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Employment Law in the UAE: A Comprehensive Guide for Employers and Employees

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Aspects of Contract Law in the UAE

Employment law governs the relationship between employers and employees, ensuring the protection of both parties’ rights and interests. In the UAE, employment laws and regulations have evolved significantly in recent years, aiming to establish a balanced and dynamic labour market that meets the needs of both local and international businesses. 

This comprehensive guide, featuring expert knowledge from Al Kabban & Associates, will provide insights into the UAE’s employment laws, covering essential aspects such as contracts, work hours, remuneration, and dispute resolution. By understanding the legal landscape of employment in the UAE, you can avoid pitfalls, ensure compliance, and foster a productive and harmonious workplace. Let Al Kabban & Associates’ expertise guide you through each step, equipping you with the tools and knowledge needed to successfully navigate the complex world of UAE employment law.

1. Employment Contracts: Establishing Clear Terms and Conditions

Employment contracts are a fundamental aspect of UAE employment law, providing a framework for the terms and conditions governing the relationship between employers and employees. Key elements to take into account when drafting and reviewing employment contracts include:

  • Type of Contract: All contracts must now be limited term contracts. Unlimited term contracts are no longer permitted under the most recent amendments to the UAE Labour Law. 
  • Responsibilities: Clearly outlining the roles and responsibilities of both the employee and employer.
  • Salary and Benefits: Stating the agreed salary, including allowances, and providing details about any additional benefits.
  • Probation Period: Specifying the length of the probation period during which either party can terminate the contract without consequences. This is commonly set between 3 to 6 months.

Al Kabban & Associates can assist you with drafting and reviewing employment contracts, ensuring compliance with UAE labour laws and regulations.

2. Work Hours, Overtime, and Annual Leave: Understanding Your Entitlements

UAE labour laws outline specific guidelines for regular working hours, overtime, and annual leave. Relevant aspects to consider are:

  • Normal Working Hours: Generally, the maximum working hours are 8 hours per day, or 48 hours per week. During Ramadan, working hours for Muslim employees may be reduced to 6 hours per day.
  • Overtime: Overtime pay is generally 25% more than the regular hourly wage. If overtime work is performed between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m., the rate increases to 50%.
  • Annual Leave: Employees with more than 6 months of service are entitled to 30 calendar days of leave per year in the private sector. 

Al Kabban & Associates can advise you on your rights and obligations concerning working hours, overtime, and annual leave, helping you maintain compliance with the law.

3. Employment Benefits and Allowances: Ensuring Fair Remuneration

Employers in the UAE must provide certain benefits and allowances to their employees, in line with labour laws. These include:

  • End of Service Benefits (Gratuity): Employees who complete at least one year of continuous service are entitled to a gratuity payment, based on their period of service.
  • Housing Allowance or Accommodation: Employers may provide their employees with housing or a housing allowance as part of the employment package. This is not mandatory but is customary in certain industries.
  • Health Insurance: Employers must provide health insurance coverage for their employees, with specific guidelines dependent on the emirate in which the company operates.
  • Repatriation Expenses: Employers are responsible for the cost of repatriating employees upon the termination of their contracts.

For guidance on these provisions and calculating the appropriate entitlements, Al Kabban & Associates can provide expert advice and assistance.

4. Termination and Dispute Resolution: Safeguarding Employee Rights

Managing the termination of employment contracts and resolving disputes is an essential aspect of UAE employment law. Both employers and employees must adhere to the appropriate guidelines and procedures, which include:

  • Notice Period: The terminating party must give at least a 30-day written notice, unless otherwise agreed upon in the contract.
  • Termination for Cause: Employment contracts can be terminated without notice for specific reasons outlined in the UAE Labour Law, such as gross misconduct or failure to perform job duties.
  • Dispute Resolution: Disputes must be filed with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE), which will attempt to mediate a settlement. If the parties fail to agree, the matter is referred to the competent court.
  • Retrenchment: Employers must follow specific guidelines for employee retrenchment, taking into account factors such as seniority and job functions.

Al Kabban & Associates’ expertise in labour disputes and compliance can help you navigate the complexities of termination and dispute resolution, safeguarding your rights and interests.

5. Company Policies and Procedures: Maintaining Compliance and Encouraging Best Practices

To ensure a harmonious and efficient workplace, companies in the UAE should develop and implement comprehensive policies and procedures, covering areas such as workplace health and safety, anti-discrimination, and employee grievance procedures. These policies should be regularly updated to remain in line with the evolving legal landscape and best practices within the specific industry.

Al Kabban & Associates can provide guidance on creating and reviewing company policies, helping to minimize disputes, boosting employee morale, and maintaining compliance with relevant labour laws.

Navigating UAE Employment Law with Expert Guidance

Understanding and adhering to the UAE’s employment laws is vital to maintaining a thriving, compliant, and harmonious workplace. Seeking the expertise of a reputable law firm like Al Kabban & Associates ensures that your organization carefully navigates the intricacies of labour law, fostering an environment where both employers and employees enjoy a fair and balanced professional relationship. Al Kabban & Associates’ skilled legal team can provide you with expert guidance on employment contracts, workplace policies, dispute resolution, and more, helping you stay compliant with the ever-evolving UAE legal landscape. Trust Al Kabban & Associates to be your trusted partner on the road to success in the UAE.

For a consultation and tailored advice on UAE employment law matters, contact our labour lawyers in Dubai at Al Kabban & Associates today and let our skilled legal team support you in achieving the best outcomes for your business and employees.


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