The United Arab Emirates is one of the most flourishing economies in the Middle East. In the last 20 years, we have seen a massive transformation taking place in the UAE. The country lying by the Arabian Gulf was more into the oil business, before globalization. Today, with its high-tech infrastructure and world-class amenities, it is one of the most preferred countries in the world for both businesses owners and professionals. UAE offers all types of opportunities to explore. The country is full of new avenues for entrepreneurs and investors. However, with business opportunities for investors, comes responsibilities as employers. Employers have certain obligations towards their employees that covers responsibilities following safety, security, office harassment, employee rights, working hours, and several other factors. The UAE has an extensive list of employment laws with the purpose to make the working life of employees fruitful. It is important for employers to understand and implement labor laws in order to take advantage of the UAE’s business opportunities.
Employment Laws of the United Arab Emirates
For mainland company in Dubai, working hours, health and safety, sick leave, maternity leave, holidays, termination of job and end of service payments, to mention a few, are governed under employment laws.
Working hours and holidays
As per the Labour Law of UAE, the normal working hours for the private sector are set as 8 hours per day or 48 hours per week. During the month of Ramadan, the working hours are shortened by 2 hours per day.
For hotels, cafes and businesses, the working hours can be reduced but the basic hours can only be increased to 9 hours. However, these enterprises need to take consent from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation if they want to increase their work hours. The government allows only 7 working hours for the industries that are physically demanding.
The Wages Protection System
The wages protection system is created to protect the rights of workers/labours and develop a relationship of trust between employees and companies. The system ensures every employee of every company is paid fully and on time for the work they do. If companies fail to follow these rules and regulations set by the government, their account with the Ministry of Labour is suspended. This means the company won’t be able to recruit workers or issue visas for work.
Responsibility for Health and Safety
The UAE government is working to implement a standard and uniform approach in order to instate guidelines for all companies in the country.
It is suggested to the employers and businesses with employees, that they make themselves aware of the health and safety responsibilities of the employers and also what is expected from them as employers. Companies need to follow the employment laws that are relevant to them. If they fail to implement, then they will be held responsible for the violation of labour laws by the authorities. Accordion to UAE employment law, Dubai and Abu Dhabi have to provide medical insurance for the employees. In Abu Dhabi, employers have to provide health insurance coverage to all their employees and their dependents too. In Dubai, only organisations with less than 100 employees and their dependents provide health insurance cover by employers.
End-of-Service benefits are for employees who complete at least one year of regular service to severance pay, 21 days for each of the first 5 years, along with 30 days for each year thereon.