UAE Ramadan shorter work hours: Your rights explained

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UAE Ramadan reduced work hours: Your rights explained

What are your rights if you are asked to work regular hours or more than six hours during Ramadan in the UAE?

During Ramadan, the work hours for employees are reduced by two hours per day, regardless of the employee’s religion. This means that private sector employees only work a maximum of six hours per day during Ramadan or 36 hours per week. In all cases, the total working hours including overtime during Ramadan shall not exceed 144 hours every three weeks.

For government employees, the work hours during Ramadan is from 9am to 2:30pm from Monday to Thursday, and from 9am to 12pm on Friday.

The UAE Labour Law on shorter work hours during Ramadan applies to all employees and companies in the private sector, except for those working in companies within the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM).

What if you are asked to work more than 6 hours during Ramadan?

If you are asked to work more than six hours per day during Ramadan, then this would be considered overtime work. However, under the UAE Labour Law, your company is only allowed to ask you to work overtime for a maximum of two hours per day. This means your maximum work hours per day during Ramadan, including overtime, must only be eight hours per day or 48 hours per week on a six-day work week. Employees that are asked to render overtime work during Ramadan will be entitled to overtime payment.

How to calculate overtime pay in UAE

If the employee is asked to do overtime work during normal work hours, then the overtime pay is calculated according to the basic wage, plus an increase of not less than twenty five percent of that wage. If the overtime work falls between 10pm and 4am, then the overtime pay is calculated according to the basic wage plus an increase of not less than fifty percent of that wage.

Who are exempted from overtime pay?

Under the UAE Labor Law, the overtime pay during Ramadan or on regular days does not apply to the following categories of employees: board chairman, board members, supervisors, naval crews, seafarers, employees whose work is of technical nature requiring continuous work, and employees working on shifts or whose work must be done outside of the normal working day.

What is the rule in DIFC and ADGM?

In the DIFC, only Muslim employees can avail of reduced work hours during Ramadan. In ADGM, only Muslim employees who are fasting can have reduced work hours during Ramadan.

What if your company doesn’t cut your work hours during Ramadan?

You can file a complaint with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation or the relevant free zone authority where your company is based. Violating companies face a fine of between Dh5,000 and Dh1 million under the UAE Labour Law.

In DIFC, the violation can be considered indirect discrimination in the workplace and the violating company may be asked to pay a compensation of up to one year’s salary to the worker. In ADGM, the court may order the company to pay a maximum of three year’s salary as compensation to the worker.

What if you are asked to work during your weekend?

Under the UAE law, employees asked to work during their weekend must be compensated with another day off or paid an equivalent of the day’s salary plus not less than fifty percent of the basic wage for that day. So, if your daily salary is Dh200 and you work on your day off, you must be paid Dh300 for that day.

Companies are only allowed to let their employees work during their day off for up to two consecutive weekends. The rule does not apply to employees working during the day.

What are the work hours during regular days?

Under the UAE Labour Law, regular work hours must not exceed eight hours per day or 48 hours per week on a six-day work week, but employers are allowed to make their employees work overtime for a maximum of two hours per day. ICA/Expat Media


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