UAE Labour Law

The UAE's labour law is a comprehensive set of rules for the relationship between an employer and employee. Working hours, leave entitlements, end-of-service bonuses, health and safety regulations, and employment termination are just a few of the employment-related issues addressed by the law. Employers are obligated to follow the law, and any violation could result in penalties, fines, or legal action.

The law specifies the mandatory minimum employment standards for a variety of workers, including expatriates, nationals, and domestic workers. The requirements for a valid employment contract as well as the rights and responsibilities of both parties are among the other topics covered in this section. Written employment contracts that specify the terms and conditions of employment are required to be provided by employers.

UAE Labour Law: Key Articles & Provisions Explained

1. Recruitment and Employment Contracts:

Under the UAE Labour Law, employers must provide a written employment contract to all employees outlining the terms and conditions of their employment. This contract should include details such as job title, remuneration, working hours, leave entitlements, and the duration of the contract (limited or unlimited). Recruitment practices must adhere to non-discrimination principles, and employers are encouraged to prioritize Emirati nationals for employment opportunities through Emiratization initiatives.

2. Work Visas and Residency:

For non-UAE nationals to work in the country, they require a valid work visa sponsored by their employer. Employers are responsible for obtaining work permits and sponsoring employees' residency visas. The process typically involves submitting necessary documentation to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) and the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA). Work visas are usually tied to specific employers and are valid for a fixed term, renewable upon contract renewal.

3. End-of-Service Gratuity:

UEnd-of-service gratuity, also known as termination benefits, is a crucial provision in the UAE Labour Law. Upon completing at least one year of continuous service, employees are entitled to receive a gratuity payment at the end of their employment. The calculation is based on the employee's total years of service and their last drawn basic salary. For employees on limited contracts, the gratuity is calculated as follows: 21 days of basic salary for each year of service for the first five years and 30 days for each subsequent year.

4. Annual Leave and Public Holidays:

Employees in the UAE are entitled to annual leave based on their length of service. Those with less than one year of service receive two days of leave per month, while those with over one year of service receive 30 days of paid leave per year. In addition to annual leave, employees are entitled to public holidays, including religious and national holidays, as per the UAE government's announcement.

5. Sick Leave:

The UAE Labour Law grants employees sick leave entitlements in the event of illness or injury. For sick leave to be paid, employees must present a medical certificate from an authorized medical facility. The duration of paid sick leave varies depending on the length of service, and employees are usually entitled to full pay for the first 15 days of certified sickness.

6. Maternity & Paternity Leave:

Female employees are entitled to maternity leave of 45 days with full pay, provided they have completed at least one year of service. Additionally, they may be entitled to extend their leave for another 100 days without pay. Male employees, on the other hand, are eligible for five days of paternity leave to care for their newborn child.

7. Termination and Notice Periods:

Termination of employment can occur through mutual agreement, resignation, or termination by the employer. The UAE Labour Law stipulates notice periods that both employers and employees must adhere to when terminating employment contracts. The duration of the notice period varies depending on the length of service and the contract type.

8. Working Hours and Overtime:

The standard working hours in the UAE are eight hours per day or 48 hours per week, with one weekly rest day. However, in certain industries, like retail and hospitality, the maximum working hours can extend to nine hours per day. Employees who work beyond their regular hours are entitled to overtime pay, which should not be less than 25% of their regular hourly wage.

9. Working on Public Holidays and Rest Days:

Employees in the UAE are entitled to a weekly rest day, which is typically Friday. However, businesses operating in certain industries may have a different weekly rest day, as agreed upon with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE). If an employee is required to work on a public holiday or their designated rest day, they are entitled to either a compensatory day off or overtime pay. Overtime pay should not be less than 150% of the employee's regular hourly wage. Alternatively, employees and employers may mutually agree for the employee to receive additional pay instead of the compensatory day off.

10. Probation Period:

The UAE Labour Law allows employers to impose a probationary period on newly hired employees. This period enables employers to assess the employee's suitability for the job and provides the employee with an opportunity to evaluate the work environment and job role. The maximum duration of the probationary period is six months. The employer may terminate the employee during this period by serving 14 days’ notice. Further, an employee who intends to resign and join another employer in the UAE during the probation period needs to serve one-month notice. The new employer shall compensate the current employer with recruitment or contract costs. An employee may also resign by serving 14 days’ of notice to the employer if the former intends to depart from the UAE. However, if such employee takes up new employment in the UAE within three months of termination, then the new employer needs to compensate the recruitment and contracts costs to the previous one. Upon successful completion of the probation period, the employment contract continues as a regular contract, and the notice period reverts to the standard duration.

Understanding the various articles and provisions of the UAE Labour Law is essential for employers and employees alike to ensure compliance and protect workers' rights. This glossary provides an overview of some key aspects of the law, including recruitment, visas, gratuity, leave entitlements, and termination procedures. By adhering to the provisions of the UAE Labour Law, organizations can foster a fair and transparent work environment while ensuring the welfare and well-being of their employees

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