UAE Labour Law: Working Hours, Overtime, Official Leaves, and Vacations

Understanding your rights in terms of work duty hours, overtime pay, paid holidays and sick leaves as per UAE Labour.

For those who have been working in the UAE or those who have plans to work here, it is important to be aware and understand the UAE Labour Laws.  It is important that you know your rights and responsibilities. In terms of work duty hours, official leaves and paid holidays, please go over this article to know what are the terms and conditions.

Also Read: List of Public Holidays in UAE

There is a new UAE Labour Law covers those working in the private sector in the UAE and was implemented since January 2016.  The agency responsible for enforcing the new UAE Labour Law is the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE), formerly called the Ministry of Labour. The workforce is considered as UAE’s greatest asset. The MoHRE is committed to ensuring a protected work environment where workers are employed equitably and that people are in a safe working environment.

uae labour work hours

Employment terms and conditions, such as salary, working hours, official leaves, and paid vacations are mandated by the UAE Labour Law. Authorities conduct checks to ensure the companies are abiding by the Labour Law.

Know Your Rights on Work Hours, Leaves and Vacations

Terms and conditions of employment are made to avoid conflict and possible confusion. This serves as a guide for expatriate and employees working in the private sector in the UAE, particularly when it comes to the following: working hours, leaves and vacation.

Working hours:  It is also helpful to know so as to protect your rights and duties as a worker when it comes to working hours.  Under Article 65 of the Labour Law,   the regular working hours is 48 hours per week or 8 hours a day for a total of 6 working days. Overtime pay may be considered if the job demands working beyond normal working hours. Overtime pay is equivalent to the rate for regular working hours, plus 25% of the said amount. This may be raised to 50% when overtime work was performed between 9:00 in the evening and 4:00 in the morning.

Employees who work in cafeterias, hotels, security, trade and other related jobs may work for nine (9) hours per day – provided that approval has been sought from the MoHRE.   For jobs that involve “heavy” physical labour, working for more than the seven (7) hours per day is not allowed.

Also Read

During the holy month of Ramadan, regular working hours are decreased by two (2) hours per day, whether the employee is Muslim or non-Muslim. Employees still receive their regular pay at the end of the month. Even if there were reduced hours of work, their pay is not affected.

Official Leave and Vacations:  Friday is considered the official weekend in the UAE, except for daily wage workers. Should employees work on as Friday, a corresponding overtime pay equivalent to the regular working day rate plus an increase of not less than 50% of said amount is due to the employee.

Annual Leave:  The employee’s annual leave is two (2) days for every month, if the service is more than six (6) months and less than one (1) year.    For employment period of more than one (1) year of service, an employee is entitled to paid annual leave of 30 days for each year of service.  This is in addition to public holidays, sick leave, and maternity leave for women.  Terms and conditions are subject to the conditions stated in the Law.

Sick Leave: Employees are entitled to sick leave of not more than 90 days per year, whether continuous or not, in respect of length of service. The employees are entitled to leaves wages during the first 45 days of sickness as follows: full wage will be received for the first 15 days; half wage for the next 30 days; and no wage for the following period.

Special Leave:  Special leave, specifically for the performance of Hajj, must be given to the employee by the employer of no more than 30 days. This is a special leave without pay and allowed only once throughout the worker’s years of service.  This period is not part of any leave to which the employee is entitled to.

Public Holidays: Public holidays in the UAE are classified into two categories – those that are based on the standard Gregorian calendar (with 365 days) and those based on Islamic holidays, following the Hijri calendar (with 354 days).   Employees are entitled to get paid during holidays. The following are the paid holidays in the UAE for 2018:

Holiday Name & Number of Days

  • Hijri New Year – 1 day
  • New Year – 1 day
  • Eid Al Fitr  (end of Ramadan) – 2 days
  • Waqfa Day and Eid Al Adha – 3 days
  • Prophet Mohammed’s Birthday – 1 day
  • Isra and Liraj or Ascension Day – 1 day
  • Martyr’s Day – 1 day
  • UAE National Day – 1 day

During these official holidays, you are entitled to full pay if you are working in the private sector.

There is more information about the labour law available from the MoHRE website. These are just basic information to help you understand what may be covered by the new UAE Labour Law.

Note: Please take note that information posted above is only a guideline and should not be based on if you have legal concerns. It is best to seek legal advice and contact MoHRE for your specific situation if you have any issues. We hope the info will give you a better insight, but it should not be used a basis. 

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