The New UAE Labor Law entered into force on the 2 February 2022.

We have received significant number of queries since the entry into force of the new UAE Labour Law regarding the impact of the new legislation on the the rights and obligations of employees in the country.

The present post is aimed to give answer to the main questions arisen to date out of actual practice mainly addressing the following topics:

– Maternity
– Periods of the employment contract
– Leave of absence and working days
– Dismissals and termination of contracts

Our top 10 questions on the New UAE Labor Law are the following:

1. Does the New UAE Labor Law impact the UAE working day?

No, it does not.

The normal working day was and continues to be 8 hours per day, or 48 hours per week. However, this working timings may vary, up and down, with the approval (when in the up for certain sectors) of the Ministry of Manpower and Emiratisation.

2. How many days of maternity leave am I entitled to?

The law establishes a total of 60 days off work, receiving full pay for the first 45 days and half pay for the last 15 days. The mother’s right to obtain other leave is respected at all times.

In case of illness of the mother or the newborn child, mothers have the right to extend their leave by 45 days (continuous or interrupted) without the right to receive salary. If a to be mother suffers a miscarriage after month 6 of pregnancy, she would also entitled to a maternity leave of 60 days.

If the child is born with an illness or faces a disability, with health conditions that require constant accompaniment, the mother can get an additional 60 days of leave, 30 days with full pay and 30 days with half pay.

3. Is there a maximum duration of my employment contract?

The employment contract will be signed for a period not exceeding 3 years and may be extended or renewed by agreement between the parties. If this period is exceeded without being extended or renewed, the original contract will be understood to be extended.

Unlimited contracts do not longer exist under UAE Labor Law.

4. How many days of sick leave am I entitled to per year?

If you are in your probation period, you are not entitled to paid sick leave. However, after the probation period, you will be entitled to a total of 90 paid sick days per year. Of these 90 days, 15 will be paid at full salary, 30 at half salary and 45 will be without compensation.

5. Is there a maximum time limit for the probation period under the New UAE Labor Law?

The maximum period for the probation period is 6 months. If an employee wants to change employer within this period, he/she has to give written notice one month before the day he/she wants to terminate the contract.

6. Can my boss force me to work in something other than my casual activity?

No it can’t on long term basis. It can on short term force majeure basis.

The employer cannot assign the employee to take on work that is “fundamentally different” from that agreed in the contract. However, there is an exemption where such work is necessary to prevent an accident or damage, provided that the different role is on a temporary basis.

In the event that this would happen, the employee was assigned to a role fundamentally different from the scope of work agreed in the agreement, the Employee could leave his or her job without having to respect the notification timings to the employer in advance.

7. Does the New UAE Labor Law include my right to weekly rest?

Yes, the worker is entitled to at least 1 day of weekly rest

8. Is there a notice period for the termination of my contract?

Yes unless your employer has the right to terminate the contract on imminent basis (reference to question 9 below).

If the reason for termination does not fall within the reasons stated in Question 9 below, employers and employees will need to place each other on notice of their respective desire to terminate the employment. This could imply giving notice from 30 to 90 days.

To complement this question we further note the reasons that may give rise to the legal termination of the employment:

“1- Both parties agree upon its termination in writing.
2- Expiry of the period specified in the contract, unless it is extended or renewed in accordance with the provisions of this Decree-Law.
3- At the request of either party, provided that the provisions of this Decree-Law regarding termination of the Employment Contract and the Notice Period agreed upon in the contract are observed.
4- Death of the Employer if the subject of the contract is related to him in person.
5- Death or permanent total disability of the Worker, as evidenced by a certificate issued by the Medical Entity.
6- Sentencing the Worker by a final judgment with a freedom-restricting penalty for a period of not less than (3) three months.
7- Permanent closure of the Establishment, in accordance with the legislation in force in the State.
8- Bankruptcy or insolvency of the Employer or any economic or exceptional reasons that prevent the continuation of the project, in accordance with the conditions, rules and procedures specified in the Implementing Regulation and the legislation in force in the State.
9- Failure of the Worker to meet the conditions for renewing the Work Permit for any reason beyond the control of the Employer.”

9. Can I be dismissed without cause and without notice?

The New UAE Labor Law recognizes a total of 10 cases in which the employee can be dismissed without notice:

– The impersonation of another person, the sending of false certificates or documents.
– Causing an error that causes substantial losses to the employer or causing damage to the employer’s property.
– Violation of the legal instructions of the establishment regarding safety at work.
– In case the employee fails to demonstrate his basic duties in accordance with his employment contract.
– Leaking of a work secret related to industrial or intellectual property that causes damage or loss to the employer.
– The presence of the employee at his workplace under the influence of alcohol or other substances, as well as the breach of public morals at his workplace.
– The worker assaults the employer, the manager, a superior or colleagues during work.
– Absence from work without cause or without the employer’s permission for 20 interrupted days per year or 7 consecutive days.
– The employee uses his position in an illegal manner for personal gain or profit.
– Change of establishment without complying with legal rules and procedures.

Despite the entitlement to the Employer, it is mandatory that the Employer has initiated a written investigation into the employee’s conduct and the decision of the dismissal must be in writing, justified and given to the employee.

10. Is there such a thing as unfair dismissal under the New UAE Labor Law?

The New UAE Labour Law recognizes as unlawful the termination of a contract as a consequence of a formal complaint filed with the Ministry of Human Resources or the initiation of legal proceedings by the Employee against the Employer. Should this occur, the Employee could be entitled to financial compensation based on the type of work, the damage suffered by the employee and the duration of the contract.

This is the only termination that in principle would justify an arbitrary dismissal claim.

We trust that these are of help and look forward to assisting you addressing new questions about the new law or assisting you in a labor dispute in the UAE. Kindly check our labor law services here.

Evidently the above is not intended as legal advice and merely as a note of general application based on the verbatim text of the New UAE Labor Law. For access to full text of the law you may click here.