Mental health in the workplace

Publish : 07 Mar 2024

A safe and healthy work environment is a fundamental right for all employees. Federal Law No. 10 of 2023 on Mental Health embodies the vision of the UAE's wise leadership, emphasizing the importance of individuals in the society. The law aims to preserve the dignity and rights of mental health patients, reducing the negative effects of disorders and promoting their integration in the work force.

A decent work environment positively impacts mental health by establishing routines and regulating the employees' life cycle. This fosters a sense of achievement and facilitates interaction with the society. Federal Decree-Law No. (33) of 2021, Article (2), aims to regulate labor relations to ensure the efficiency of the labor market, and thereby contributing to national development in the UAE.

A negative work environment affects employees through inadequate investment in career development, deterioration of working conditions, and the accumulation of negative behaviors in the workplace, which in turn, plays a role in the development of mental illnesses. These illnesses not only impact the individual but also the society at large. Consequently, we observe that the legislation of Federal Law No. (10) of 2023 on mental health, aims to integrate individuals with mental health conditions into the workforce.

Legally, if an employee experiences disorders at work, there are two options; The first involves referring the employee to a licensed psychiatric care provider for treatment as per the law's regulations.

The second, in cases of severe psychological disorders which may pose a risk to oneself or to others, an admission to a mental healthcare facility would be compulsory for treatment. This decision is made by two psychiatrists, one of whom is from the facility where the patient is being admitted while the second would be identified by the authorities. The individual or their representative will then be informed of the reasons of admission, and the treatment period could last for 45 days, which may be extendable by the Patient Rights Care Committee.

Article 52 of the law outlines penalties, including imprisonment and fines ranging from 50,000 to 200,000 dirhams, or both, for anyone intentionally falsifying medical reports to admit or release individuals from mental health facilities in violation of the law and its regulations.

Additional penalties are imposed for aiding the escape of psychiatric patients or displaying purposeful negligence in their care. These penalties may include imprisonment, fines, or both.

In conclusion, we commend the UAE legislation for its equitable and transparent approach to safeguarding individuals and families across all facets of daily life. By establishing fundamental legal and medical frameworks, it prevents any legislative gaps that could compromise the creation of a secure and thriving society.

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