The UAE Central Bank and UAE Banks Federation (UBF) on Friday clarified that banks, financial institutions and exchange houses should prioritise working remotely for the majority of the workforce, except for 30 per cent of those working in critical positions are required to work from the office.
However, banks and exchange houses are entitled to take the decision in relation to reducing working hours and temporary closure of some of their branches as long as the services offered to customers are not interrupted, effective Sunday March 29, 2020, for two weeks extendable.
The remote working system prioritises certain categories including: pregnant women, mothers of children in G-9 and below with duties that do not necessitate physical presence at workplace, people of determination, employees, with respiratory problems and weak immune system, in addition to employees aged 60 and above, in line with the UAE government efforts to ensure the health and safety of all UAE nationals and residents.
"The Central Bank pays great attention to the health and safety of the workforce of banking and financial sector and the importance of providing safe and effective working environment. We were one of the first sectors that implemented remote working system effectively within the banks' business continuity plan, took necessary precautionary and preventive measures and adopted procedures and technologies that ensured swift and efficient operations. The banking workforce is fully prepared and committed to support the UAE's economy and community during this particular time," said Mubarak Rashed Al Mansoori, Governor of the Central Bank of the UAE.
"The health and safety of customers and employees are our utmost concern, and we will continue to take all the precautions necessary to protect them during these times of uncertainty. The banking sector is well positioned to ensure the continuity of operations and fulfill all customers' requirements through electronic and digital channels, and we will continue working with the Central Bank of the UAE and our member banks to promote a safe and stable environment," said AbdulAziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of UAE Banks Federation.
To ensure continuation of the services, customers are requested to use digital and online channels to process their banking and financial transactions.
Furthermore, additional measures have been taken to ensure business continuity including cheque clearance, payments and transfers, in case of the eventuality of 'lockdown' being implemented by the UAE competent authorities, said the statement.
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