UAE News Today : Politics

Employers in the UAE cannot fire employees for mental health problems

Fine of up to 200,000 dirhams for violating provisions of the law that recently came into force; The expert explains the new rules.

Employers in the United Arab Emirates cannot make hiring decisions, fire, or restrict job opportunities for residents because of a mental health condition, according to a new law recently passed.

“On the contrary, any decision regarding employment must be based on a report from a specialized medical committee that evaluates the individual’s condition in relation to his or her job.”

Dr. Hind Alrustamani, CEO and Founder of Aman Lil Afia Clinic saying.

This is similar to how companies are not allowed to make hiring or firing decisions based on an employee’s physical health. Workers can take up to 90 days of paid and unpaid sick leave and can be fired only if they cannot report to work afterward.

Last month, the United Arab Emirates issued a federal law on mental health that preserves, among other things, the right of patients to keep their jobs without restrictions. This aspect of the law encourages people to prioritize their mental well-being without fear of losing their jobs.

From a mental health caregiver’s perspective, this means a lot in practice, the expert said.

“It fosters an environment where people feel safe seeking help without fearing repercussions at work. “It is a step towards a more compassionate and understanding workplace, recognizing that mental health challenges should not hinder a person’s professional journey.”

saying Dr. Alrustamani.

Advised employees to take advantage of sick leave if they face mental health issues, which can

“affect your performance at work in the same way that poor physical health can.”

“Having policies that allow people to take time off for their mental well-being is essential, as it is an indicator that mental health is as important as physical health, creating a more supportive workplace for everyone’s well-being” .

The new law explained

The law regulates the relationship between patients and the parties who deal with them, including caregivers, employers, and educational facilities. Fines of between 50,000 dirhams and 200,000 dirhams will be punished against those who violate it.

The law recognizes mental health as a state of psychological and social stability, which encompasses various aspects of emotional, psychological and social well-being.

“In doing so, it recognizes the multifaceted nature of mental well-being in our modern, fast-paced world, establishing it as a foundation for productivity and contribution to society.”

saying Dr. Alrustamani.

What has changed?

According to the Emirati counselor, the law guarantees “clear and complete rights” within mental health centers.

“Importantly, the law safeguards the patient’s civil rights during treatment, prohibits limitations on employment without proper medical evaluation, and also prioritizes patient confidentiality and privacy within mental health facilities, all with the goal of promote comprehensive recovery and reintegration into society.”

she said.

“Many patients who are being treated in mental health facilities do so at a time of extreme vulnerability…Patients have the right to obtain informed consent, actively participate in their treatment, receive physical medical care in a safe environment, and be protected of experimental treatments without consent.”

Insurance coverage, costs.

Dr. Alrustamani He called for psychological care to be an essential part of insurance plans for everyone.

“Costs for mental health services in the United Arab Emirates vary depending on factors such as the type of treatment received, who the provider is, the specific location within the country, and sometimes depending on the availability of the service, as well as coverage. Insurance. ”

she said.

On average, public or government-run facilities can be more affordable than private ones.

“Many countries, such as the United Arab Emirates, have made efforts to address mental health by offering various services. “This adaptation could potentially lead to improvements in mental health infrastructure and services depending on changes in government policies.”

Stigma-free treatment

The Emirati expert said the law helps reduce the stigma around mental health support. Citing data from the World Health Organization (WHO)said, 1 in 4 people worldwide will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives. Nearly 9 in 10 people with a mental illness experience stigma and discrimination.

“Therefore, it is important to encourage open discussions and ensure continued care and support even after providing the necessary treatment. This is what the new law requires, sending the message that seeking help for mental health problems is a positive step towards better mental well-being, which will help reduce the stigma that is often associated with this type of patient care. and will encourage greater attention. accepting attitude towards mental health problems.

News Source: Khaleej Times

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