UAE Labour Law: Rules on Working Hours

In a previous article, we talked about working part-time in the UAE. Today, we will focus on full-time workers, particularly on legal working hours, overtime, and other related matters.

What are the regular working hours in the UAE? When is a period of work considered as “overtime”? These are just some of the questions that we will try to answer in this article, based on information shared through the Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation (MoHRE) website.

Do you know the rules on working hours in the UAE?

Rules on Working Hours in the UAE

When it comes to working hours, rest periods, and other time-related concerns, here is what the UAE Labour Law has to say:

Working Hours (Article 65)

  • The maximum number of regular working hours is 8 hours/day or 48 hours/week.
  • The number of hours may be increased to 9 hours/day for those who are employed in hotels, cafeterias, security, and other jobs.
  • The number of hours may be reduced for those who are in strenuous or “harmful” jobs.
  • Regular working hours are reduced by 2 hours during Ramadan.
  • Time spent by workers on commuting from their house to the workplace is not included in the working hours.

Travel time to and from the workplace is not calculated as working hours.

Rest Periods, Meals, & Prayer (Article 66)

  • Workers should not work for more than 5 consecutive hours without stopping for rest, meals, and prayer.
  • The total periods for these should be not less than 1 hour. These are not included in the working hours.
  • For jobs that involve uninterrupted work (e.g. factories), the Ministry of Labour shall regulate periods of rest, meals, and prayer.

Overtime (Articles 67 & 68)

  • If an employee is required to work beyond regular working hours, the additional period is considered as “overtime.” In terms of salary, this amounts to the regular hourly wage plus 25 percent of the said rate.
  • If an employee renders overtime between 9 pm and 4 am, his or her salary amounts to the regular hourly wage plus 50 percent of the said rate.

Overtime work amounts to overtime pay.

Rest Day (Article 70)

  • Friday is the weekly rest day for all workers.
  • If an employee is required to work on this day, he or she is entitled to a substitute rest day or the salary amounts to the regular hourly wage plus 50 percent of the said rate.

Work Schedule (Article 73)

  • The employer should post the working hours, rest periods, and rest day for all worker categories.
  • This schedule should be displayed on the main entrance and in prominent locations in the workplace.

NOTE: These rules do not apply to supervisors, managers, and other persons with high-ranking positions (Article 72). The same goes for sea workers and crew of naval vessels.

Read more about the UAE Labour Law.

DISCLAIMER: The details presented above are for information-sharing purposes only. To learn more about labour policies in the country, please visit the official MoHRE website. Meanwhile, here are more details on working hours, official leaves, & vacations in the UAE.


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