UAE’s new Labour Law explained: All you need to know about the 2022 changes

A few months ago, there was an important announcement in the UAE regarding a few changes to the Labour Law. The UAE government introduced these modifications to the way employment in the private sector operates. In case you are working in the UAE, you need to be aware of them to ensure compliance.

In this article, you will learn all you have to know about the recent changes to the UAE Labour Law. These include new work options, more flexible work models and contracts, protection for employees, and more. By learning about these outstanding changes that were recently implemented, you will know how they can benefit you. Let us observe:

  1. What is the UAE Labour Law and what are the most recent changes to it?
  2. Are there new work options available now for employees in the UAE?
  3. Does the new UAE Labour Law include modifications in the employment contracts?
  4. How do the new changes to the Labour Law improve protection for employees?
  5. What should you know about paid leave in the UAE as per the new Labour Law?
  6. Other details you should learn about the new UAE Labour Law
  7. How can Connect Resources help get more information about the new UAE Labour Law?

1. What is the UAE Labour Law and what are the most recent changes to it?

In February 2022, the UAE Cabinet introduced a set of new rules to the Labour Law to make important changes. These amended laws, which were first outlined and announced by the government in November 2021, have an essential objective. They will provide many that were previously not available, as they strengthen workers’ rights.

On the other hand, you should also know that the new changes will modify the way employment operates in the private sector. For example, the new UAE Labour Law will implement flexible working and shared jobs, as well as shorter, fixed-term contracts. Moreover, private sector employees will now be allowed to stay in the UAE for 180 days after leaving their jobs.

In the case of job shares, these were introduced to suit students and individuals returning to the workplace. But apart from all of these changes and new elements, the new Labour Law also includes important changes regarding leave. For example, maternity leave policies will have new modifications that you should know about if you work in the UAE and this applies to you.

However, in case you are the owner of a private sector company in the country, you will be required to be aware of these changes for your employees. UAE officials have announced that private sector company owners must strictly follow the new rules to prevent severe legal consequences, such as fines and penalties for non-compliance, which can be costly in most cases.

2. Are there new work options available now for employees in the UAE?

The new Labour Law in the UAE states that if an employee works 40 hours a week in line with their contract under condensed hours option, they can work those hours over 3 days now. This is what the Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, Dr. Abdulrahman Al Awar, mentioned when announcing the new changes to the Labour Law.

There will now be other flexible working options, such as shared jobs. This type of job consists of two people doing the same job while splitting the hours. However, this option is feasible if the employer agrees to this type of arrangement before allowing it.

Apart from the ones we previously mentioned, there are other work options, such as:

  • Employees are now allowed to work for more than one employer. However, it can only be possible for a specific number of working hours or days.
  • The new UAE Labour Law also allows individuals to take on work for a temporary period in order to complete a particular task.
  • Due to the recent modifications to the law, working hours or days can now be changed. Nonetheless, it will depend on the workload and the employer’s needs. Furthermore, employers may allow employees to choose the times they work as well.

According to Dr. Hassan Elhais, a legal consultant in the UAE, the headline changes of the law include several elements. For instance, the abolition of unlimited contracts and the new work models (flexi-time, part-time, work and supplementary leave) are some of them.

3. Does the new UAE Labour Law include modifications in the employment contracts?

All employment contracts in the UAE will be limited. In other words, employees working on indefinite/permanent contracts will now be working on fixed-term contracts of up to 3 years. These contracts can be renewed if necessary.

Regarding probation periods, their duration cannot exceed 6 months. To terminate employees during this period, a 2-week notice must be given.

But, in case an employee desires to change jobs during their probation period, they must give a month’s notice. In that case, the new employer must compensate the former employer by taking care of the visa costs and hiring expenses.

4. How do the new changes to the Labour Law improve protection for employees?

Another important aspect of the new UAE Labour Law is the prohibition of discrimination in any form, including race, gender, color, religion, social origin, nationality, disability, etc. The new laws will provide more protection for employees against harassment as well.

Furthermore, there will be a new minimum wage in the country. According to Dr. Hassan Elhais, the new law will set a new minimum wage as per Article 27 of the new Labour Law. The introduction of a new minimum wage will be set by a proposal from the Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation in collaboration with other UAE authorities. 

