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Navigating Employment Law in the UAE: Key Labour Regulations and Compliance Tips

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Navigating the complex landscape of employment law in the UAE can be a challenging endeavour for businesses. With numerous labour regulations governing various aspects of employer-employee relationships, such as contract requirements, working hours, and annual leave, maintaining compliance and avoiding potential disputes call for thorough understanding and reliable legal support. 

In this article, we will discuss critical regulations under the Federal Law No. 33 of 2021, also known as the new UAE Labour Law, as well as other relevant resolutions and decrees. From the nuances of drafting legally compliant employment contracts to understanding the rights and obligations of employers and employees during terminations, our guide strives to address the queries and concerns of human resources professionals, business owners, and other individuals entrusted with managing employment relationships in the UAE.

Equip yourself with a comprehensive understanding of UAE employment law regulations and leverage Al Kabban & Associates’ legal expertise to ensure compliance and effectively manage labor matters in your organization.

Understanding and Complying with UAE Labour Law Requirements

1. Employment Contracts

UAE Labour Law mandates that employers draft written employment contracts for their employees, outlining key terms and conditions of the employment relationship, such as position, job duties, remuneration, working hours, and probationary period. It is essential to ensure that employment contracts adhere to the provisions of the UAE Labour Law, any applicable free zone regulations, and the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) guidelines.

2. Working Hours and Overtime

The UAE Labour Law stipulates a maximum of 8 working hours per day or 48 hours per week for adult employees working in the private sector, excluding special cases listed within the law. During the Holy Month of Ramadan, working hours are reduced to 6 hours per day or 36 hours per week for fasting Muslim employees. Any work performed beyond these limits is considered overtime, for which employees must be compensated at a rate of no less than 25% above their regular pay.

3. Annual Leave and Public Holidays

Employees who have completed one year of continuous service are entitled to annual leave of at least 30 calendar days for those working five or six days a week. In addition to the annual leave, employees are entitled to paid public holidays as stipulated by UAE Labour Law, amounting to approximately 10 days per year.

4. Termination of Employment

Employment contracts may be terminated under various circumstances, such as by mutual agreement, expiry of the contract, or non-renewal. Both employers and employees must adhere to the provisions of UAE Labour Law and follow the prescribed notice period (usually 30 days) before the termination takes effect. Failure to adhere to the termination provisions may result in legal liabilities, including the payment of compensation to the aggrieved party.

Protecting Your Business through Compliance: Practical Tips and Best Practices

1. Staying Updated on Labour Law Changes

The UAE government continually reviews and amends its labor laws to adapt to current socio-economic conditions and ensure alignment with international practices. Businesses must stay informed about new regulations and amend their policies and procedures accordingly to prevent inadvertent violations and disputes.

2. Implementing HR Policies and Procedures

Organizations should develop comprehensive HR policies and procedures covering various aspects of the employment relationship, such as recruitment, onboarding, remuneration, promotions, and terminations. These policies should be reviewed and updated regularly in line with the UAE Labour Law and other relevant regulations.

3. Conducting Employment Law Training

Conducting regular employee training sessions on UAE employment law, ethics, workplace conduct, and other relevant topics can help to minimize misunderstandings and disputes by ensuring that both employers and employees are aware of their rights and responsibilities.

4. Seeking Expert Legal Guidance

Engaging the services of a knowledgeable legal professional, such as Al Kabban & Associates, can help businesses to navigate the intricacies of UAE employment law effectively. By reviewing and drafting policies, contracts, and other employment-related documents, legal experts can offer invaluable guidance in ensuring compliance and preventing potential disputes.

The Role of Al Kabban & Associates in Managing Employment Law Compliance

1. Drafting and Reviewing Employment Contracts

Al Kabban & Associates can assist organizations in drafting legally compliant employment contracts and reviewing existing contracts to ensure alignment with UAE Labour Law and other relevant regulations.

2. Advising on Employment-related Disputes and Issues

The firm can provide expert legal advice to organizations facing employment-related disputes or seeking guidance on various labor law issues, such as terminations, grievances, or other potential conflicts.

3. Guiding Through Labour Inspections and Investigations

Al Kabban & Associates can represent and guide businesses through labour inspections and investigations conducted by MOHRE or other relevant authorities. Their legal team can provide valuable insights into ensuring compliance with labor law requirements and help businesses address any identified deficiencies.

4. Employment Law Compliance Strategy and Support

The firm can develop a robust employment law compliance strategy for organizations, conducting regular audits and assessments to identify areas of risk and recommending corrective measures to ensure ongoing adherence to UAE Labour Law and other relevant regulations.


Navigating UAE employment law and maintaining compliance can be challenging for businesses operating in the country. However, through a comprehensive understanding of labor law regulations and practical application of compliance best practices, organizations can adhere to legal requirements and foster positive employer-employee relationships for mutual benefit.

By partnering with seasoned legal professionals like Al Kabban & Associates, businesses can leverage expert guidance in effectively managing employment law matters, ensuring compliance with UAE Labour Law and creating a compliant and harmonious work environment in the organization.

Our team of knowledgeable employment lawyers at Al Kabban & Associates ensures businesses receive comprehensive legal support in aligning their policies and procedures with UAE labour laws, in turn fostering harmonious employer-employee relationships and optimizing organizational functioning. Secure your compliance with UAE labor regulations and foster positive employment relationships by entrusting your employment law needs with us. Contact us today on to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced UAE Employment Lawyers!


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