UAE labor law: important terms, regulations, and key benefits

Walaa Alaghbar
Published 5 months ago on 15 November, 2023-525 views
UAE labor law: important terms, regulations, and key benefits

The UAE Labor Law is a law that aims to protect the rights of employees and workers in various sectors. Ensuring their protection, preserving their health, and providing them with appropriate wages the way they deserve them. The UAE Labor Law undergoes amendments and updates from time to time. The new UAE Labor Law 2023 was recently issued with some updates that everyone interested should review.


What are UAE labor laws?

The UAE labor laws refer to the set of regulations and rules that govern employment and labor practices in the United Arab Emirates. These laws are designed to protect the rights and interests of both employers and employees, ensuring fair treatment, safe working conditions, and appropriate compensation.Some key provisions of the UAE labor laws include:

  • Employment contracts: Employers are required to provide written employment contracts to their employees, outlining terms and conditions of employment such as job description, salary, working hours, leave entitlements, etc.
  • Working hours: The standard working week in the UAE is 48 hours for most industries, with a maximum of 8 hours per day. However, during Ramadan or in certain industries like healthcare or hospitality, working hours may be reduced.
  • Overtime: Employees who work beyond their regular working hours are entitled to overtime pay at a rate higher than their normal hourly wage.
  • Annual leave: Employees are entitled to annual leave after completing one year of continuous service. The minimum annual leave is 30 calendar days for employees who have worked for less than five years and 45 calendar days for those who have worked for more than five years.
  • Sick leave: Employees are entitled to sick leave with full pay for up to 90 days per year if they provide a medical certificate from an authorized medical practitioner.
  • End-of-service benefits: Upon termination of employment, employees are entitled to receive end-of-service benefits based on their length of service and last drawn salary.
  • Health and safety: Employers are responsible for providing a safe working environment and ensuring compliance with health and safety regulations.
  • Discrimination: The UAE labor laws prohibit discrimination based on gender, race, religion, or nationality in recruitment or during employment.

It is important for both employers and employees in the UAE to be aware of these labor laws to ensure compliance and protect their rights.


Benefits of UAE labor laws

Labor laws in UAE
Labor laws in uae

There are several benefits of UAE labor laws that protect the rights and interests of both employees and employers. Some of the key benefits include:

  1. Employee protection: 

UAE labor law provides comprehensive protection to employees, ensuring fair treatment, safe working conditions, and reasonable working hours. These laws cover various aspects such as wages, leave entitlements, termination procedures, and workplace safety.

  1. Minimum wage: 

The UAE labor laws set a minimum wage that employers must adhere to, ensuring that workers receive a fair and decent income for their work.

  1. Working hours: 

The law federal law defines maximum working hours per week and specifies overtime rates for additional work beyond regular hours. This helps prevent exploitation of workers by ensuring they are compensated fairly for any extra time they put in.

  1. Annual leave: 

Employees are entitled to annual leave with full pay as per the labor laws. This allows them to take time off from work to rest, rejuvenate, and spend quality time with their families.

  1. End-of-service benefits: 

UAE labor laws mandate end-of-service benefits for employees who complete a certain period of service with an employer. These benefits include gratuity payments based on the employee’s length of service and salary.

  1. Maternity leave: 

Female employees are entitled to maternity leave with full pay as per the labor laws. This ensures that women have sufficient time to recover from childbirth and bond with their newborns without worrying about losing their income.

  1. Dispute resolution mechanisms: 

The UAE labor laws provide mechanisms for resolving disputes between employers and employees through mediation or legal channels. This helps ensure that any conflicts or grievances can be addressed fairly and efficiently.

  1. Emiratisation initiatives: 

The UAE government has implemented various Emiratisation initiatives aimed at increasing the employment opportunities for its citizens in both public and private sectors. These initiatives encourage companies to hire Emirati nationals by providing incentives and support.

Overall, the UAE labor laws play a crucial role in safeguarding the rights and well-being of employees, promoting a fair and balanced work environment, and supporting the country’s economic growth.

