Some companies are insisting that employees should report to work despite challenges in reaching the workplace amidst flooded streets and roads after record rains that UAE witnessed this week.

In case of failure to report, employees are threatened with salary cuts.

The recruitment experts advised firms to allow non-essential staff to work from home until the roads are clear.

The UAE recorded unprecedented rains this week, resulting in flooding of highways and many communities, making it almost impossible for many people to report to work.

Though some employers were considerate enough to allow employees to work from home, some have asked staff to report to work now.

Nicki Wilson, founder and managing director of HR and recruitment consultancy Genie, said it is true that some business owners have taken the stance to request their employees to come to work.

“It is a fine line at the moment between what is right and what is wrong to do. A lot of uncertainty out there… The most important thing as a business owner is to ensure the safety and happiness of their staff during this time. Some employees may have faced flooding in their homes or even financial loss from property damage. So, employers really need to be mindful of this,” she said.

Join the office or face a pay cut

Arvind (name changed) returned from a business trip and landed at Dubai airport last evening around 5 pm. After 7 days of continuous work abroad, he was told to report to the office or he would be facing a pay cut.

“From the airport, I went to the office directly. Though the road was flooded, I had to manage anyhow,” said Arvind.

People are voicing concerns as they cannot even leave their houses due to water-logged streets and flooded neighbourhoods.

In addition, some of the employees are also facing the dilemma of vehicles getting stuck in flooded parking lots, therefore, they’re unable to go and work from the office.

Arvind, who has been working in the travel and tourism sector for over seven years, said that he can easily manage his work from his residence. “I am into sales and most of the time I have to be outside the office. My work can be easily managed from home, but all the employees are being called to the office,” said Arvind.

“I live in Sharjah and roads are blocked due to floods. The cab was also not ready to take me to the office. I had to call a friend to pick me up and we had to navigate safer roads to my home. Finally, I reached home at 1am,” said Arvind.

“With no rest, I had to log in to the office at 9am on Friday,” added Arvind.

Another resident, Syed, said he was told to come to work, therefore, he navigated through water-logged roads. “I could easily edit the videos at home without the need of going to the office and giving a perfect finished project,” said Syed.

A Romanian expat, who works in the hospitality sector, said employees have been warned that failure to comply with instructions from the company may result in salary deductions.

“We were called to work on Tuesday, April 16. Some had been to the office while many opted to work from home. Our manager agreed to work from home on Tuesday and Wednesday. We were told to take off on Thursday as the roads were blocked,” said the Romanian expat.

“However, on Friday, we received a message in the morning that the employees who opted to work from home on Tuesday and Wednesday should either be compensated for working extra days or have to balance with their pending annual leaves,” said Romanian expat.

“We have also been told to work on Saturday, which is normally a weekend. It was the company’s decision and we are facing the brunt,” said the Russian expat.

Nicki Wilson added that employees working in salons, restaurants, delivery, logistics, retail and anything related to recovery have returned to their work.

“It’s difficult as some workers who are still needed to help businesses get back on their feet. If it is non-essential for staff to be in the office, then let them work from home until the roads are clear and communities are getting back to normal,” she said.

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