Individuals with disabilities “will become vital members of the workforce”

Author: Kirsty Tuxford | Date: 12 Oct 2016

Abu Dhabi public sector leads the way in providing equal rights to all employees and creating a “more diverse and balanced workplace”

A new law which requires government employers in Abu Dhabi to recruit a certain quota of workers with disabilities, will drive a more diverse and balanced workplace, according to a leading employment lawyer.
 
The law, issued by ruler Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, means public sector employers are obliged to ensure the working environment is suitable for employees with disabilities, and whenever there is a suitable vacancy they must consider all applicants.
 
Sarit Thomas, professional support lawyer at Clyde & Co, said this was a positive move for the government. “The revised provisions pertaining to those with disabilities seek to encourage those individuals to gain employment, earn their own wages and become a vital and valued member of the workforce. The new law will drive a more diverse and balanced workplace, which should lead to a more harmonious and productive working environment.”
 
Thomas added: “The UAE has recently confirmed its commitments to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to integrate and empower and create equal opportunities for those with disabilities. This links to the Dubai Disability Strategy 2020, aiming to provide equal rights and services to people with disabilities. To this extent, we can't rule out similar policies being introduced in the private sector.”
 
The Dubai Disability Strategy 2020 was launched in December 2015 by Shaikh Mansour Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is chairman of the Higher Committee for the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
 
He said at the time: “We have instructed all governmental entities not to segregate or discriminate based on a person’s disability in regards to education and employment opportunities.”
 
Shaikh Mansour also called on the private sector to play an effective role in enhancing the initiative: “We call on them to work on devising proper plans to offer rehabilitation and employment opportunities for persons with disabilities."
 
“We expect them to introduce initiatives and follow the policies and rules that help us achieve our goal of transforming Dubai into a disability-friendly city by 2020. The cooperation and support of the private sector and the participation of all levels of society will expedite the fulfilment of our shared aims.”
 
As People Management Middle East recently reported, the new law also grants new fathers three days of paternity leave and extends maternity leave to three months. In addition, Emiratis can be employed on a part-time basis, and all employees must be correctly trained and qualified for their roles.