Labor Laws in the UAE: Know Your Rights in Detail

 Many ex-pats find Dubai’s labor laws as a hard nut to crack. They may have some basic ideas about the regulations, but they never bother to understand them thoroughly. Resultantly, it all ends up to a never-ending predicament. Therefore, you need to understand these laws so as to prolong and save your employment in the emirates.

Starting from scratch, the labor law is a federal law that is applicable to everyone working in the UAE, irrespective of their nationality. However, security forces, domestic servants, farmers, and federal and local government personnel are exempted from these rules. Although the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs is in charge of enforcing these labor laws on all UAE based workers, these are the federal and local courts that resolve disputes regarding violations.  

Labor rights are very well protected in the UAE since the emirate covers every possible aspect between employees and employers. All the issues regarding compensation, employment contracts, working hours, employment of juveniles and women, medical and social security, and employment termination, fall under the jurisdiction of labor law.

Therefore, an attempt has been made to illustrate important aspects of Dubai’s labor law. This will enable you to know your rights.


Prerequisites for Employment  

If you want to work in the emirate, you need to submit an employment application and a formal contract to the Ministry of Labor, as per the labor law. You will get a permit of three years, once the ministry approves the expatriate’s employment. However, you will have to renew your permit for the same period by the end of the previous contract. On the contrary, the UAE nationals don’t need any permits.

Employment Contract

According to labor law, the employment contract is not valid in the absence of    

  • The initiation date of the contract
  • The commencement date of the contract
  • The designation on which the company hires the employee
  • The compensation the employee will receive
  • The nature of the contract

The next thing to consider is that there are two types of employment contracts. One is a limited contract that lasts for a specific time period with the proper inclusion of commencement and completion dates on the contract. The maximum duration of the validation of the contract is four years. The parties can, however, renew the contract if they want to. Another type is unlimited contact that has no completion date. If one of the parties wants to back out from the contract, they can do this with mutual agreement. However, there should be 30 days prior notice. In case the employer ends the contract with no solid reason, the employee will get compensation for that.

Period of Probation

The Dubai labor law illustrates that the maximum period of probation is six months. The employer has a right to terminate the contract at any time during this period. Although they won’t receive any gratuity or damages if the contract is terminated, they can recover their salary and the repatriation costs.

In the case where employees manage to complete their probation period, the company is liable to give them all terminal benefits and gratuity, aside from compensation in lieu of notice or end-of-service gratuity. As the law does not make it mandatory to have a probationary period, so these are the companies that decide whether or not the employees can complete this notice term.  

Working Hours

Like the rest of the world, the normal working hours in the UAE are eight hours per day. This does not include traveling time, nevertheless. That means you have to work 48 hours a week. However, hotels, restaurants, cafes, restaurants, and security agencies extend their timings to nine hours a day.

For overtime, employees (aside from marine workers and those employed in senior executive positions) must be given a 25 percent increment in addition to their regular working hours. This whole will depend on the timings of the overtime period. For instance, if you are doing overtime between 9 PM to 4 PM, then you won’t get less than 50% increment.

You should also know about overtime working at the weekend. The law states that if the employees are working on the weekends as per the requirements of their companies, they will either receive a day off during the week or they can receive payment and the 50 percent increment on the wage of that day.

Law for Safety Measure

Articles 91-101 of the federal labor law are linked to employee safety and healthcare issues. As per the law, an employer should make sure that:

  • Employers should provide proper gear to employees to minimize occupational hazards.
  • Companies must have properly displayed fire preventive measures.
  • There should be proper arrangements for first aid kits.
  • The working environment must be clean and hygienic.
  • Employees should receive Medicare facilities as per the directions of the Ministry of labor laws.
  • No alcoholic items on the premises.
  • The company should give proper transportation, accommodation, and drinking water arrangements.
  • Arrangement of food, but at employees’ expense

To cut the long story short, you can always hire lawyers in Dubai in case you land yourself in hot water. However, it’s always the safest option to know the rules on your own in the first place.

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