Here,s everything you need to know about the UAE labor Law

The U.A.E Labor Law provides guarantees to protect the worker’s wage and to obtain it in full as stipulated by law.Here,s everything you require to know if you are living and working in the UAE.

1. What is a work Permit?

Work permit issued by the Ministry of Labor is a pre-requisite for employing any worker in any firm or organization. The permit is issued to the UAE employer after verifying the need for a new worker. The permit is issued only to licensed firms operating in the UAE and having membership with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

2. Who could get employment in the UAE?

Any person aged between 18 & 60 years of age, having professional or academic qualifications useful to the UAE, medically fit and not suffering from any illness with a passport valid for at least six months could get an employment in the UAE.

3. What are the expenses charged to the employee?

According to the UAE Labor Law neither the employer nor his agent can demand money from the worker except the placement fee . Charges towards Visa, Air tickets, transit accommodation etc. are all have to be borne by the UAE employer.

4. What are the important things that are to be noted before accepting the employment?

Firstly, check on the Company offering the job either through a known contact in the UAE or through the Embassy in Abu Dhabi or the Consulate in Dubai and satisfy that, the company is exist and functioning.

Secondly, Verify the terms of contract you are signing with the employer to find out the following:

1). what is the basic salary –Only basic salary counts for calculating the end of service benefits. Atleast 40% of your total salary should be your basic salary.

ii). No charges should be made for accommodation and transport from palace of stay to place of work and vice versa.

iii) Food allowance or providing free food should be clarified. The total salary should be calculated excluding the food charges, if any.

iv). what is the entitlement regarding Annual leave. How many days a year the leave is given?

v). the cost of Air Tickets should be borne by the employer when you leave the country for joining and on completion of the contract to hometown.

vi) Details of other allowances?

vii) The employment contract should state the date of commencement of the contract, term, designation of the worker.

5. How important is the Employment Contract?

i). For all purposes of reference, the details mentioned in the employment contract alone will matter. Only when the employment contract is filed with the Labor Department, the worker becomes recognized. The employment contract is also required for obtaining the Labor Card. Labor card provides the identity for the worker. When the employment contract is not registered with the Labor department, it could lead to many problems for the worker.

ii) As the worker arrives in the UAE, he/she should have an employment contract signed by him/her with the employer. The contract should be written in Arabic and English.

iii) The employment contract should be made in three copies, one to be kept with the worker, another with the employer and the third with the competent labor department (make sure you have your copy from the contract, and you should keep it throughout the contract term).

6. What is the importance of a Labour Card?

i. The Employer should obtain a labor card for the recruited worker within 60 days of the latter‟s arrival to the UAE. Should the employer fail to do so, the worker should inform the Labor Department about his employment and entry. The Ministry of Labor could be approached via email or directly.

ii. The card is valid for three years renewable for a similar period, with the consent of the employer and the worker. The card should be renewed within sixty days from the date of expiry. The responsibility is with the employer to renew the card. Normally, it should be renewed within 60 days from the date of expiry.

7. Who are the Private Recruitment Agencies?

There are several recruitment agencies licensed to recruit foreign manpower. These agencies are subject to specific conditions, they should not receive any fees from the workers in consideration of the brokerage to find them a job. These agencies receive remuneration from the employers, who ask them to call for labour from abroad.

8. What are the working hours?

Normally the working hour is eight hours a day or 48 hours a week. These working hours may be decreased or increased in certain situation subject to the approval of the Ministry of Labor. During Ramadan the ordinary working hours will be decreased by two hours in. If he/she was required to work overtime between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m., he /she will receive 50% of his/her salary. The overtime may not exceed two hours except in cases of major force.

9. Is Friday a holiday for all the workers?

Friday is the weekend for all workers, except for the per day manpower. If the worker had to work on Friday, he/she should have another day to relax or receive the basic salary for the ordinary working hours plus at least 50% of that salary.

10. What are the entitlement regarding the annual leave?

Normally two days for each month, if his/her term of service is more than six months and less than one year. Where the service extends beyond one year, thirty days a year is the norm. However, this should be included in the employment contract for enforcing the same.

