Changes in UAE Labour Law-What You Need to Know

Changes in the UAE Labour Law: What You Need to Know

The United Arab Emirates will now have a unified system for both Federal Government employees and those employed in the private sector. From 2nd February 2022, they will have the same leaves of absence as well as the same end-of-service benefits.

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Paid Leave

Full-time employees in both Federal Government organizations and the private sector are eligible for 30 days of annual leave.
Upon completing six months of employment, every employee is eligible for two days of paid leave every month.

Sick Leave

All employees are eligible for 90 days of sick leave in a year. Of this, 15 days are calculated at full pay. 30 days are calculated at half pay, and the remaining 45 days are treated as unpaid leave.

Maternity Leave

Employers are obliged to grant 60 days of maternity leave to eligible employees, calculated at 45 days of full pay and 15 days of half pay. New mothers are also eligible for one hour of leave (this is to facilitate breastfeeding) every day for six months after giving birth. New mothers can apply for a further 45 days of leave without pay if they experience post-partum complications. However, this must be supported by medical documentation.

If the child has special needs, the mother is entitled to 30 days of paid leave after her maternity leave, and another 30 days of leave without pay. Employers cannot terminate a female employee for taking maternity leave, and the employee may combine her maternity leave with any approved holiday.

Paternity Leave

Fathers are eligible for five days of paternity leave, which can be taken either consecutively or separately during the six months following the birth of their child.

Mourning Leave

All employees can avail of five days mourning leave on the passing away of a spouse, and three days mourning leave if it is an immediate family member.

Study Leave

Those enrolled in educational institutions accredited by the United Arab Emirates are eligible for ten days of study leave in a year to help them appear for their examinations.

End-of-service benefits

End-of-service benefits are calculated as a gratuity of 21 days basic salary for every year of service up to five years of work. If the employee has completed more than five years of work, gratuity is to be calculated as 30 days basic pay for every year of service beyond five years.

No gratuity is payable if the employee does not complete a year of service with his/her employer.

Limited Contracts

As per Federal Law No. 47 of 2021, only limited contracts are recognized. A limited contract specifies the start and end dates of employment, and expires on the end date unless renewed further. This is in contrast to an unlimited, or open-ended contract where the employer has the power to terminate the employee at will, or the employee free to leave his employer at any time. There are already safeguards in the law that protect the interests of both employers and employees.

To do away with discrimination in the hiring process, employers are forbidden to recruit employees based on race, nationality, religion, colour, gender, or disability. To make the labour market more competitive, employees will now be allowed to work for more than one employer, provided he/she does not work more than 48 hours in a week, calculated at eight hours per day. This prevents employee burnout as well as employers from taking advantage of their employees.Recognizing that some professions like pilots flying long-haul flights or doctors working overtime to save lives cannot conform strictly to this model, the new law places a cap of 144 hours in three weeks.

Work Models in the UAE

Employees can choose from one of three work models – full-time, part-time, flexible, and temporary.Full-time work is the model in which an employee works for a single employer. Employees cannot work for more than five hours consecutively – there must be at least a break of one hour duration. Employees also cannot work more than two hours of overtime beyond the standard limit of eight hours a day, subject to the cap of 48 hours per week. However, the new law recognizes that there may be extenuating circumstances where an employee has to work more than two hours of overtime to complete the task at hand.

Every hour of overtime work beyond two hours of overtime work is to be compensated with an hourly wage 1.25 times the normal hourly wage. Those working overtime between 10 PM and 4 AM are to be compensated with an hourly wage 1.5 times the normal hourly wage. The law also mandates that every employee be given at least a day off during the week. Any employee asked to work on his/her off day must be compensated with another day off or a wage that 1.5 times the normal daily wage.

*Employers are at liberty to increase the number of off days in a week. This is left to their discretion.

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In the part-time model of work, an employee can work for any number of employees, provided he/she does not exceed eight hours in a day or 48 hours in a week. The flexible model of work involves a contract for a specified number of hours, such as 40 hours of work in total. Depending on the nature of the job, employees can work on any day and any number of hours in day. In the temporary model of work, employees are hired on a project basis or for very specific tasks.Dr. Abdulrahman Abdulmannan Al Awar, the Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, believes that these developments will attract the best talent from around the world to the United Arab Emirates. The changes were approved by Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the United Arab Emirates, as part of the amendments to the law.

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Teenagers above 15 allowed to work

Teenagers are now also allowed to work, provided they have completed 15 years of age. They must have the consent of their parents to work and also produce a certificate of medical fitness. They cannot be employed for more than six hours a day and they must be provided with a one-hour break. They are not allowed to work between 7 PM and 7 AM and cannot engage in jobs that pose a threat to their health, safety, and well-being.A&A Associate LLC is a provider of legal and corporate services in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It has been of professional assistance to clients from 100 countries around the world and has an excellent client satisfaction rate so far. For all matters pertaining to business setup in Dubai and the rest of the United Arab Emirates, please get in touch with us at +971 56 408 6728 or use the form below to send us a message.

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