UAE Employees Caught Between Safety and Salary

Heavy rains lashed the United Arab Emirates this week, turning roads into rivers and submerging cars. While authorities urged businesses to prioritize employee safety by allowing them to work from home, some companies remained inflexible. These companies demanded employees report to the office despite the hazardous conditions, resorting to threats of salary cuts for those unable to brave the floods.

The situation has sparked concern among employees, many of whom found themselves trapped in waterlogged neighborhoods, unable to safely reach their workplaces. Arvind, a digital marketing professional with over seven years of experience, shared his frustration. "They insisted we come in, even though our entire team can easily work remotely," he said. Arvind highlighted the disconnect between company policy and practicality, emphasizing that his sales role rarely requires physical presence in the office.

Recruitment experts echoed these concerns. Nicki Wilson, founder of HR and recruitment consultancy Genie, advised companies to prioritize employee well-being during such emergencies. "It's understandable that some businesses might prioritize keeping the office open," Wilson said. "However, allowing non-essential staff to work from home until the situation improves makes perfect sense."

The potential legal implications of demanding employees risk their safety for work during extreme weather events were also a point of discussion. While UAE labor laws don't explicitly address working from home during emergencies, they do mandate safe working environments. Experts believe companies forcing employees to commute during floods could be held liable for any accidents or injuries sustained.

The incident has reignited discussions on workplace flexibility and remote work options in the UAE. While the country has made strides in promoting work-life balance, a cultural preference for physical presence in offices persists in some sectors. The recent flooding exposed gaps in some companies' preparedness for emergencies and highlighted the need for more robust work-from-home policies.

With the UAE experiencing increasingly frequent extreme weather events, companies must adapt and prioritize employee safety. Embracing flexible work arrangements not only protects employees during emergencies but can also foster a more engaged and productive workforce.

Previous Article Next Article