An Intro to the UAE Labor Law

The UAE- what has been a dream place for many expats to work in, has its own set of rules and regulations as far as the work sphere is concerned. To gain an overview regarding these, there are some very basic things you need to know as an entry-level professional.

All the labor regulations in the UAE are governed by the UAE labor law (Federal law no.8 of 1980). The law holds provisions for each and every thing between you and your employer. Gain a better insight regarding some of its features by going through the crude points mentioned below.

Salient features


  • Work contract: For any job you secure in the UAE, only the Arabic version of the employment contract is legally valid. However, the UAE labor law demands the employer to provide you with an English contract too. The copy of the contract should be offered prior to your arrival.
  • Probationary Period: Most of the jobs in Dubai and some other parts of the UAE have a probationary period of between one month and a year. According to the labor law, during this period you can be dismissed without a notice. In addition to this, you won’t be entitled to any end of service benefits too.
  • Exceptions: There are various exceptions to the UAE labor law. Certain employment spheres like Agriculture, domestic work, Employees of the federal government, members of the armed forces and of the police and scrutiny do not fall under the jurisdiction of the UAE labor law. For example, things like gratuity payments which otherwise are mandatory for an employer to consider, may or may not be given a thought in these kinds of occupations.
  • Age: After certain changes made to the labor law in January 2011, the maximum age for an expat to work in the UAE has been raised from 60 to 65.
  • Work permit: The law also states, if you are studying in any of the institutes sponsored by the UAE , you can easily file for a work permit at the Ministry of labor (MoL)  and start working part time.

In addition to this, if you are an expat resident working full time, you and your spouse can also gain the work permit, according to which you can withhold more than one part time job. Expats who haven’t worked in the UAE before and are 18 years of age and above can also file for a short-term work permit valid for 60 days at a time.

  • No NOC needed anymore: A ‘No Objection Certificate’ which was previously required for expats, will not be required anymore. The expats, who have worked for more than 2 years in the UAE, would fall under its jurisdiction. However, employees who are falling within the tenure of 1-2 years may require it to switch jobs.
  • Wages: If you secure a job offer in the UAE, the employment contract will clearly mention your basic wage, which excludes allowances of any kind. The remuneration can either be by cash or in kind. However, according to the law there is no specification regarding the payment being on a weekly, monthly, or yearly basis.
  • Working hours: You will be required to work for at least eight hours a day. The duration can be increased to nine hours a day in case of jobs in places like cafeterias, hotels etc. Overtime will also be duly paid in case you work for more than 9 hours a day. If the overtime falls between 9 am to 4 pm then the remuneration will be equal to the salary with an increase of not less than 50 percent.
  • Number of leaves: If you work for a tenure of more than 6 months and less than a year, then you’ll be entitled to take 2 leaves per month. As soon as you complete a year, the number of paid leaves increases to 30 per year. Moreover, in case you fall sick, you’ll be entitled to full paid leaves for the first 15 days and half paid leaves for the next 30 days.
  • Safety measures and disciplinary codes: The labor law also has provisions to ensure your safety in the UAE. Your employer will have to provide you with safety measures against various occupational hazards and accidents and also make provisions regarding your transportation, accommodation and healthcare.

Various disciplinary codes are also included within the law, including a separate section for fines, warnings, termination etc.

The points mentioned above are some basic provisions, which the UAE labor law offers to an expat. Staying within these norms, you can make your professional life in the UAE quite convenient. Good luck!

Written by Anshuman . Currently he is working for Naukrigulf.

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