DIFC tables amendments to employment, data and insolvency laws

The proposals aim to improve the regulatory framework of the financial centre and have been posted for public consultation

DUBAI, UAE. February 05, 2014 - Stock photograph of the DIFC Gate in Dubai, February 05, 2014.  (Photo by: Sarah Dea/The National, Story by: STANDALONE, Business Stock)

The Dubai International Financial Centre tabled its proposed amendments to employment and data protection laws and insolvency regulations as it moves to strengthen its regulatory framework.

The proposals were posted for a 30-day period of public consultation, with a deadline of March 28 for responses.

“The proposed amendments reflect the centre’s commitment to maintaining a transparent and robust legal and regulatory framework aligned with global best practice,” the DIFC said on Saturday.

The free zone unveiled proposed changes to its Common Reporting Standard Law in August 2020 to improve reporting standards. It also enforced an amendment to the employment law that replaced gratuities with a workplace savings plan from February 1 last year.

The DIFC has now tabled proposed changes to Employment Law No 2 of 2019. It will issue new regulations that “will provide further clarity in relation to the Qualifying Scheme regime and bring it in line with the Dubai Financial Services Authority’s employee money purchase scheme so that only a single layer of regulation is applied to these schemes”.

The amendments also aim to address other areas of uncertainty by clarifying the statute of limitations on claims made under the employment law, the accrual of leave days and the duration of probation for short-term fixed-term contracts.

The financial hub’s proposed changes to the employment law account for work-from-home arrangements, which have become more common amid Covid-19.

Amendments to Data Protection Law No 5 of 2020 seek to clarify the judicial redress procedure for people, allowing them to be more closely aligned with international rulings in Europe.

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The proposed amendments reflect the centre's commitment to maintaining a transparent and robust legal and regulatory framework aligned with global best practice

The amendments also outline requirements for better accountability on the part of controllers and processors in cases where a person's rights may be affected.

They define the commissioner’s powers on information available while giving direction or determining a contravention of the data protection law. The amendments are also aligned with the DIFC Courts Law regarding the imposition and payment of court costs by DIFC bodies.

Proposed amendments to Insolvency Law No 1 of 2019 and Insolvency Regulations 2020 aim to provide greater flexibility to the process of obtaining a bond.

“The amendments will ensure consistency in a liquidator’s reporting obligations for the different types of liquidation procedures available under the Insolvency Law and ensure that that the vesting of property in a dissolved entity is consistently applied for all DIFC entities under the Operating Law 2018,” the DIFC said.

The onshore financial centre is home to some of the world’s biggest financial institutions, banks, investment companies, wealth managers and insurers.

The number of companies operating within the DIFC rose by 25 per cent in the first half of last year.

The free zone attracted 310 new companies during the period, bringing the number of businesses based in the free zone to 2,584.

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