Labor laws are crucial and apply to all the emirates in the UAE. These laws come under federal legislation. They are imposed by the Ministry of Labor and social affairs with legal disputes settled by the local and federal courts. These laws are applicable for both expatriates and the UAE nationals who are working in the UAE.
The UAE labor laws and its amendments are provided by the federal law no.8 of 1980.
Labor laws in the UAE cover all the details of employment/labor contracts, leave rules, discipline codes, injuries, and hazards, labor inspections, medical care, the safety of workers, end of the contract, social care, penalties, etc. enhancing employee and employer relationships.
UAE LABOR LAWS:
Workers, Juveniles, and women employment laws
- If the national workers are unavailable then the priority will be given to Arab nationals then to nationals of other non-Arab countries.
- If employers recruit national worker then they have to notify this to the labor department by issuing a written letter within 15 days.
- If employers recruit a worker who is not a UAE national then he can work upon the approval of the labor department after receiving the work permit for the worker from the MOL (Ministry of Labor).
- It is prohibited to employ juveniles if they are below 15 years.
- In case, if the juvenile is employed, there has to be a written consent from the guardian/custodian and the employer has to maintain a record which has juvenile’s details.
- They are not allowed to work between 8 pm to 6 am. The maximum working hours are 6 hours per day. And they are prohibited to work overtime.
- Women are not required to work in between 10 pm to 7 am, except under certain situations, like employees in technical/administrative departments or other jobs that are determined by the Ministry of Labor.
- A working woman is allowed for maternity leave with full payment for a period of 45 days including pre/post delivery. On the terms that her tenure should not be less than a year. If her tenure is less than a year, then maternity leave shall be granted with half pay.
- Both women and juveniles are not allowed to work in hazardous/immoral workplaces ensuring their safety.
Employment contracts, records, and remuneration
- An employment contract must include the date of commencement, date of employment contract, terms of the contract, internships and vocational training contracts), nature of the contract (unlimited or limited), compensation, and designation.
- Part-time work permits allow the holder to work at multiple places and are available for a period of 1 year. They are generally applied by the college, university students.
- Short-term or temporary labor permit is applied by an individual who is above 18 years of age. It is a 60-days permit and can be renewed up to 5 times. UAE and GCC nationals cannot apply for this permit
- Employers will have all the details(nationality, profession, name, age, etc) of an employee in their records. They also register wages, workplace injuries, daily working hours, penalties, etc.
- Remuneration for workers will be in a written statement and paid(day-wise, month-wise or year-wise) accordingly.
- Money can be deducted from the remuneration due to several reasons like fines, debts, installments, any subscriptions, loss/damage to the company’s products, etc.
- The payment/wage is paid to the employee as per the contract terms.
Leaves and Working Hours
- An employee will be entitled with official leaves with full pay on public holidays (10 days in a year).
- An employee with more than 6 months and less than one-year experience can take leave for 2 days per month and the employee who has an experience of more than one year can take leave for overall 30 days per year.
- Sick leave cannot exceed a period of 90 days in a year. If it happens, the worker will receive the whole pay for the first 15 days, he receives half-pay for the next 30 days and then no payment will be received for the next 45 days.
- Special leave is available for a period of 30 days in a year in the name of Hajj. This leave is granted once throughout the employees years of experience.
- Normal working hours are 8 hours per day or 48 hours per week. However employees working for hotels, restaurants, watchmen, etc can exceed their working hours to 9 hours as per the Ministry of Labor. Two hours are reduced from the working hours at the time of Ramadan.
- Daily wage workers may not work more than 2 successive Fridays.
- In case if the job of a worker demands on overtime, then he will be paid a rate which is equal to the regular working hours plus 25% extra of per day wage and 50% if he works between 9 pm to 4 am.
Terminating employment contract
- If both employee and employer are ready to suspend the employment contract then they can end the contract term in writing.
- If an employer wishes to end the contract then he/she has to serve the notice period as per the law to cancel the contract.
- Overtime pay balance, settlement of pending payments, end of service gratuity, etc are calculated and settled before the termination of the contract. If the employer has more than one year of experience he is eligible for gratuity.
- If the employer terminates the employee, the employer bears repartition expenses and if the employee terminates the employment contract by himself, then the employer is not liable to repartition expenses.
- The maximum period for probation is 6 months. The employee or employer can terminate the employment contract during this period. The wages, benefits, etc can be settled along with repartition cost, if the contract is terminated by the employee.
- Expats are not eligible for retirement. They are allowed to work until 60 years of age. The company provides UAE pension, end of service payout and gratuity for the people who are between 60-65 years of age before ending the employment contract.
- Generally, a written statement is issued if there is any fault committed by the employer or employee before imposing the fine.
- Fines charged on the employer depends on the number of employees with regards to whom the violation was committed, on the condition that the total fine of the penalty imposed will not exceed 3 times the maximum limit of the fixed fine.
Labor Law Exceptional Cases:
The following are the exceptional cases where labor laws are not followed:
- Federal government department workers who work for municipalities, member emirates, public bodies, local, public and federal institutions.
- Domestic and agricultural servants
- Police, scrutiny units and armed forces members.
Labour Laws are put into force for the benefits of both employees and employers. These laws are vital for companies who devote their focus to profitability and productivity. They provide a hassle-free environment and structured workplace. The main objective of labor laws is to ensure the safety of employees from employers and promote integrity between them.