There have been a number of recent developments in the labour laws of the Middle East, with the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain issuing new legislation to bridge the gender pay gap between men and women.
- UAE: Federal Decree by Law No. 6 of 2020 (the “Decree”) (effective as of 25 September 2020) amended Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 (the “UAE Labour Law”), providing a significant boost to gender equality in the UAE private sector and introducing a new paternity leave benefit.
- Saudi Arabia: On 26 August 2020, Royal Decree No. M/5 was issued, deleting the articles that prohibited women from working at night and working in hazardous jobs and industries.
- Bahrain: On 27 August 2020, the Bahraini Government issued Resolution No. 52 of 2020 setting out an outright prohibition on the discrimination of wages between male and female employees who hold the same job and who work in similar conditions.
Private sector businesses in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain will need to review and update their employment, leave policies, and recruitment programs in light of these labour law updates in order to maintain compliance.