UAE Labour Law FAQs

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding labour laws in the UAE.

Kindly note that these Q&As do not constitute legal or other advice. The information on this page is generic, and by using it, you agree to accept the terms and limits of liability available on Q&As. You should not rely or act on any of the information contained in these Q&As without getting a specific professional advice. You are solely responsible for any actions taken in connection with these Q&As. To the extent permitted by law, Jafza accepts no liability and disclaim all responsibility for the consequences of your or anyone else’s reliance on any information contained in these Q&As or for any decision based on it or by any reference to these Q&As.

What action a worker should take in case the employer refuses to have his expired labour card renewed?
In such case, the worker should report the matter to the Labour Affairs Section of the Jebel Ali Free Zone concerned with labour disputes.
Can a worker work for another employer although his sponsorship is still on the original employer but he has obtained a no-objection certificate to work for a third party?
A worker may not work for a third party without following the relevant legal procedures and checking with the Labour Affairs Section at Jebel Ali Free Zone.
Is it mandatory for a labour contract to be written in Jebel Ali Free Zone?
Originally, a labour contract, which is a contract for a limited period, should be written in Jebel Ali Free Zone. In the absence of a written labour contract, the employment relationship shall be governed by a contract for an unlimited period.
Shall a worker be entitled to any pay for working within the notice period?
Yes, he will be paid according to the laws and regulations in force.
What is the maximum length of the probation period?
A maximum of six months. A worker will not work on probation more than once.
Will the probation period be included in a worker's overall service if the worker has passed this period successfully?
Yes, the probation period will be included in the worker’s service period.
Can a labour contract include a condition stipulating that a worker may not work for a competitor of the current employer?
Yes, it may but the employer should make sure that the conditions set forth are in accordance with the applicable laws and regulations.
What are the conditions that should be considered before adding clause related to not working for a competitor?
  • The work assigned to a worker allows him to access the secrets of business or know the company’s customers.
  • The worker has completed 21 years of age at the time the labour contract was concluded.
  • The labour contract is specific in terms of time, place and type of work that the worker is banned from doing with the aim of protecting the employer’s interests after the labour relationship is over.
  • The worker works with a competitor.
What are the maximum normal working hours?
The maximum normal working hours are 8 hours per day or 48 hours per week.
What are the maximum working hours in Ramadan?
6 hours per day.
Is it permissible for an employer to lower the worker's pay scale without his consent? What procedures should be followed in case the worker gives his consent?
No, the worker’s written approval to this effect must be obtained. If the two parties have agreed on lowering the worker’s pay, the employer must terminate the contract and settle the worker’s all dues. A new labour contract should be concluded, subject to the consent of both parties. In case of a pay raise, however, this procedure will not be required.
What are the official holidays scheduled for a worker for which he is entitled full pay?
  • Islamic New Year’s Day – one day
  • New Year’s Day – one day
  • Eid Al-Fitr – two days
  • Eid Al-Adha and Al Waqfa- three days
  • Prophet Mohammad’s Birthday – one day
  • Al Isra Wal Mi’raj – one day
  • National Day – one day
  • Or any official holiday declared by the competent authorities
When is a worker entitled for annual leave?
A worker is entitled to avail annual leave if he has completed one year with the employer. A worker is entitled for an annual leave of 30 days for each year. A worker is also entitled to an annual leave if he has completed 6 months, in which case he will be entitled for two days each month.
What is the pay given to a worker during his annual leave?
A worker is paid the basic pay plus the housing allowance.
Is a worker entitled to a fully paid leave during the probation period?
No, he is not.
What is the compensation to be paid to a worker who has been asked by the employer to work on official holidays?
The employer must grant the worker an equal leave plus 50 per cent of the normal. In case no leave is granted, the employer must increase the worker’s basic pay by 150 per cent for the period.
How many days are granted to an employee as his annual leave? When are these days due?
A worker shall be granted an annual leave that may not be less than the following:

  • Two days per month if the worker has worked for more than six months and less than one year.
  • 30 days per year if the worker has worked for more than one year.
  • In case his service has been terminated, the worker shall be entitled to an annual leave against the period served in the last year.
Is it permissible for an employer to deduct advances or debts from a worker's pay?
Yes, provided that the deducted amount does not exceed 10 per cent of the pay.
How many days is the Hajj leave? Is a worker entitled to any pay for the leave?
A worker shall be entitled to a 30-day unpaid Hajj leave once during the period of his contract. This
leave shall not be included in the worker’s annual leave.
Must an employer put the list of disciplinary rules in a conspicuous place at the worksite?
Yes, he must, thereby giving all the concerned workers the opportunity to learn about them.
Is it permissible to impose a disciplinary penalty on a worker for an offence, which is committed outside the workplace and has nothing to do with the work, employer or manager?
No disciplinary penalty can be imposed on any worker for an offence committed outside the workplace.
Is it permissible for an employer to impose as a disciplinary penalty a fine on any worker that exceeds his pay for five days?
No it is not. In all cases, deduction should not exceed the pay of five days per month towards the imposed fines.
How a labour contract is terminated in Jebel Ali Free Zone?
A labour contract shall expire either by mutual consent or at the end of its term and may expire in the event of death of either party.
Will the labour relationship come to an end when the firm is sold to another employer?
No, it will not.
Will the labour contract be terminated if a worker is proved to be entirely incapable to perform his work based on a medical certificate approved by the UAE’s competent authorities?
Yes, the labour contract will be terminated but in accordance with the laws and regulations in force.
Will a labour contract expire on the employer's death?
No, unless the subject of the contract (place of the contract) is linked and connected to the employer individually.
Does the employer have the right to terminate the labour contract at his discretion?
No, he has no right to do so, except in cases specified by the law:

  • If the worker has impersonated another person, claimed a fake nationality or submitted forged certificates or documents.
  • If the worker is under a probation period and dismissal has taken place during or at the end of the probation period.
  • If the worker has made a mistake that has resulted in a heavy financial loss to the employer, provided that the employer shall notify the competent labour relations section accordingly within 24 hours from the time he is aware of the mistake.
  • If the worker has violated the instructions related to the safety of the work or the workplace, provided that these instructions are in writing, and are put in a conspicuous place and are conveyed orally to illiterate workers.
  • If the worker has failed to perform his basic duties according to the labour contract and has continued to do so although a written investigation has been conducted with him for this purpose and although he has been warned of dismissal in case of repeated breach.
  • If he has been finally convicted by a competent court of a crime related to honour, honesty or public morals.
  • If he has divulged a secret of the firm he works for.
  • If he has been under the influence of alcohol or drugs while at work.
  • If he has assaulted the employer, the manager or one of his colleagues while at work.
  • If the worker has been intermittently absent without a valid reason for more than twenty days per year or more than seven consecutive days.
Does a worker have the right to willingly terminate the labour contract?
He may not do so except in the cases set forth by the law:

  • If the employer has failed to fulfill his obligations towards a worker as per the articles stipulated in the contract or law.
  • If the employer or his legal representative has assaulted the worker.
What is the pay on the basis of which compensation will be due in case the labour contract has been revoked without legal justification?
If the labour limited contract has been revoked by the employer, the worker shall be entitled to compensation on the basis of the worker’s gross pay or the latest pay, provided that the amount of the compensation shall not exceed the pay of 3 months or the remaining term of the contract, whichever is shorter.
If the said contract has been annulled by the worker, however, the employer shall be entitled to compensation on the basis of the worker’s gross pay or the latest pay, provided that the amount of the compensation shall not exceed the pay of 45 days or the remaining term of the contract, whichever is shorter.
Does a worker have the right to obtain an end-of-service certificate from the employer?
Yes, he does. The certificate shall be given by the employer free of charge and shall show the dates the worker has joined and quitted the service, the total duration of the service, the worker’s type of work and the latest pay and other allowances, if any.
Will the employer be committed to pay financial aid to the worker if the latter is proved to have sustained an industrial injury or an occupational disease that has prevented him from performing his duties?
If injury has prevented a worker from performing his duties, the employer will have to pay the worker a financial aid equivalent to full pay throughout the duration of treatment or for a period of six months, whichever is shorter. If treatment has taken more than six months, the aid will be reduced by half for the subsequent six months or until the worker recovers, is proved to be disabled or dies, whichever is shorter.
What is the remuneration on the basis of which a financial aid is calculated in case a worker has sustained an industrial injury or an occupational disease?
The remuneration is calculated on the basis of the latest pay for those who are paid on a monthly, weekly, daily or hourly basis. For labourers who are paid on a piece-work basis, however, the remuneration is calculated on the basis of the labourer’s average daily pay.
What is the amount of compensation due to the worker's family members in the event of his death as a result of an industrial injury or an occupational disease?
The worker’s family members shall be entitled to compensation equal to his basic pay for a period of 24 months, provided that the compensation will be not less than AED 18,000 and not more than AED 35,000.
In case a worker has sustained an industrial injury or an occupational disease, shall the employer be committed to pay the expenses of his medical treatment?
Yes, the employer shall be committed to do so and even to pay all the expenses required by the medical treatment and all the costs needed for the subsequent rehabilitation of the worker. If injury has prevented a worker from performing his duties, the employer shall continue to pay the worker’s full pay throughout the period of medical treatment, provided that the worker shall not be paid more than half pay for the subsequent six months or until the worker recovers, is proved to be disabled or dies, whichever is shorter.
Shall the aid be calculated on the basis of the basic or gross salary?
The aid shall be calculated on the basis of the basic salary.
How is a compensation for an industrial injury calculated?
  • Compensation for partial disability: Basic pay × 24 × disability rating as per the medical report.
  • Compensation for permanent disability: Basic pay × 24 × disability rating as per the medical report.
  • Compensation for permanent total disability: The same amount payable in the event of death, provided that it at shall not be less than AED 18,000 and no more than AED 35,000.
  • Compensation for occupational disease leading to death: Basic pay × 24 = not less than AED 18,000 and not more than AED 35,000.
What is the pay on the basis of which the worker's end-of-service gratuity is calculated?
A worker’s end-of-service gratuity shall be calculated on the basis of the last pay earned by the worker after deducting all allowances and bonuses that used to be given to him.
Will the commission set forth in the labour contract be included in the calculation of the end-of-service gratuity?
Yes, the set forth commission shall be included in the calculation of the end-of-service gratuity.
Does a worker have the right to claim his dues if one year has elapsed from the date they were due?
No, according to the law.
Does a worker have the right to claim his deferred pay and leave allowances in case he is denied the end-of-service gratuity for whatsoever reason?

Yes, a worker shall have the right to claim his pay but shall be entitled to claim his leave allowances only for the last two years.

Does a worker have the right to claim his labour rights in the absence of a written labour contract?
Yes, he does.
How is the end-of-service gratuity calculated?
A worker shall be entitled to an end-of-service gratuity if he has completed one or more years of service. The end-of-service-gratuity shall be calculated as follows:

  • 21 days for each year of the first five years.
  • 30 days for each subsequent year.
  • The overall gratuity should not exceed the remuneration of two years.
Are unpaid leaves included in the service period?
No, they are not.
Is the end-of-service gratuity calculated for the fraction of a year?
A worker shall be entitled to an end-of-service gratuity for the fraction of the year if he has completed one or more years of service.
Shall a worker be entitled to an end-of-service gratuity if he has died?
In the event of a worker’s death, the employer must pay the end-of-service gratuity to his heirs.
Do we have to update the Jafza Employment Contract if an employee has any change / amendment to his salary?
The company is obliged to update the Jafza Employment Contract should an employee has any change / amendment to his current salary by updating the same along with the concerned employee’s Labour Guarantee by approaching the Jafza Administrative Services Department to do the needful. Failure or delay in doing the same may be subject to fines / consequences as determined by Jafza.