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UAE Labour Law and the Changes: What Employers Need to Know

Home / Employment Law / UAE Labour Law and the Changes: What Employers Need to Know

The MOHRE (Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation) has made changes to the labor laws in the UAE by introducing a new law, Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021, and its Executive Regulations, which are under Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022. This new law became effective on 2 February 2022 and will govern labor relations in the UAE.

Today, we’re going to outline some of the biggest considerations the retail sector must make to ensure they stay compliant with the changes in labor law:

1. No More Unlimited-Term Contracts

Under the latest regulations, there is no longer an option for employers to offer unlimited-term contracts. All contracts should be fixed-term and cannot be longer than three years. To ensure a smooth transition, employers must conclude all existing employees on unlimited-term contracts by 2 February 2023.

2. Employment Termination During Probation

The new law now requires at least 14 days’ notice from either the employer or employee if the employee is to be terminated during the probationary period, which is limited to six months. Furthermore, if an employee is changing to another job in the UAE, they must give their new employer at least 30 days’ notice, and the old employer may seek reimbursement for recruitment expenses from the new employer.

3. More Flexible Working Arrangements

The new law introduces different types of employment arrangements that are not typical, such as working part-time with the same benefits as a full-time employee, doing temporary projects, having flexible hours and days, and potentially job-sharing (details not yet released).

4. Changes in Working Days 

Instead of taking a break on Fridays, employers must now provide their workers with at least one day of rest during the week. The maximum amount of time an employee can work each day is still 8 hours, and 48 hours for the whole week (or 56 hours if an exemption is given). Although this can be spread over six days, employers must ensure their staff have adequate rest.

5. No Annual Leave Carry-Over Unless Specified by Employer

Employees must use their vacation days in the same year they were given and cannot save them up for the following year. If they don’t use them, they will be lost without any compensation unless specified and approved by the employer. In special cases, unused days may be paid out, but only if the employee’s employment is ending that year and will only be paid out based on their basic salary.

6. Discrimination Protection and Equal Pay

Employees now enjoy increased protection from discriminatory practices in the workplace, as it is illegal to discriminate against employees on the basis of race, color, religion, national or social origin, or disability. Additionally, employers are not allowed to fire or threaten to fire anyone due to their pregnancy or maternity leave. On top of that, the new law requires that men and women are given the same wages for doing the same work.


The workplace is constantly changing and evolving, so it is important for employers to stay up-to-date with the latest laws and regulations. By understanding the basics of employment laws, employers can ensure that the workplace is compliant and that their employees are treated fairly and equitably. Keeping up-to-date with the latest laws and regulations is essential for a successful and productive workplace. So, consider these new changes made to the workplace, and continue to stay on top of the changes. This ensures your business runs legally and without trouble at all times, ensuring success.

Al Kabban & Associates thoroughly understand the UAE’s legal frameworks and system, providing clients with the legal assistants they need to avoid unnecessary trouble and stress. If you are looking for a business lawyer in Dubai, work with us today!


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