The purpose of this guide is to provide general information about the statutory requirements as per the labour regulations and common practices on employment in United Arab Emirates (UAE). The guide tries to explain the different laws and regulations concerning employment and should be taken for reference only.
When in doubt or if further clarification is required, please refer to or contact the relevant Government authority for assistance.
UAE Labour Regulations
The various labour regulations in Indonesia are:
- Regulation of Employment Relationship (2021) or UAE Labour Law
- Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) Employment Act
- Federal Law on Pensions and Social Security
UAE Labour Law and DIFC Employment Act
The Regulation of Employment Relationship or UAE Labour Law is applicable to people working in UAE and it’s Free Zones. However, those working in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is governed by the DIFC Employment Act.
The UAE Labour Law and DIFC Employment Act covers all employees and workers in the private sector regardless of their wages or salaries as well as job grades/levels or types of employment, that is, permanent or temporary.
- Hours of Work
Both the UAE Labour Law and the DIFC Employment Act stipulate that all employees should not work more than 8 hours a day or more than 48 hours a week. During the Ramadan period, the working hours will be reduced by 2 hours to 6 hours a day. There shall be no reduction in employee’s salary or wage during the Ramadan’s reduced working hours.
Under the UAE Labour Law, an employee must not work for more than 5 consecutive hours without a break of 1 hour. The break is not included in the normal working hours.
Under the DIFC Employment Act, an employee must not work more than 6 consecutive hours without a break of 1 hour.
Under the UAE Labour Law, an employee cannot work more than 2 hours a day of overtime work and the total working hours (normal and overtime) for every 3 weeks must not exceed 144 hours. No employee is allowed to work for more than 2 consecutive weekend days.
The overtime rates payable are as follow:
|Normal Working Day|
|Overtime hours before 10pm||1.25 times the hourly rate of pay|
|Overtime hours from 10pm to 4am||1.5 times the hourly rate of pay|
|Weekend (Off & Rest Days)|
|Overtime hours||1 day replacement, or
1.5 times the hourly rate of pay
The DIFC Employment Act does not cover overtime.
- Rest Day and Public Holidays
Both the Labour Law and Employment Act state that all employees must have at least 1 rest day per week.
There are 7 gazetted National public holidays in UAE.
- Probation Period
Under the UAE Labour Law, employer may establish a probation period of no longer than 6 months when appointing a new employee. The employer can terminate the employment during the probationary period by giving the employee 14 days’ notice in writing.
On the other hand, if the employee wants to resign during the probationary period to join another employer in UAE, he/she needs to give 1 month notice in writing to the employer. At the same time, the new employer needs to compensate the original employer the costs of recruitment or contracting with the employee.
Under the DIFC Employment Act, the probationary period is also limited to 6 months. However, there was no mention of notice period by either party during the notice period or compensation of recruitment costs to the new employer in the Employment Act.
3.7.1 Annual Leave
Under the UAE Labour Law, an employee is entitled to annual leave as follow:
|Length of Service||Number of Days Entitlement|
|More than 6 months but less than 1 year||2 days per month|
|1 year or more||30 days|
However, under the DIFC Employment Act, an employee who has worked for at least 90 days with the employer is entitled to 20 working days of annual leave per year. The employee can carry forward up to 5 days of his unconsumed annual leave balance to the following year which if remain unconsumed shall be forfeited.