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Terms and regulations in UAE labor law private sector

Terms and regulations of uae labor law
UAE labor law terms and regulations

The UAE Labor Law for the private sector includes several terms and labour law regulations that govern the employment relationship between employers and employees. Some of the key provisions are as follows:

  • Employment Contracts: Employers are required to provide written employment contracts to their employees, which should include details such as job title, salary, working hours, leave entitlements, and termination procedures.
  • Working Hours: The maximum working hours for employees in the UAE is 8 hours per day or 48 hours per week. However, this limit can be increased to 9 hours per day for certain industries or during busy periods.
  • Overtime: If an employee works beyond their normal working hours, they are entitled to receive overtime pay at a rate of at least 25% more than their regular hourly wage.
  • Annual Leave: Employees are entitled to annual leave after completing one year of continuous service with their employer. The minimum annual leave entitlement is 30 calendar days for employees who have completed less than five years of service.
  • Sick Leave: Employees are entitled to sick leave with full pay for up to 90 days per year if they provide a medical certificate from a licensed doctor.
  • End of Service Benefits: When an employee completes one year of continuous service with an employer, they are entitled to end-of-service benefits upon termination or resignation. The benefits vary depending on the length of service and can include gratuity payment, notice period compensation, and repatriation expenses.
  • Termination: Both employers and employees have specific procedures to follow when terminating an employment contract. Notice periods must be given by either party based on the length of service or agreed upon in the employment contract.
  • Health and Safety: Employers are responsible for providing a safe working environment for their employees and must comply with health and safety regulations set by relevant authorities.
  • Discrimination and Harassment: The labor law prohibits discrimination based on race, nationality, gender, religion, or disability. Employers are required to provide a harassment-free workplace.
  • Trade Unions: The UAE Labor Law allows the formation of trade unions and collective bargaining for employees in the private sector. However, there are certain restrictions on their activities.

It is important to note that this is just a summary of some key provisions of the UAE Labour Laws for the private sector. For more detailed information and specific cases, it is advisable to consult the official labor law or seek legal advice.

Types of work arrangements

Any employee can have different types of work arrangements which they can choose the suitable one among those models. The available models are:

  • Full-time: the employee works for a single employer only on a full-time basis.
  • Part-time: you work for one or more employers for limited or specific hours or days.
  • Temporary work: work on a particular assignment, with the contract ending upon completion.
  • Flexible work: your working hours or days can change depending on the employer’s needs.
  • Remote work: all or part of the work is performed outside the workplace or net working from your house.
  • Job sharing: the tasks and duties are shared and divided amongst employees as they agree upon. 

Note: The rules of part-time work apply to these contracts.

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What is the new rule of gratuity in 2022?

The UAE cabinet approved a new labour law and The new gratuity law states that employees who have served for more than a year but under five years are entitled to full gratuity pay. This gratuity is calculated based on 21 days’ salary for each year of work. Employees who have worked more than five years receive a gratuity of 30 days’ pay for each year of work following the first five years.

Do I need to pay if I resign on a limited contract?

It can depend on your contract. In general, employees may be liable to pay the employer early termination compensation if they resign before the term of a limited contract. The pay can be half of three months’ remuneration or half of the remuneration for the residual period if the contract has less than three months left. 

What is the UAE’s new labour law 2023?

The UAE Government updated the Labour Law in 2022. Many of the changes became enforceable in 2023. The newly updated law changed the lengths of certain leaves and established that all employment contracts must be fixed-term.

What is the Legal age of work in the UAE?

In the UAE Children below the age of 15 cannot work, but children between the ages of 15 and 18 years can work. However, they are subject to several conditional rules and must have a juvenile work permit to work.

Why did the new UAE Labour Law come into place?

The new Labour Law which came into force in February 2022 was because The Government hopes the law will enhance employment rights and boost the competitiveness in the region. Ultimately, the Government is looking to attract top talent to its private sector.


In conclusion, we find that the UAE Labor Law is an important law that serves the interest of the United Arab Emirates to guarantee the rights of employees and employers through various and multiple provisions so that the employee does not infringe on the rights of his boss and the employer does not oppress his employees and deprive them of their rights.

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