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Demystifying Employment Law in the UAE: Essential Components and Key Considerations for Employers and Employees

Home / Employment Law / Demystifying Employment Law in the UAE: Essential Components and Key Considerations for Employers and Employees

Navigating the complexities of employment law in the UAE can be challenging for both employers and employees. Understanding the legal framework, rights and obligations, and best practices for managing employment relationships is essential to fostering a mutually beneficial and harmonious work environment. To turn this vision into a reality, Al Kabban & Associates stands by their clients, providing expert legal guidance and support in the realm of UAE employment law.

This authoritative article delves into the crucial aspects of employment law in the UAE, offering readers valuable insights into key legislations, regulations, and authorities governing employment relationships. It also highlights crucial components of employment contracts, elaborating on the different types and requirements for drafting legally compliant agreements. 

Additionally, the article explores the rights and obligations of employers and employees, encompassing aspects such as working hours, leaves, wages, and benefits, providing essential guidance on maintaining a just work environment.

Moreover, the article will examine termination procedures, outlining the grounds for termination, required notice periods, entitlements upon termination, and best practices for managing termination proceedings. Furthermore, it will showcase the unrivaled expertise of Al Kabban & Associates in employment dispute resolution, highlighting their commitment to helping clients navigate the intricacies of UAE employment law and ensuring the safeguarding of their rights.

By acquiring a comprehensive understanding of UAE employment law and leveraging the legal expertise of Al Kabban & Associates, employers and employees can confidently navigate their rights and obligations within the UAE’s dynamic and evolving employment landscape.

An Overview of Employment Law in the UAE

1. Key Legislations and Regulations

Employment law in the UAE is governed by Federal Law No. 33 of 2021, also known as the new UAE Labour Law, which regulates employment relationships in the private sector. Additionally, individual emirates may have their laws and regulations related to employment matters. For example, the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) have their employment laws applicable to companies operating within their jurisdictions. 

Furthermore, UAE employment law makes some distinctions for UAE nationals, expatriates, and those employed in designated free zones.

2. Regulating Authorities

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) is the primary authority responsible for overseeing employment matters in the UAE. Additionally, authorities such as the DIFC Authority and the ADGM Registration Authority regulate employment matters within their respective jurisdictions. These authorities ensure enforcement of employment laws, oversee workplace disputes and facilitate other employment-related services.

Employment Contracts

1. Types of Employment Contracts

UAE employment law only recognises limited-term contracts, typically up to two years, with the contract automatically terminating upon the end of the term unless renewed by both parties.

2. Essential Components

Employment contracts in the UAE must be in writing and should include essential terms such as the employee’s job title, duties, salary, leave entitlements, and the contract’s duration. Contracts must be in Arabic, although they may also be provided in a bilingual format. Furthermore, employment contracts must be registered with the MOHRE to ensure compliance with the UAE Labour Law and to facilitate any necessary legal proceedings.

Rights and Obligations of Employers and Employees

1. Working Hours

UAE employment law stipulates a maximum of eight working hours per day, or 48 hours per week, for the private sector. Working hours are reduced during the holy month of Ramadan, typically to six hours per day. Moreover, employees are entitled to at least one day off per week, usually on Fridays.

2. Wages and Benefits

Employers must pay wages and benefits in accordance with the terms of the employment contract and the UAE Labour Law. This includes the timely payment of wages, end-of-service gratuity for employees completing a minimum of one year of service, and, in some cases, provisions for accommodation, transportation, and medical insurance. It is essential to note that UAE law prohibits discrimination in wages based on nationality, gender, or other factors.

3. Leaves

UAE Labour Law entitles employees to various types of leaves, including annual leave (a minimum of 30 calendar days per year), sick leave (up to 90 days with varying levels of pay), maternity leave (up to 60 days with varying levels of pay for female employees who have completed one year of service), and paternity leave (five working days with full pay for male employees in the private sector). Employers must comply with these regulations to maintain a healthy work environment.

Termination of Employment

1. Notice Periods and End-of-Service Benefits

Termination of an unlimited-term employment contract typically requires written notice of at least one month but not more than three months in advance. End-of-service gratuity is payable to employees who complete a minimum of one year of service. 

The gratuity is calculated based on the employee’s last basic salary, excluding allowances, and depends on their length of service. Employees who resign before completing five years of service receive less gratuity than those who serve for more than five years.

2. Unfair Dismissal and Wrongful Termination

UAE Labour Law protects employees from arbitrary or unfair dismissal. In cases of wrongful termination, employees may be entitled to compensation or reinstatement. If an employer and employee cannot resolve a dispute amicably, either party can file a complaint with the MOHRE or the relevant dispute resolution authority for guidance and resolution.

Employment Dispute Resolution with Al Kabban & Associates

Al Kabban & Associates is experienced in handling employment disputes, guiding clients through the complexities of UAE employment law and ensuring their rights are protected. They can help clients understand their options and pursue the most appropriate dispute resolution mechanism, such as mediation, arbitration, or litigation.


Understanding and navigating UAE employment law is essential for maintaining positive employer-employee relationships and ensuring compliance with the legal requirements. Al Kabban & Associates’ comprehensive knowledge of UAE employment law enables them to provide invaluable support throughout the lifecycle of an employment relationship, from drafting robust employment contracts to providing strategic advice on labour disputes.

By partnering with Al Kabban & Associates, employers and employees in the UAE can confidently navigate their rights and obligations within the country’s evolving employment landscape, ensuring a harmonious and productive work environment built on a strong legal foundation. Contact our law firm in the UAE for more details. 


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