These are other outstanding things that the new Labour Law includes to strengthen protection for employees:

  • If employees work overtime, employers cannot force them to work more than 2 hours of overtime a day. And in case their job requires them to work overtime, employers must pay them 25 percent more than their regular hourly rate.
  • Employers are not allowed to withhold employees’ documents. For example, some of those documents can be passports and other personal papers.
  • Employees will not need to pay any legal fees in case they file labour cases against their employers. This applies if they are filing cases for compensation of less than AED 100,000. But if the amount of the compensation is higher than that, they will have to pay certain fees.
  • The new UAE Labour Law also allows the payment of end-of-service gratuity in UAE dirhams or an employee’s chosen currency. But this will be possible as agreed upon in the employment contract. And employers must pay end-of-service entitlements within 14 days.
  • Employment contracts can be terminated without notice for 10 particular reasons.

5. What should you know about paid leave in the UAE as per the new Labour Law?

All employees must have no less than one rest day, and depending on their contract, they can have more. An employee must receive paid mourning leave of 3-5 days (it will depend on his/her relationship with the deceased). It can be as follows:

  • They receive a bereavement leave of 5 days after the death of a spouse.
  • 3 days after the death of a close family member.

In the case of parental leave, it can be of 5 days within 6 months of the birth of a child. Also, an employee can have a 10-day study leave (if they have worked for the same employer for at least 2 years).

On the other hand, mothers will also be able to get more time off. It will be with 45 of full pay and 15 days of half pay. And for fathers, they are allowed to get 5 days’ paid leave across all emirates.

6. Other details you should learn about the new UAE Labour Law

Besides the elements we just mentioned, there are other elements you should be aware of related to the Labour Law. For example, as per the new rules, it is now possible to write non-compete clauses into an employment contract. It allows employers to prevent former employees from competing against them or participating in a competing project in the same sector as them.

Other important things that you should know about the UAE’s new Labour Law are these:

6.1. Who do these new rules apply to?

As we mentioned before, the new changes that the UAE government made to the Labour Law apply to the private sector. In other words, if you are an employee working in a private sector company, these rules will apply to you. All employers and business owners operating in the private sector must also follow the new rules to avoid sanctions or penalties.

It is essential to know that the new laws will not be applied to domestic workers. As Dr. Elhais said, all private sector workers and employers in the country are subject to the new Labour Law. This includes employees and employers working in the free zones and onshore. However, it does not include those working in the DIFC and ADGM since these locations have their own employment legislation.

6.2. Teenagers can now start working

There is another modification to the laws, which is related to teenagers who can get jobs. All teenagers aged 15 and above are now allowed to work once they get written approval from their parents. In addition, they must obtain a medical fitness report in order to start working.

Moreover, teenagers should not be hired to perform jobs that imply any kind of risk to their physical integrity. Also, they should not be allowed to work later than 7 pm either. It is important to note that teenagers must work no longer than 6 hours per day. Their schedule must include a 1-hour break as well.

7. How can Connect Resources help get more information about the new UAE Labour Law?

Since the UAE’s new Labour Law includes several significant changes, it is essential to stay up-to-date with the latest news. Therefore, getting professional assistance from an agency like ours, Connect Resources, will be vital in order to understand how the new rules work. With our team, you can get guidance, tips, information, and many services to boost your career or business in the UAE.

For example, in case you are looking forward to becoming a freelancer, our specialist can help you get everything you need. A freelance visa is one of the main things you need to start working as a self-employed professional and we will help you get it. On the other hand, we can provide you with other services in case you are an employee or a business owner.

Do you need effective HR services to improve your company’s productivity? Feel free to request our many solutions, like:

Would you like to receive more information about the UAE’s new Labour Law changes in 2022? Get in touch with our team to learn more about these recent announcements and the effect they will have in the country. Feel free to call us at +971 43 316 688 to talk to our experts and get more information. You can also send your inquiries via email at contact@connectresources.ae.

How can you easily find the most convenient job opportunities in the UAE and other Middle Eastern countries? The most efficient way in which you can explore the best job opportunities is by visiting thetalentpoint.com and getting in touch with professional recruiters. Furthermore, you can send your resume or CV via email at contact@thetalentpoint.com. The Talent Point’s specialists can help you further while searching for a suitable job.

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