As you’re already aware of the new labor law set to take effect from February 2022 in UAE, let’s know more about the amendments and regulations in the country.

On November 16, 2021, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE president, issued the new UAE Labour Law (Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021) to introduce significant changes in the employment sectors of UAE. It includes the following,

- Contracts & Termination Rules

- Flexible Work Hours (Part-time & temporary)

- New Leaves Policy

- Equality & Non-Discrimination

- End of Service Gratuity

The main objective behind the new decree-law is to integrate both sectors. In the press conference, Dr. Abdulrahman Al Awar, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratization stated that the changes “limit the difference between both sectors in a way that will boost our goals of establishing an integrated, sustainable and efficient and more attractive work environment”.


Contracts & Probation Rules

Only limited contracts will be issued in both sectors regardless of position from 2022. And it must not exceed more than three years.

Employers must convert the unlimited contract to a limited one year of enforcement. It can also be renewed or extended for a similar or shorter period once or more.

The new labor law unifies annual leave for all employees of government and public sectors.

Under previous law, the employer cannot terminate employees during the probation period without giving notice. Now, the new law introduces a 14 days’ notice period requirement for employers to terminate the employees during the probation period. It also stipulates that the probation period should not extend more than six months in duration.


Flexible Work Hours & Work Categories

According to Federal Decree-Law No.33 (the New UAE Labour Law),

- Maximum working hours are eight hours per day and 48 hours a week.

- Employees should not work more than 5 hours without a break.

- Overtime work should not exceed two hours, and employees should be paid for overtime work at least a 25% increase of the standard hourly wage.

- If employees work overtime between 10 pm and 4 am, they must be paid at a rate of at least 50% increasing of regular hourly rate.

Moreover, the government made a major shift cutting the working week to four-and-half days, reforming the weekend from Friday-Saturday to Saturday-Sunday. Public sector weekend begins with Friday noon Prayers and ends on Sunday.

It is to align UAE work with the global business model and enhance the life-work balance and wellbeing of the employees.


Under the new Law, work categories of employees are:

- Full-time employees: Working for one employer on a full-time basis.

- Part-time employees: Working part-time for specific hours or days.

- Temporary or flexible: Work carried out for a specific duration of time. It may involve changing working hours depending on the business requirements.

New Leaves Policy

According to new laws, private and public sector employees can get 30 days annual leave each year regardless of position. Employees get paid during annual leave (in advance).

Also, employees are entitled to at least one day week off with the possibility of an increase in weekly rest days at the employer’s discretion.

Additional leaves include,

- Maternity/Paternity leave: Maternity leaves can be extended to 60 days (45 days with full wage, followed by 15 days of half-paid wage) Paternity leave of 5 days for child care within six months of child’s birth.

- Compassionate leave: 3-5 days depending on the relationship of the deceased.

- Sick leave: Under new regulations, employees of both sectors can take at least 90 days of sick leave a year, with 15 paid sick leaves, following 30 days half-paid.

- Study leaves: Employees are entitled to a 10-day study leave after two years of service.

- Hajj leaves: Article 87 states that employees can get up to 30 days unpaid leave for Hajj, granted only once during the service period.


Equality & Non-Discrimination

The new UAE labour law introduces equal opportunities and equal payment despite race, gender, nationality, colour, religion, or disability. The amendments reflect gender equality, granting equal wages to women as men performing the same tasks.

The Decree-Law prohibits any forced labour, harassment, bullying, or verbal, physical, or psychological violence against employees in the workplace.

Wage Payment

Companies must have the option to pay the salary in other currencies, not only in UAE currency dirhams. It must be mentioned in the employment contract.

Resignation & End of Service Gratuity

Under the new labour law, employees have the right to an end-of-service gratuity. Public sector ex-pat workers will have the same gratuity as the private sector.

All workers are entitled to end-of-service benefits calculated according to their basic wage, which is 21 days salary for the first five years and 30 days salary for each subsequent year.

Workers must provide 30 days’ notice period when resigning, whether on probation or permanent. Employees must give a 14-day notice if employees want to leave the country during their probation.

Employees can get one day of unpaid leave every week during the notice period to attend interviews and search for jobs.

New Employment laws attract future growth and well-being of the workforce to modernize the UAE employment legislation. Our blog covers essential changes to the UAE Labour Law, but it is not complete.

To find out more about the new UAE Labor Law, please visit the MOHRE website.

(Laws & Regulations | Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation (

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