11. When can the sickness leave or the medical leave are utilized? And how it is computed?

After the completion of the probationary period, the worker becomes eligible for the sick leave. If the worker has spent three months of continuous service after the probationary period suffered from an illness, he/she would be entitled to a sick leave of no more than 90 consecutive or intermittent days for each year of service. It will be computed as follows:

A. First Fifteen Days = Full Pay
B. Next Thirty Days = Half Pay
C. Following Periods = No Pay

12. What is the provision for the maternity leave?

A period of 45 days against a full pay, including the period before and after delivery is admissible wherever, the service is more than a year. In cases, where the entire service rendered is less than a year, the leave is admissible against an entitlement of half pay.

13. What are the other leaves eligible for the workers?

a. Ten days of official holidays per year.

b. Hajj Leave: It is a special leave for Muslim workers granted once during the term of service. It is granted without pay and is not computed with the other leaves. It may not exceed 30 days.

13. What is the compensation for work related injuries & disabilities?

The UAE Labour Law makes it obligatory for the employer to meet all the medical expenses incurred wherever, the employee has sustained injuries while on the job. In addition to this, full salary has to be paid to the employee -undergoing treatment –in full for the first six months or the completion of the treatment, whichever is shorter. Further, the employee should be given half pay for the next six months, in case the treatment continues beyond six months.

14. What is the death Compensation?

If the work injury leads to demise of the individual, the employer is obligated to pay a compensation equivalent to twenty four months basic salary subject to a minimum of AED 18,000 and a maximum of AED 35,000. However, if it is proved that, the work injury was caused as a result of the negligence of the worker or any intended effort to harm him as in suicides, there will not be any compensation as per the Article 153 of the UAE Labor Law No. 8 of 1980.

15. How will the death compensation be distributed?

It will be distributed to his/her family members who are entitled thereto, in the following manner.

a. The widow or widows

b. The sons: The sons who are below 17 years of age and those who are regularly attending schools and have not completed 24 years of age, or those who mentally or physically are incapable to earn their living.

c. Unwed daughters

d. The parents

e. Brothers and Sisters

16. What is the forum available for settling the Labour Disputes?

Initially, the complainant has to file a petition before the competent Labour department official. The Labor department will provide some time to settle the disputes between the complainant (worker) and the employer. After the expiry of this interval, the matter will be referred to Labor court by the Ministry of Labor. The report will have the complaint, the response from the opposite party and the views of the Labour Ministry. Then the case will be heard by the judge presiding over the court.

However, in the case of dispute concerning a group of workers are concerned, the reconciliatory committee in the Labor Ministry will handle the cases and try and solve the disputes amicably.

17. Is there a time limit for filing cases in Labor disputes?

No case of labor dispute can be raised in any Labor court after a period of one year has passed since the occurrence of the event that led to the dispute.

18. When can the Employment Contract be terminated?

The employment contract could be terminated in any of the following situations.

1. In the event of mutual consent by both parties to terminate the contract provided that the worker‟s consent is made in writing.

2. On expiry of the period specified in the contract unless the contract is expressly or implicitly extended in accordance with the provisions hereof.

3. At the discretion of either party in unlimited employment contracts provided parties abide by the provisions of this Law regarding warnings and acceptable causes for termination of the contract without being arbitrary.

4. The employer and the employee may terminate an unlimited term contract for
a valid reason, at any time after the conclusion thereof, by a written notice
served at least 30 days prior to the termination.

As for the by day workers, the period of notice shall be as follows:

A. One week if the workman/women have been working for more than 6 months but less than one year.
B. Two weeks if the workman has been working for at least one year.
C. One month if the workman has been working for at least five years.

