Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah, has set out an action plan to bolster workers' rights in the emirate and improve their terms and conditions.
He issued a law to reorganise the Sharjah Labour Standards Development Authority (SLSDA), a body he established in 2014.
The changes, reported by state news agency Wam on Monday, will include the appointment of a president responsible for shaping the strategies of the organisation and ensuring employers in the private sector meet labour standards.
The legislation lays out the authority's priorities.
These include "ensuring workers' rights and looking after the employers' interests", as well as "striving to achieve a decent life for workers and improve the terms and conditions of their life and work".
The authority's goals also include "strengthening working relationships between employers and employees and motivating them to implement labour legislation and standards" and "ensuring the availability of the required standards in accommodations following best practices".
The SLSDA president, to be appointed by decree, will be granted the power to suggest general policy, put in place strategic plans and propose draft laws which they will present to Sharjah Executive Council.
They will also be expected to supervise the workflow of the authority, issue administrative decisions and follow up on their implementation, prepare the authority's annual budget and submit periodic reports on the authority's work.
The Emirates has strict laws in place to support employees, including those on lower incomes.
In accordance with UAE law, all establishments with more than 50 workers paid less than Dh2,000 ($544) in monthly wages, must provide each worker with at least three square metres of space in a well-lit, air-conditioned and well-ventilated accommodation.
The Sharjah labour authority oversees programmes, projects, training courses and activities to support workers.
It monitors Sharjah businesses’ adherence to labour legislations in co-ordination with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation and other relevant public departments.
Since its establishment, the authority has organised several educational, medical and recreational programmes with help from other departments in the emirate and the country.
In 2018 it launched its annual sports tournament for workers, providing them with an opportunity to win up to Dh250,000 in prizes in games of football, basketball, cricket, volleyball and hockey.
Last year, it opened a recreational park in Al Sajaa industrial area for more than 100,000 workers.
Spanning 15,000 square metres, the park includes two small cricket pitches, two multipurpose fields, walking paths, green spaces, mosques, shops, cafes, mail boxes and several service rooms.
During the same year, Sharjah labour accommodations were provided with 35 libraries that include books in different languages, as part of the ‘Library in every labour camp’ campaign.