UAE Labour Law: Working Hours, Official Leaves, and Vacations

If you’ve been working in the UAE for some time, then most likely you’re familiar with some of their labour laws, such as getting a labour card and the legality of job offer letters. On the other hand, if you are still in the planning stage, it helps to know these laws even before you apply and head to the emirates. Be sure to know the law so that you understand your rights. This is something that we try to share to each and every expat so that they have better knowledge to react.

In the UAE, the agency in charge of labour rights and relations in the private sector is the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE), which was previously called the Ministry of Labour. They follow the new UAE Labour Law, which has been in effect since January 2016.

The new UAE Labour Law has been in effect since January 2016.

Guide to Working Hours, Leaves, and Vacations in the UAE

Please be guided accordingly to the terms and your rights on what you should expect from your employment. Take note that these information may change without prior notice. We try to keep the details updated as possible, but it’s always best to go to the official resource (in this case, the MoHRE website for updated information).

Any job or position involves regular working hours, official leaves, and vacations. When it comes to the private sector, here is what the UAE Labour Law says regarding these matters:

Working Hours

  • Regular working hours for the private sector is 8 hours per day or 48 hours per week ( Article 65).
  • The working hours may be increased to 9 hours per day for businesses, cafes, and hotels — provided that these have sought approval from the MoHRE.
  • Working for more than 7 hours per day is not allowed in jobs that involve “heavy” physical labour.
  • If the job demands working beyond normal working hours, an overtime may be considered.
  • Overtime pay should be equal to the rate for regular working hours, plus an increase of 25% of that amount. This may be raised to 50% if overtime work is performed between 9 pm and 4 am.
  • Regular working hours are decreased by 2 hours per day during the holy month of Ramadan.

Regular working hours for the private sector is 8 hours per day.

Official Leaves and Vacations

  • Friday is the official weekend for employees, with the exception of daily wage workers.
  • If the job requires overtime work on a Friday, the pay should be equal to the rate for regular working hours, plus an increase of not less than 50% of that amount.

Public Holidays
Meanwhile, employees are entitled to paid leaves during the following holidays. Be advised that other holidays not mentioned below would depend on the announcement made by the authorities. So always try to subscribe to updates from Dubai news websites to get alerts when there’s a holiday coming up.

  • Hijri New Year (1 day)
  • Gregorian New Year (1 day)
  • Eid Al Fitr (2 day)
  • Waqfa Day and Eid Al Adha (3 days)
  • Prophet Mohammed’s Birthday (1 day)
  • Isra and Miraj or Ascension Day (1 day)
  • Martyr’s Day (1 day)
  • National Day (1 day)

Working hours are decreased by 2 hours per day during the holy month of Ramadan.

Annual Leave, Sick Leave, Special Leave

Aside from the public holidays, every employee is entitled to an annual leave, sick leave and special leave. Below are more details on such leaves. Please read through each point so you can understand the number of days you are allotted as per UAE law. In terms of such leaves, Employees are entitled to the following:

  • Annual leave of 2 days per month, provided that they have completed a minimum service period of 6 months and a maximum of one year.
  • Annual leave of 30 days, provided that they have completed 1 year of service
  • Sick leave of not more than 90 days per year, subject to conditions specified in the law. For the first 15 days, they will receive full pay; for the next 30 days, half pay; and no pay for the remaining 45 days.
  • Special leave of not more than 30 days, specifically for the performance of Hajj. This type of leave is without pay and granted only once throughout the worker’s years of service.

We hope that you find the above information useful. These are basic knowledge that you should learn as an expat working in the UAE. We have taken these from the labour law and is available from the MoHRE website. We are hoping that this article helps simplify the terms as well as the points.

DISCLAIMER: The topics presented in this article are for information-sharing purposes only. They may be used as a personal guide, but they should not be used as a basis for actual labour concerns or legal proceedings. To learn more about the UAE Labour Law, visit the MoHRE official website.

Related Posts: Helpful Articles Regarding UAE Labour and jobs in UAE


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