Some employees in UAE seek ‘work from home’ expenses – Khaleej Times - Freelance Rack

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Saturday, August 15, 2020

Some employees in UAE seek ‘work from home’ expenses – Khaleej Times

Some UAE employees are asking their employers to pay for the additional costs of electricity – and even coffee – that they incur while working from home, according to human resources experts.

“We have been asked to assist on agile working policies. One of our clients recently raised a point where employees are asking extra allowance because they are working from home and their is greater expenses. Employees are using more electricity, Wi-Fi, drinking their own coffee, printing more and using more ink when working from home,” said Thenji Moyo, legal director and co-head of employment at DWF Middle East.

While speaking during a webinar recently, she said firms are looking at rewarding those employees or cover their additional expenses.

Hayley Wilkins, manager for HR and legal at Michael Page, said there is an improvement in the job market at the junior level range such as transactional and operational categories in human resources, finance, fast-moving consumer goods, technology, telecom, financial services and supply chain.

“In HR, those people are securing positions who have a proven track record and creative experience in performance management and employee engagement. We are seeing more demand on technology and telco industries in data protection and intellectual property. There is also an increase in the demand for Arabic speakers in all roles at the junior-to-mid level,” said Wilkins.

Shiraz Sethi, managing partner and co-head of employment at DWF Middle East, sees employment claims and disputes rising and will continue to do so in the next six to nine months.

In addition, Moyo revealed that a number of companies are also imposing leaves because employees have accumulated them during the coronavirus-induced lockdown period.

“A lot of companies have contacted us to say that not many people are taking leave because the borders were shut and now we’re finding a situation where employees have a lot of annual leave so companies are looking at introducing policies to make sure all employees are aware that they should utilise their leaves before the end of the year,” she added.

“Some of the companies are reviewing employment contracts in the light of Covid-19 as they want to make clear that they are able to impose annual leave.”

Some firms are also enquiring about changing travel allowances into cash allowances, particularly if no one is flying anywhere.
“There has been a revision of employment contracts [because of] force majeure, for example, can firms terminate employees on the basis that they are unable to do work,” she said, adding that another clause that was asked to be included was that if due to reorganisational restructuring, the company can perhaps place employees in other areas where the business is in a better position.

Freelance work on the rise

Moyo pointed out that freelancing is also coming up a lot as companies are increasingly becoming cost-conscious when it comes to sponsoring the individual and the statutory and mandatory obligations that come with the employee.

“Freelance is becoming more attractive so the individuals who set up their own licensing and trade are also willing to enter into some sort of consultancy agreement for a fee or fixed project are becoming quite prevalent,” she added. 



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