UAE labour Law: know your rights

Labour Law know your rights

The UAE Labour Law covers all the essential regulations with respect to remuneration, End of service Benefits, Terminations, leaves/ holidays, and types of labour contracts. This information is freely available online using simple google search and it would be highly beneficial for any person to familiarize himself with it.

Recently new regulations were enacted in the beginning of 2016, bringing about significant changes in favor and protection of the employee, specifically in relation to standardization of the contents of the Offer letter and termination of employment Contracts.

It is undoubtedly imperative to carefully review the employment contracts from the employers in order to prevent any unpleasant surprises at a later date, as well as minimize the risk of disputes. It is also pertinent to be acquainted with the general laws of UAE affecting the day to day life as they can be a significant disparity between the laws of the employee’s home country and UAE laws. It would be important to keep in mind below relevant points;

  1. The Arabic version of the labour contract will prevail in UAE and will be primarily considered by the authorities and courts for all intents and purposes. Therefore always be prompt to request the employer to provide the legally translated English version of the contract.
  2. If any clause of the offer letter/ employment contract seems contrary to basic norms of a morality of general principles of employment is would be important to consult a UAE employment lawyer prior to signing the contract or offer letter.
  3. Although Free zones generally have their own labour rules and regulations, most of which are in conformity with the UAE labour law with only minor variations.
  4. UAE generally has two types of Contract limited and unlimited Contract.
    1. Limited contract: These are fixed terms contracts where termination of a contract by either the employee or employer will result in payment of a pre- agreed compensation (between 1 to 3 months salary) to the other party or for the remaining period of the terms ( whichever is shorter).
    2. Unlimited Contract: These kind of contract are for an unlimited time period and either party can terminate the agreement by giving in a notice period. This may vary between 1- 3 months depending on the employer. In the absence of a notice by the terminating party, he shall be liable to pay the other party with compensation in lieu of the notice (or for the remaining days of agreed upon notice period).
  5. Although the employer has full right to terminate an employee without any notice or compensation for any reason under Article 120 of the Labour Law.
    1. Submitting forged documents
    2. For any reason during the probationary period
    3. Causing material loss to the employer
    4. Violation of safety instruction
    5. Failure to perform basic duties
    6. Discloses secrets of the Employer/ company
    7. Under the influence of alcohol or drugs during work hours
    8. Committing assault on the employer or fellow employee
    9. Absents himself without any excuse for more the 20 days or 7 consecutive days
    10. Has been convicted of an offense relating public morals
  6. During termination the employee shall be entitled to receive the below, however, this may vary subject to factors resulting in termination/ resignation
    1. Unpaid salary till las working day
    2. Accrued annual leave
    3. Gratuity (pro rata) on completion of 1 year of continuous service of employment.
    4. Air ticket
    5. Compensation for dismissal as applicable
    6. Commission or bonuses, as applicable
  7. An employee is also entitled to receive pay for working extra hours, wherein remuneration will be equal to normal working hours plus an additional 25% of such remuneration. If overtime is after 9 pm then it shall be 50% of such remuneration. Also, no employee can be made to work for a more than two consecutive Fridays.
  8. Any dispute regarding employee rights shall be first be addressed to the Ministry of Labour (Free zone have their own authority for filing labour complaints). If the authority is unable to resolve the dispute the matter is forwarded to court for settlement.
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