Under the UAE Labour Law, an employee must report within 2 days to the employer of their illness or injury and those who have completed at least 6 months of service is entitled to the following sick leave:
|Length of Service||Number of Days Entitlement|
|During probation period||Not entitled to any sick leave|
|3 months after the probationary period||90 days as follow:
· 1st 15 days with full pay
· Next 30 days with half pay
· Subsequent period without pays
Under the DIFC Employment Act, an employee must report within 3 days to the employer of their illness or injury is entitled to the 60 days of sick leave per year as follow:
|Sick Leave Entitlement||Sick Leave Pay|
|1st 10 days of sick leave||Full pay|
|Next 20 days of sick leave||Half pay|
|Subsequent sick leave||No pay|
|Excessive Sick Leave – more than 60 days of sick leave||Employer may terminate the contract|
Under the UAE Labour Law, all female employees regardless of length of service are entitled to 60 days of maternity leave as follow:
|Maternity Leave Entitlement||Maternity Leave Pay|
|1st 45 days of maternity leave||Full pay|
|Next 15 days of maternity leave||Half pay|
|Additional 45 days – if employee or child is sick due to the pregnancy or childbirth||No pay|
|Additional 30 days – if child requires constant and permanent care/monitoring||Full pay|
|Additional 30 days – if child continues to require constant and permanent care/ monitoring||No pay|
Under the DIFC Employment Act, all female employees who have been employed for at least 12 months prior the childbirth will be entitled to 65 days of maternity leave as follow:
|Maternity Leave Entitlement||Maternity Leave Pay|
|1st 33 days of maternity leave||Full pay|
|Next 32 days of maternity leave||Half pay|
Under the DIFC Employment Act, the maternity leave is also available to a female employee who adopt a child of less than 5 years old.
There is no paternity leave under the UAE Labour Law. However, the DIFC Employment Act provides up to 5 working days of paternity leave to male employee if he has been in continuous employment with the same employer for at least 12 months prior to the wife giving birth. The paternity leave is also available if the male employee adopts a child of less than 5 years old.
A Muslim employee who has completed at least 1 year of continuous employment with the employer is entitled to special unpaid leave not exceeding 21 days to perform Hajj pilgrimage once during the period of their employment with the company.
Under the UAE Labour Law, an employee is entitled to take paid leave for the following reasons:
|Type of Occasion||Number of Days|
|Bereavement Leave – death of spouse||5 days|
|Bereavement Leave – parents, child, grandparents, sibling, and grandchild||3 days|
|Parental Leave – to take care of child during the 1st 6 months of childbirth||5 working days|
|Study Leave – if studying at an approved institution in UAE and employee has worked for at least 2 years with the employer||10 working days per year|
|Sabbatical Leave – for national or local employees requiring performing national or reserve service||Based on length of the national or reserve service|
Under the UAE Labour Law, either party may terminate the employment contract by giving the required notice period as stipulated in the contract, provided that such period is not less than 30 days and not more than 90 days. Either party may terminate the employment contract without notice or waiting for the expiry of the notice by paying the other party a sum equal to the wages or salary of the notice period.
Under the DIFC Employment Act, the notice period for termination by either party is as follow:
|Length of Service||Notice Period|
|Less than 3 months||7 days|
|More than 3 months but less than 5 years||30 days|
|More than 5 years||90 days|
The above does not apply to employee under probation, agreed in contract based on expiry of fixed term, excessive sick leave, and/or where both parties agreeing to a longer period in the contract.
- Gratuity Payment
Under the UAE Labour Law and DIFC Employment Act, an employee is entitled to gratuity payment if he/she has completed at least 1 year of continuous service with the employer. The gratuity payment shall be as follow:
|Length of Service||Gratuity Amount|
|1st 5 years of service||21 days’ salary for each year of service|
|Each additional year of service after the 1st 5 years||30 days’ salary for each year of service|
The total gratuity payment must not exceed 2 times the annual salary of the employee, and any absence from work without pay shall not be included in the computing of the period of service. For any incomplete year of service, the gratuity payment will be pro-rated in accordance with the number of completed months of service.
- Retirement Age
The retirement age in UAE is 60 years old. However, employees are allowed to continue working till the age of 65 years old.
- Minimum Wage
There is no minimum wage in UAE for employees.
Pensions and Social Security Law
The Pensions and Social Security in UAE is only applicable for all employers and local nationals. Foreigners are excluded from contributing to the pension and social security scheme.
The monthly contribution is 12.5% for the employer and 5% for the employee.
There is no personal income tax in United Arab Emirates
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