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Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, today launched ‘Taqdeer’, the world’s first points-based award programme for recognising excellence in labour welfare practices. 

The new initiative acknowledges the labour force’s significant contribution to the UAE’s development. Named after the Arabic word for ‘appreciation’, the Taqdeer Award seeks to promote international best practices in labour welfare in the emirate. 

Focused on the construction sector in its first year, the programme invites companies to participate in the Award by submitting a comprehensive submission document, which will be thoroughly evaluated by a Judging Committee.

Based on the number of points they receive in the evaluation, companies are awarded a rating ranging from one to five stars.

The programme is open to Dubai-based companies in the construction sector that employ manual workers.

 A new approach

Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of Dubai Executive Council and Patron of the Award Sheikh Hamdan said: “Taqdeer is the latest addition to Dubai Government’s recognition programmes that celebrate excellence, innovation and creativity.”

He added: “The Award programme reflects the importance Dubai places on ensuring progressive labour practices in line with global standards.

“The new programme is consistent with the objectives of Dubai Plan 2021 to make Dubai a city of happy, empowered people.

“The extensive evaluation framework of the Award will encourage companies to aspire to high standards in their management of labour.

“We are confident that the Award will help set new benchmarks for good labour practices across sectors and throughout the region.”

Sheikh Hamdan concluded: “We are deeply committed to implementing the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai to ensure the happiness and welfare of the people of Dubai regardless of religion or nationality.

Our objective is to realise Dubai’s vision of becoming one of the world’s best places to work and live.”

Sheikh Hamdan applauded the efforts of the UAE Ministry of Labour to help create a safe environment for labour: “Our country continues to enhance its legal framework for protecting labour rights and enhancing their quality of life.

“This award aims to improve relations between management and labour, which will serve to enhance productivity and loyalty.”

The Crown Prince called on all eligible construction companies to participate in the Award.

Dubai Plan 2021

The Secretary General of the Dubai Executive Council Abdullah Al Shaibani said: “The launch of this initiative by the Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum underscores the priority our leadership gives to labour protection and welfare.

"Taqdeer Award encourages construction companies to fulfil their responsibility to ensure the well-being of labour.”

Al Shaibani added that the Award is aligned with the objectives of Dubai Plan 2021, which seeks to uphold diversity and social cohesiveness based on tolerance, respect and communication, principles that form the guiding thread for the government’s commitment to protect labour rights.

Al Shaibani explained that the Award comes at a time when Dubai’s economic growth is gathering pace with the implementation of several mega projects including the hosting of Expo 2020.

This initiative will encourage construction companies to enhance productivity by improving labour welfare.

New benchmark

Commenting on the Award categories and criteria, Major General Obaid Mohair bin Surour, Chairman of the Permanent Committee of Labour Affairs in Dubai and Deputy Director of the General Directorate for Residency and Foreigners Affairs said: “In developing the Award’s criteria, we looked at the highest international benchmarks in labour welfare, especially those endorsed by the UAE Ministry of Labour and the International Labour Organisation.

“Apart from raising the quality of labour practices, we strongly believe that the Award programme will be instrumental in raising awareness among workers about their rights.

“By fostering better labour practices, the Award will serve to enhance relationships between labour and management in Dubai. We also believe the Award will be a strong incentive for companies to improve satisfaction and happiness among workers.”

Major General Bin Surour added that the first edition of the Award is focused on construction companies.

However, future editions will include factories in free zones where over 500,000 workers are employed.

Companies in the construction sector involved in civil, electrical and mechanical work that have been operating for at least two years and have executed a minimum of two projects in the last two years are eligible for applying to the Taqdeer Award. 

In the first year of the Award, only companies involved in the construction of buildings, roads, bridges, tunnels, plumbing installation and power generation plants are eligible for applying. 

Five-Star rating

Major General Bin Surour explained that applying companies will be evaluated against three main sets of criteria – Essential Fundamentals; Culture and Work Environment; and Results.

The first two criteria are Enabling Factors. Sub-criteria under Essential Fundamentals include labour policies, facilities and infrastructure; health and safety; labour security; and recruitment and wages while Culture and Work Environment cover justice and transparency; labour relations; communication and feedback; creativity and innovation; and administration.

The third main criteria of Results cover labour perceptions and key performance indicators.

Major General Bin Surour further said that the Award programme is based on a comprehensive points system. Companies are given a score out of 1,000.

The total points are distributed equally between Enabling Factors and Results, with a maximum of 500 points for each.

The highest rating of 5–stars is awarded to companies that obtain 700 points or more. Companies that obtain over 550 points receive a 4-star rating while companies with over 450 points get a 3-star rating.

A 2-star rating is awarded to companies with over 300 points while the lowest rating of 1-star is awarded to companies with less than 200 points.

Winners of 5 and 4-star ratings will receive a certificate, enjoy priority in government projects, and will be honoured at an award ceremony to be held next year. Additionally, these top ratings will give companies a competitive advantage in bidding for international contracts.