A massive set of reforms for all employees in the private sector of the United Arab Emirates was presented in the new labour law. 

The UAE’s workplace is now in line with best worldwide standards in terms of defending employee rights and drawing talent to a flexible and modern work environment.

Here are the highlights of Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 on labor relations: 

  1. WORK LEAVES
  • Five-day paternity leave within six months after the child’s birth.
  • 45-day maternity leave extends to an additional 15 days at half pay. Medical certificates must be presented for documentation.
  • If the child is born with a disability, the mother can have 30-day fully paid leave and can be extended to another 30 days with no pay. 
  • Five-day mourning leave upon the death of a spouse
  • Three-day mourning leaves upon the death of a parent, child, sibling, grandchild or grandparent.
  • Workers are entitled to have a 10-day study leave if they are enrolled to any institution accredited by the UAE. In order to get this benefit, the employee should complete the first two years of contract with the employer.  
  • Workers are entitled one day paid off. 

2. WORK MODELS

  • Workers can work on an hourly or project basis for more than one employer. 
  • Aside from the full-time scheme, part-time, temporary or flexible contracts will also be allowed.
  • Further models: Self-employment (condensed working weeks) and the shared-job model (two employed to split the job and pay based on an agreement with the company)

3. PROBATIONARY RULES

  • Probation period limited to six months.
  • A 14-day notice before terminating an employee must be submitted. 
  • One-month notice for employees wishing to change jobs during the probation period. 
  • One-year ban from obtaining a work permit for employees leaving the country without notice. 
  • If any parties will not abide in the rules. The breaching party should financially compensate the other with a pay equal to regular work days of the remaining period of notice. 

4. NO MORE UNLIMITED CONTRACTS

  • No more unlimited contracts
  • Employers should only issue limited contracts, renewable every three years, for the same or lesser period upon the agreement of both parties. 
  • Employers will be allowed to amend and correct employment contracts to fixed terms for a period of one-year. 

5. SETTING UP OF MINIMUM WAGE

  • The new law will set a minimum wage for the employees in the private sector. The UAE cabinet will determine the minimum wage based on the proposal of the Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation. 

6. IN CASE OF WORKER’S DEATH

  • In case of a worker’s death, the company is liable for repatriation cost and the worker’s salary entitlements and severance expenses to the family within 10 days of the death. 

7. STAYING IN UAE AFTER QUITTING JOB

  • No employer should prohibit workers from leaving the country after quitting work, termination or end of contract. 
  • Employers cannot confiscate the official documents of the workers. 

8. PROVISIONS ON ANTI-DISCRIMINATION

  • Non-discrimination in hiring employees on the basis of gender, race, colour, nationality, religion, social origins or disability. 
  • Protects employees against any sexual harrassment, bullying, verbal, physical or emotional abuse by employers, superiors and co-workers. 
  • Employers are not allowed to use any means of force against employees for failing to perform an action against their wants. 

9. WOMEN RIGHTS

  • Equal pay for women doing the same job, equal value as men. 

10. EXEMPTION OF JUDICIAL FEES

  • Workers are exempted from judicial fees at all stages of litigation, enforcement and petitions filed by workers with a value not more than AED100,000. 
  • Employers are liable to bear the fees and expenses of recruitment and employment of workers. 

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