5. The employer may dismiss the worker without notice in the following cases:

A. If the worker adopts a false identity or nationality or if he/she submits forged documents or certificates.
B. If the worker is appointed under a probationary period and dismissal occurred during or at the end of said period.
C. If he/she commits an error causing substantial material loss to the
employer provided that the latter advises the labour department of the incident within 48 hours from having knowledge of the same.
D. If the worker violates instructions concerning safety of the place of
business provided that such instructions are displayed in writing at
conspicuous places and in case of an illiterate worker the latter be
informed verbally of the same.
E. If he/she fails to perform his/her basic duties under the contract of
employment and persists in violating them despite formal investigation with him in this respect and warning him of dismissal if the same is
F. If he/she divulges any secrets of the establishment where he/she is
G. If he/she is awarded final judgment by the competent court in respect of an offence prejudicing honour, honesty or public morals.
H. If during working hours he/she is found drunk or under the influence of drug.
I. If in the course of his/her work he/she commits an assault on the employer, the manager or any of his/her colleagues.
J. If he/she absents himself without lawful excuse for more than twenty intermittent days or for more than seven successive day during one year.

19. What are the end of service Benefits?

The worker, who has completed one year or more in the continuous service, is entitled to the end of service benefit at the end of his/her service. Days of absence from work without pay are not included in computing the period of service, and the benefit is to be calculated as follows:

A. Twenty one day‟s pay for each year of the first five years of service.

B. Thirty days pay for each additional year provided that the entire total benefit shall not exceed 10 years pay.

The end of service benefit shall be computed on the basis of the last salary which the worker was entitled to, in respect of those drawing their salary per month, week or day, and on the basis of the average daily wage stipulated in Article (57) in respect of those drawing their wages on piece work basis. Allowances are not included.

If a worker under a contract with unlimited period has left his/her work at his/her own option after a continuous service of not less than one year and not more than three years, he/she shall be entitled to two third of the end of service gratuity provided for in the previous Article, where the continuous period of service exceeds 3 years but 5 years, he/she shall be entitled to two thirds of such gratuity. If the period of his/her continued service exceeded 5 years he/she becomes entitled to the full benefits.

If a worker under a contract with limited period leaves his/her work before the end of the contract period he/she shall not be entitled to end of service benefits unless the period of his/her continuous service exceeds five years.

The worker shall be fully deprived of the end of service benefit in any of the following cases:

A. If he/she is dismissed from service for any reason in accordance with Article (120) of the Labour Law which are listed in Part VIII, paragraph 5 of this guide.

B. If he/she leaves his/her work willings and without notice in cases other than those enumerated in Article (121) of the Labour Law with respect to unlimited period contracts or before he/she completes five years of continuous service with respect to limited period contracts.

20. Who all could change the Sponsorship?

Employees who are not included in the following categories cannot change their sponsors.
1. Engineers
2. Doctors, pharmacists and nurses
3. Universities and higher college teachers
4. Experts, legal consultants, economists, financial and management staff, who hold university higher degrees
5. Computer/information system analysts and programmers, who hold university degrees in these field
6. Specialist and technicians in the field of oil and gas exploration and other related fields
7. Athletes coaches for different sports
8. Specialists in sea and air navigation
9. Other categories subject to Ministry approval

21. What are the conditions under which the sponsorship could be transferred?

1. Worker or employee shall hold with the new sponsor the same occupation he/she used to hold with the previous Sponsor.

2. Worker or employee should be a holder of a valid residence visa stamped on his/her passport.

3. Worker or employee should have completed at least 2 years of service with previous employer.

4. Worker or employee should obtain no objection from his previous employer to transfer from the Sponsorship, after completing two years.

5. No UAE or GCC citizen, who is registered as job applicant with
the competent authorities is available to occupy the job, subject
matter of the visa transfer.

22. What is the procedure for repatriation after the expiry of the contract?

After the worker had completed his/her term of service at the UAE, he/she
should make the arrangements to leave the State immediately, otherwise
his/her residence will be deemed illegal. The Employer must take the
following measures:

1. Cancellation of the work permit
2. The employer shall bear the expenses towards Air passage. In case,
the worker had changes the sponsor in between, the last employer
/Sponsor with whom he worked has to pay the coat of repatriation.
3. In case employment is terminated for a reason blamed on the
worker, repatriation shall be at his/her own expense if he/she has
sufficient means.
4. In case of death of the worker the coffin shall be transported at the
expense of the employer.

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