Dubai free zone to return $354m to firms in wage protection push

Source : Arabian business

Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) on Saturday announced the move through its new Workforce Protection Programme initiative that is set to roll out in September.

The move will provide added benefits to employees and infuse AED1.3 billion ($354 million) back into Dubai’s economy that companies can invest in their operations and strengthen their businesses, state news agency WAM reported.

Previously, companies registered at the free zone had to give a cash or bank guarantee as a way of providing insurance to their employees in the event of non-payment of wages.

Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, chairman of the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation and the Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority, said: "Our people are our greatest assets, and we are committed to providing them with a fair work environment that ensures they receive all the rights, privileges, and protections that should be afforded to them as core contributors to the nation’s economy.

"Through the Workforce Protection Programme, we are striving to raise standards for the UAE’s private sector by providing businesses with a model they can emulate successfully and help fulfil the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum as outlined in his 50 Year Charter."

Under the new Workforce Protection Programme, companies will avail of approved insurance coverage that will help protect the workers in case of wage default. The insurance will extend to all Jafza-sponsored employees and apply by default to any new workers from the time they receive their work visas to the time the visa is cancelled.