economic advantages, this impression hasn’t always gone hand in hand with the idea of environmental sustainability.

    The new initiative is to be known as Al Safat and was officially launched by Hussain Nasser Lootah, who is the Director General of the Dubai Municipality. He went on to explain that the initiative seeks to raise construction standards, with the key objective of establishing Dubai as having smart, sustainable city status within five years. That target may appear to be ambitious, but it seems to demonstrate that this is an initiative that has significant backing.

    Buildings will be rated on a sliding scale, from Platinum down to Bronze. Although the system is designed to be applied to new buildings, those construction projects that have already received certification will be required to apply again for a new rating certificate.

    The rating system tackles the entire life cycle of the building, starting with the construction phase. There is a strong focus on increasing levels of both energy and water efficiency, while materials that are used in construction are expected to be energy efficient.

    The new initiative may pose some challenges for developers, investors and those who own buildings, particularly given that there are some complexities involved in understanding the new regulations. But the basic objective here is clearly to improve energy efficiency within residential, commercial and industrial premises.

    If you need to know more about local laws, rules and legislation, then don’t hesitate to contact the team here at Davidson & Co for full, impartial advice.

  • Corporate Law

    Top five facts that you need to know about the new UAE commercial companies law

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    In March 2015, the UAE government introduced the new Commercial Companies Law No.2 of 2015 (the “CCL”) that sets out the new rules to be followed by companies. The new law addresses a number of factors including rules regarding company formation, internal procedures, management, liquidation, etc.  This article outlines some of the top features of the CCL and how your business can benefit from incorporating the new regulations.


    1) How can I ensure that my business is in compliance with the new regulations?

    The initial step to ensure that your business is in compliance with the CCL is to amend your company’s Memorandums of Association (“MOA”). While the new regulations bind Limited Liability companies and Private Joint Structure companies incorporated in Dubai mainland, those entities established in freezones are not required to comply with these laws unless that particular freezone opts into the jurisdiction, or the freezone company intends to carry on business activities outside the freezone area (with observing necessary license requirements).


    2) Will the new changes affect my business? How?

    The immediate answer is that the changes will probably not have an instant impact on your business operations but in reality the changes are likely to affect the internal compliance of your company.  For instance, the quorum for passing resolutions has been raised to 75%. This is just one example of the changes that might require business owners and shareholders of companies to adjust to how decisions are made.


    3) How would I benefit from pledging my shares?

    In accordance with the new CCL, shareholders (majority and/or minority) may now pledge their shares using internal procedures specified under the law as long as the current regulation on the ratio of UAE/foreign ownership are maintained. This may be an opportunity provided to companies to access financing by being able to offer security pledges over their shares. Pledging of shares will enable you to have access to a wider variety of funding as security of company shares will be able to be given. However, certain factors remain unclear regarding this provision as no reference is made to a concept of a certificate of share ownership which is commonly used regarding pledging of shares. It is suggested that entities will rely on the register of partners (shareholders) of the company which is maintained by the Ministry of Economy to provide a similar use to the share certificate.


    4) Would the management of the company be any different according to the new CCL?

    The changes to the law in relation to management provisions and managers’ obligations are other areas of the law which will benefit your business. Some of the introductions within the CCL include the non-compete provision aimed at preventing managers from undertaking competing management roles. Other introductions such as implementing a control council (consisting of 3 assigned shareholders) to assist with the management of the company can result in a consistent and controlled decision making system. Additional changes such as removing the cap on the number of appointed managers in an LLC is an opportunity for experienced and talented individuals to contribute to the growth of your business.


    5) Why would my company require corporate transparency?

    The regulations introduced by the CCL regarding auditing procedures have been made stricter. For example, there are now requirements for companies to maintain accounting records for a minimum of five years from the end of the financial year to which they relate. Businesses are also expected to have assigned auditors to prepare the annual financial accounts that are in line with International Accounting Standards.

    Companies are advised to begin amending their MOAs to ensure compliance with the new CCL in order to start benefiting from the provisions within the new regulations. Our corporate team are happy to assist you with making these necessary amendments.


    About Davidson & Co
    Davidson & Co is a boutique law firm established in Dubai in 2008, with lawyers and legal consultants drawn from across the globe. Providing a unique combination of corporate / commercial expertise; dispute resolution solutions; as well as private client advice, we are able to cater to the mass market and offer unparalleled legal services in the region.

    For more information about our capabilities and accolades, please visit our website  or contact 00971 (0)4 343 8897 and ask to speak to one of our associates.