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Navigating the Complexities of Employment Law in the UAE: Rights, Obligations, and Disputes

Home / Employment Law / Navigating the Complexities of Employment Law in the UAE: Rights, Obligations, and Disputes
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As one of the most business-friendly jurisdictions in the world, the UAE consistently attracts a diverse range of companies and employees. This flourishing economy, combined with an increasing expatriate population, creates a dynamic and complex landscape, which necessitates constant attention to the ever-evolving employment law of the UAE. 

Given this complexity, it is essential for businesses, employees, and job-seekers to familiarise themselves with the rights and obligations enshrined within the UAE employment laws and to seek legal guidance when issues arise. A successful and seamless experience in the diverse UAE workforce calls for a solid understanding of the various aspects of employment law. Here is where Al Kabban & Associates, a respected UAE-based law firm, delivers unparalleled expertise in guiding clients through the intricacies of employment law.

In this comprehensive blog, we aim to provide valuable insights into the main aspects of UAE employment law and its implications for rights, obligations, and dispute resolution for employers and employees alike. Key topics addressed will include visas and work permits, employment contract types, workplace rights and obligations, and strategies for navigating employment disputes. By offering a thorough and concise analysis of UAE employment law, this article will empower businesses, employees, and job seekers with the tools necessary to confidently approach workplace issues.

Furthermore, we will showcase Al Kabban & Associates’ experience and services in assisting clients with employment law issues, including contract drafting and review, legal consultation, and dispute management. Providing clarity in the often-confusing realm of employment law, the expertise of Al Kabban & Associates will enable clients to operate confidently in the thriving UAE workforce, benefiting from their legal competence, client-centric approach, and dedication to achieving successful outcomes. 

Trust in the experience and kinship of Al Kabban & Associates to steer you through the complexities of UAE employment law, ensuring fair treatment, compliance, and prosperity in the workplace.

Visas and Work Permits

1. Obtaining Visas

To work in the UAE, expatriate employees and their employers must navigate the process of obtaining the necessary visas. Different types of visas, such as employment visas, residence visas, and short-term visit visas, serve different purposes and have varying durations. The employer typically sponsors the employee for an employment visa, organises labour and immigration approvals, and bears the cost of the visa process.

2. Work Permits

In addition to a visa, working in the UAE requires obtaining a work permit from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) or a relevant Free Zone Authority, depending on the employer’s location. Once a work permit is secured, the employee’s employment contract should be registered with the MOHRE or Free Zone Authority.

Employment Contracts

1. Limited Contracts

UAE employment law now only recognises limited period contracts. Limited contracts have a fixed duration, usually aligning with the visa sponsorship period. It can be extended or renewed for a similar or shorter period.

2. Key Contract Elements

Employment contracts in the UAE must include specific provisions, such as the employee’s position and duties, remuneration, working hours, probation period, annual leave entitlements, and conditions for termination. Both employers and employees should ensure that the employment contract complies with UAE labour law requirements.

Workplace Rights and Obligations

1. Wages and Benefits

UAE employment law prescribes minimum wage standards for various categories of employees and sets expectations for the timely payment of wages. Employers must provide other benefits, including health insurance and, for expatriate employees, end-of-service gratuity payments in line with the employee’s length of service.

2. Working Hours and Leaves

In general, the standard maximum working hours in the UAE are eight hours per day or 48 hours per week, with some exceptions. Employees are entitled to overtime pay for hours worked beyond this limit, and they must receive a minimum rest period of one day per week. Leave entitlements include annual leave, sick leave, maternity and paternity leave, and national holidays.

3. Employee Protection

UAE labour laws prohibit discriminatory practices in the workplace based on race, gender, age, disability, or other protected characteristics. Additionally, the law regulates redundancies, providing employees with the right to fair compensation.

Employment Dispute Resolution

1. Pre-litigation Options

In the event of a workplace dispute, parties should first attempt to resolve their differences through a staff grievance procedure, mediation, or conciliation. The MOHRE offers a free conciliation service in which a labour dispute resolution committee attempts to resolve the dispute amicably before it advances to litigation.

2. Litigation

If pre-litigation resolution efforts fail, either party may initiate legal proceedings. Employees can file a complaint with the competent labour court, and UAE labour courts employ a simplified, expedited procedure for handling employment disputes.

3. Enforcement of Judgments

Once the court issues its judgment, the successful party must enforce the judgment, often through the seizure of the employer’s assets to satisfy the judgment amount. If a judgment is not enforced within one year, the parties may need to repeat the litigation process.

Al Kabban & Associates: Guiding Clients Through Employment Law Challenges

1. Contract Drafting and Review

Al Kabban & Associates offers expertise in drafting and reviewing employment contracts, ensuring compliance with UAE labour law and tailoring the contract terms according to the unique requirements of each client’s business and circumstances.

2. Legal Consultation and Advice

The firm assists clients in understanding their rights and obligations under UAE employment law and provides actionable advice for resolving disputes. Their vast knowledge of employment law empowers clients to navigate the complexities of the workplace and prevent potential misunderstandings or conflicts.

3. Dispute Management

Al Kabban & Associates has extensive experience in representing clients in employment disputes, guiding them through the judiciary process, and advocating for their interests in court to achieve favourable outcomes. Their firm grasp of UAE labour law translates to comprehensive support and protection during legal proceedings.


In the thriving landscape of the UAE workforce, understanding and navigating the complexities of employment law is crucial for businesses, employees, and job seekers. Al Kabban & Associates, with their vast legal expertise, stands as a beacon of guidance and support in UAE employment law. Their dedication to empowering clients with the knowledge and tools required to ensure optimal outcomes in all aspects of employment will lead to a brighter and more secure future for all.

By offering an exceptional range of services, including contract drafting and review, legal consultation, and dispute management, Al Kabban & Associates is the trusted partner for navigating the ever-evolving world of employment law in the UAE. Rely on our law firm in UAE to uphold your rights, comply with legislative requirements, and excel in the competitive UAE workforce.


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