UAE: Teens say new labour law will help them become independent

Announced on Monday, the law provides students with an enriching work experience under conditions that protect their rights

By Sherouk Zakaria

Published: Thu 18 Nov 2021, 12:51 PM

High school students have lauded the UAE's juvenile employment laws, which enables them to hone their skills for future competitive markets and shape their character prior to graduation under protected contracts.

Announced on Monday, the Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 on regulating labour relations states that teenagers aged 15 and above can work in the country after obtaining a written consent from their guardians and a medical fitness report.

Coupled with the government’s earlier announcement in September of a new part-time work visa for juveniles, the law provides students with an enriching work experience under conditions that protect their rights.

Khan Ayaan, a 17-year-old senior at Delhi Private School, said the government is providing “a great platform” for students to apply school learnings in a real-world environment under regulations that prevent exploitations and, therefore, school underperformance.

Under the new law, teenagers are prohibited from working over six hours a day or engaging in hazardous work that can harm their health and well-being. They are restrained from taking night shifts from 7pm to 7am, and working on weekends and public holidays.

The executive regulations, to be out soon, will determine the sectors that teenagers cannot work in, with an exemption criterion of the entities that can train juveniles.

As a manager of a school youth hub and a participant at Funun Arts, Ayaan said working at a young age helps him earn a sense of responsibility that equally improves his academic performance.

“In three months of work, I have learned a lot in terms of time management, independence, communication, and leadership," he said.

Adam Al Amir, 16, noted that working in a safe environment will help students earn life skills and enrich their university resumes to study the fields they are most passionate about.

“We will be able to earn profit and become independent, while preserving our health and rights to financial compensation,” said Al Amir, a Grade 11 student at the International School of Choueifat.

Exploring emerging markets of the modern workplace and determining the desired field early on is a main advantage that 17-year-old Adnan Fazulbhoy pointed out.

“Having internships or part-time jobs gives a chance to assess the market and explore the future sectors to partake in.”

He added: “I have discovered my passion for computer engineering in my senior year, but I am certain I could have found it earlier if I had joined the workplace at a younger age.”


Knowing the value of money is another important aspect in a teenager’s life.

“Life in the UAE comes with many privileges that we cannot see until we join the labour market and experience firsthand the difficulties that come with earning money,” said Fazulbhoy, a Grade 12 student at the Indian High School.

Yash Arvind, 14, said getting employed at a young age can be an eye-opening experience in a multitude of ways, especially for students who are willing to put in the extra efforts to strengthen their foundations.

“Getting hands-on experience and knowledge will allow us to start building our profile right away, rather than starting from scratch after completing our studies,” said the International School of Choueifat student.

“This is the time where we can be free to experiment, make errors, and learn from them.”

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