United Arab Emirates Labor Laws

Working in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) means following strict labor laws. UAE’s labor laws have recently expanded on working hours, annual leave policies, and other important work-related components.

The law also states requirements and rules about maternity leave, sick leave, termination of employment, and safety standards that need to be followed in the workplace. Here are some of the most critical labor laws in the UAE:

1.  Working Hours

According to article 65 of the UAE Labor Law, in the private sector, working hours cannot exceed 8 hours a day, resulting in 48 hours a week. If employers want their workers to continue work for a total of 9 hours or more, special approval is needed. This is especially true for hotels and cafes.

Since government entities do not have to follow the UAE labor law, they get to work for 7 hours every day instead of 8. According to the intent of the law, indulging in work beyond these hours can contribute to an unhealthy work environment.

During the month of Ramadan, working hours are further reduced by two hours so that workers may go home and rest.

2.  Overtime Work

If the job requires workers to stay late, in case of an emergency or a mix-up in orders, employers need to pay their employees for that day, along with a 25 percent premium over and above the standard pay. If overtime work is not completed between 9 pm to 4 am, employers will have to pay 50 percent more, alongside the regular wage.

3.  Working on Official Leaves

Keep in mind that all workers are given an off from work on Fridays. Think of it as the official weekend for employees.

If any worker is required to work on official leave days or holidays, they must be compensated with another rest day, along with 50 percent of their wages for the day (including the regular wage). If their workplace is such that granting another rest day is impossible, employers must provide 150 percent of the worker’s wage as compensation.

4.  Maternity and Childcare Leave

Women who have worked at the same company for at least one year receive 45 days of paid leave from work. If one year of service has not yet been completed, female workers receive leave with half pay. If she wants to take a longer leave, she can extend it by ten days at the most. However, those leave days are considered unpaid.

During the first 18 months after childbirth, female employees are entitled to two rest periods during their working hours. However, these should not be more than 30-minutes each.

5.  Annual Leave

All employees are given two days off from work per month. However, for this entitlement, they must have completed a total of six months at the workplace.

Employees who have worked at the same workplace for one year are entitled to receive a total of thirty days off from work.


To learn more about labor laws around the world and how they differ, click here!

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