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11 UAE job issues: answers to your top questions


DUBAI – Awareness of the UAE labour laws can go a long way in helping you navigate your way around the workplace with ease.

We give you 11 frequently asked employment issues and what the law says.

Who is entitled to gratuity pay?

A worker who has spent one year or more in continuous service shall be entitled to an end of service gratuity upon the termination of his service. The days of absence from work without pay shall not be included in the calculation of the period of service, and the gratuity shall be calculated as follows:

1. The wage of 21 days for each of the first five years of service.

2. The wage of 30 days for every additional year.

The total gratuity must not exceed the wage of two years.

How should salary be paid?

A worker’s salary should be paid on a work day in the national currency. Workers engaged on yearly or monthly salaries shall be paid at least once a month. All other employees shall receive their remuneration at least once every two weeks. Those paid per project shall be paid on the basis of the average pay received for actual days of work during the period of six months prior to the end of service.

What are my legal working hours?

Employees are given a maximum of eight hours of work per day, or forty eight hours per week. This may be increased to nine hours per day for people employed in trade, hotels, cafeterias, security and other jobs as decided by the Minister of Labour. The daily number of working hours may also be reduced for strenuous or harmful works by virtue of a decision from the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs. The ordinary working hours shall be reduced by two hours during Ramadan. Break time is not included in the working hours.

What do I get for working overtime?

Any additional working period shall be deemed an overtime, for which the worker shall be paid a wage equivalent to the ordinary hourly wage with an addition of at least 25 per cent of the said wage. Overtime working hours may not exceed two hours per day, unless such work is necessary. This rule does not apply to anyone occupying high-ranked managerial or supervisory positions or crew of naval vessels.

What if I have an overnight shift?

If an employee is required to work between 9pm and 4am, the worker shall be entitled to a wage equivalent to the ordinary hourly wage with an addition of at least 50 per cent of the said wage. This rule does not apply to anyone occupying high-ranked managerial or supervisory positions or crew of naval vessels.

What if I work on Friday?

Friday is considered a holiday in the UAE. Employees required to work on this day shall be entitled to a substitute rest day, or to the basic wage for the ordinary working hours in addition to 50 per cent at least of the said wage. The employeer may not be requested to work for more than two consecutive Fridays. This rule does not apply to anyone occupying high-ranked managerial or supervisory positions or crew of naval vessels.

Annual leave

An employee is entitled to an annual leave of no less than the following periods:

1. Two days for each month should the period of service of the worker be of at least six months.

2. Thirty days for each year should the period of service of the worker exceed one year.

If an employee is required to work during the leave period, he or she will be given a substitute leave as well as an increase in the wage amounting to 50 percent thereof. Should the employee not be granted a substitute leave, the employer shall pay to the worker an additional sum to the basic salary thereof amounting to 150 per cent with regards to the days of work. It shall be unlawful in any circumstances for an employer to ask a worker to forego his annual leave more than once in two successive years.

Sick leave

A regular employee is entitled to a sick leave not exceeding 90 consecutive or non consecutive days for every year of service, calculated as follows :

1. First 15 days with full pay

2. The following 30 days with half pay

3.  The following periods without pay

The employee shall not be entitled to sick leave with pay if the illness was caused by consumption of alcohol or narcotics. Any employee under probation is not entitled to any paid sick leave.

What are the disciplinary rules an employer can give?

The disciplinary rules that may be inflicted by the employer shall be:

1. Warning

2. Fine

3. Suspension with reduced pay for a period not exceeding 10 days

4. Deprivation from or deferment of periodic bonus in establishments containing a system for such bonuses

5. Deprivation from promotion in establishments applying a system for such promotion

6. Dismissal from work without prejudice to the end of service gratuity

7. Dismissal from work and deprivation from the total end of service gratuity or a part thereof.

What if I decide to quit my job?

You must notify your employer in writing at least 30 days prior to the termination of the contract. The employer may also terminate your employment contract with valid grounds at any time after notifying you in writing at least thirty days prior to the termination of the contract.

The notice period shall be as follows:

1. One week should the worker have worked for a period of at least six months

2.  Two weeks should the worker have worked for a period of one year

3. One month should the worker have worked for a period of five years

Can my employer fire me without notice?

Yes, under these circumstances:

1. Should the worker assume false identity or nationality, or submits false certificates or documents.

2. Should the worker be appointed under probation, and the dismissal occur during or at the end of the probation period.

3. Should the worker commit an error resulting in colossal material losses to the employer, provided that the Labour Department is notified of the incident within 48 hours of the knowledge of the occurrence thereof.

4. Should the worker violate the instructions related to the safety at work or in the work place, provided that such instructions be written and posted in a prominent location, and that he is notified thereof should he be illiterate.

5. Should the worker fail to perform his main duties in accordance with the employment contract, and fail to remedy such failure despite a written investigation on the matter and a warning that he will be dismissed in case of recidivism.

6. Should he divulge any of the secret of the establishment where he works.

7. Should he be convicted in a final manner by the competent court in a crime of honour, honesty or public ethics.

8. Should he be found in a state of drunkenness or under the influence of a narcotic during work hours.

9. Should he assault during the work the employer, responsible manager or co-worker.

10. Should he be absent without valid cause for more than 20 non-consecutive days in one year, or for more than seven consecutive days.


Source: Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation. For labour issues, call 800665


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