by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Labour Law
in the UAE is loosely based on the International Labour
Organisation's model. UAE Law No. 8 of 1980, as amended by Law No.
12 of 1986 (the "Labour Law") governs most aspects of
employer/employee relations, such as hours of work, leave,
termination rights, medical benefits and repatriation. The Labour
Law is protective of employees in general and overrides
conflicting contractual provisions agreed under another
jurisdiction, unless they are beneficial to the employee.
Ministry issues a model form of labour contract in Arabic which is
widely used, but other forms of contract are enforceable, provided
they comply with the Labour Law. End of contract gratuities are
set at 21 days pay for every year of the first five years of
service and 30 days for every year thereafter. Total gratuity
should not exceed two years' wages. Employees are entitled to
pro-rated amounts for service periods less than a full year,
provided they have completed one year in continuous service.
unions do not exist. In the case of a dispute between employer and
employee, or in interpretation of the Labour Law, the Ministry of
Labour and Social Affairs will initially act as an adjudicator, in
an effort to resolve matters. If a party wishes to appeal any such
decision it can take its case to court. Strikes and lock outs are
Hours and Holidays
normal maximum working hours are eight per day or 48 per week.
However, these hours may be increased to nine daily for people
working in the retail trade, hotels, restaurants and other such
establishments. Similarly, daily working hours may be reduced for
difficult or dangerous jobs. Many businesses work on a two shift
system (for example, 8am - 1pm and 4pm - 7pm). As in all Muslim
countries, Friday is the weekly day of rest. In practice,
commercial and professional firms work 40-45 hours a week and
government ministries about 35. The weekend for office workers has
traditionally been Thursday afternoon and Friday, but a number of
organisations have changed over to a five day week with Friday and
Saturday as the weekend. During the Muslim holy month of Ramadan,
normal working hours are reduced by two hours per day.
are 10 days of public holidays (paid) in any year. The employee's
annual leave is two days for every month if his service is more
than six months and less than a year. In every completed year of
service after the first, an employee is entitled to 30 days annual
paid leave. This is in addition to public holidays, maternity
leave for women and sick leave.
is used extensively and additional pay is required for manual and
lower ranking staff.