UAE Labour Law Facts

10 Facts to know if you are working in the UAE

The Labour Law in the UAE covers all aspects of employer-employee relationships, including employment contracts and all other aspects of employment. The laws apply to all the staffs and employees working in the UAE, irrespective of whether they are UAE nationals or expatriates. However, there are few categories which are exempted under the law and have a different set of rules for the nationals and others which are:

  • Staff and workers employed by the Federal government departments of the member-emirates, public bodies, municipalities, federal and local public institutions.
  • Members of armed forces, police and security units
  • Domestic servants
  • Agricultural workers

Your knowledge about the UAE labour law is your power to avoid any legal issues. Any person working in UAE whether he/she is in public or private sector must know these 10 facts.

10 Facts of the UAE Labour Law

1. Right to Annual leave: All workers must take leave on public holidays. The worker shall be entitled to the leave with full payment on the following occasions:

  • New Year day: 1 leave
  • Islamic New Year: 1 leave
  • Eid al Fitr: 2 leaves
  • Eid al Adha and Arafat Day: 4 leaves
  • National Day: 2 days
  • Commemoration Day: 1 leave

Annual leave for a worker every year of service should not be less than the following periods:

  • For 6 months to 1 year of service: 2 leaves for each month
  • For service period exceeding 1 year: 2 leaves for each month
  • In case of terminations: the worker shall be entitled to the annual leave for a fraction of last year.

2. Right to regular pay: The wages should be paid on the work day, at the worksite and in the national currency. Workers who are employed in return of annual or monthly pay package must get paid at least once per month. Your employer cannot force you to buy products from the company of him/her. An employer shall also not force its employees to purchase products or services from the facilities he/she owns.

3. Right to maternity leave: Under the UAE Labour Law, Federal Law No. 8, Article No. 30, “A female worker shall be entitled to maternity leave with full pay for a period of 45 days.” However, the person has to be in full and continuous service with the same employer for the period equal to or more than 1 year. In case the service period is less than 1 year, then she will be entitled to maternity leave and a half pay.

4. Employers cannot keep the passport of employees: An employer has no legal right to keep the passport of his/her employees without the employees’ written consent.

5. The Employer must bear visa expenses: You should never bear the cost of your residency visa, neither you are required to reimburse the cost of Visa at any time. Visa cost and sponsorship is the sole responsibility of the employer, even if the contract is terminated. Any company or employer who asks for the reimbursement of the Visa fees can be punished under the law if found guilty.

 6. Working hour should not be more than 8 hours to 9 hours a day: The maximum working hour for an adult should be 8 hours a day or 48 hours a week.  For employees working in trade, hotels, cafeterias, security services, etc. the working hours can be extended beyond 9 hours. During Ramadan, the regular working hours shall be reduced by 2 hours.

7. You must serve your notice period: Notice period in the UAE is mandatory. When an employee resigns, he/she is obliged to serve the notice period or pay a compensatory amount mentioned in the contract. In case you fail to serve the notice period, you can be banned for a period of up to 1 year.

8. You don’t need employers’ consent for resignation: The Labour Law does not require the approval of the employer for resigning from a job. The employees decide to continue or not. An employer cannot force to quit either.

 9. You are entitled to gratuity even when you resign: “Gratuity pay is calculated based on the most recent salary paid into your account excluding allowances and/or bonuses.”

This depends on the kind of contract you sign with your employer. There are two types of contracts; a limited or fixed-term contract and an unlimited contract.

In the limited or fixed-term contract, the employee agrees to stay with the company for a fixed time period or set a date. If in case the employee resigns before the end of this period, then he/she will face certain consequences; a labour ban, loss of labour rights, or even payment of compensation to the employer.

In the unlimited contract, the rules are different. However, both parties are required to oblige to the notice period mentioned in the contract.

 10. You have the right to grace period after your work Visa is terminated: In case of termination, employees are granted 30 days grace period from the date of cancellation of the contract. In this time period employee can obtain a new residence permit or leave the country. Illegal residents are either fined or deported or both.

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