UAE Announces New Labour Laws

  • Publish date: Monday، 15 November 2021 Last update: Wednesday، 17 November 2021
UAE Announces New Labour Laws
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The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (Mohre) in the UAE on Monday announced that new labour laws will go into effect in 2nd February 2022.

The authority announced Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 concerning the regulation of labour relations.

The new laws are as follows

3-year contracts

The new law defines one type of contract, namely a limited (or fixed-term) contract, which may not exceed three years and is renewable for a similar or lesser period upon the agreement of both parties.

The provisions of the law shall apply to unlimited contracts enclosed in the Federal Law No. (8) of 1980. It is also resolved to convert employment contracts from unlimited to limited within one year of enforcement of the law. The cabinet may extend this period based on public interest.

Judicial fee exemptions

The decree exempts workers from judicial fees at all stages of litigation, enforcement and petitions filed by workers or their heirs with a value not exceeding Dh100,000.

Under the new law, employers cannot confiscate employees’ official documents. Workers also should not be forced to leave the country after the end of the work term.

The law provides that the employer shall bear the fees and expenses of recruitment and employment and shall not recover them directly or indirectly from the employee.

Leaves in the private sector

Employees are entitled one day paid off with the possibility of increasing weekly rest days at the discretion of the company.

They can also receive a range of leave days, including mourning leave that range between 3-5 days depending on the degree of kinship of the deceased, in addition to the five-day parental leave and other leave days set by the cabinet.

Following two years of work with an employer, workers are entitled to a 10-day study leave per year provided that they are enrolled in an accredited institution within the UAE.

Maternity leave in the private sector

Maternity leave in the private sector can extend to 60 days: 45 days with full wage, followed by 15 days on half wage. New mothers are eligible to receive additional 45 days without pay leave once they finish their initial maternity leave period in case of any post-partum complications or ailment in the new born. They will have to provide supportive documents to apply sick leave.

New mothers of infants with special needs are entitled to a 30-day paid leave after the completion of their initial maternity leave period, renewable for another 30 days with no pay.

Prohibition of discrimination, bullying by employers

The new law protects employees against sexual harassment, bullying, or the use of verbal, physical, or psychological violence by their employers, superiors, and colleagues.

Employers may not use any means of force, threaten to penalise employees or coerce them to perform an action or provide a service against their will.

The law also prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, colour, sex, religion, nationality or disability.

No discrimination against working women

The amendments emphasise that all provisions regulating the employment of workers shall apply without discrimination to working women, with an emphasis on granting women the same wages as men when performing the same task or other duties of equal value.

Employment of teenagers

Employers cannot recruit minors less than 15-years-old.

Teenagers are not allowed to work more than six hours a day with one-hour break and should be allowed to work only after submitting a written consent of a guardian and a medical fitness report.

Teenagers are not allowed to work on shifts from 7pm to 7am or engage in risky jobs that can cause harm to their physical health, ethics and well-being.

Working hours and overtime 

Under the new law, it is prohibited for employees to work over five consecutive hours without at least one-hour break. No more than two hours of overtime are allowed in one day for workers.

Should the nature of the job require more than two hours overtime, employees must receive an overtime wage equivalent to regular hour pay with a 25 per cent increase. If conditions required employees to work overtime between 10pm and 4am, they are entitled to an overtime wage equivalent to regular hour pay with a 50 per cent increase. People on a shift basis are exempted from this rule.

If workers were asked to work on a day off, they must receive a one-day leave or an overtime wage equivalent to the regular day pay with a 50 per cent increase.