New UAE labour law explained: Weekly days off, 3-year contracts; how latest rules change work systems

The law is effective from February 2



By Ashish Mehta

Published: Sun 9 Jan 2022, 10:30 AM

Last updated: Mon 10 Jan 2022, 12:07 AM

Question: Can you explain the new labour law that is set to go into effect from next month? How does it unify public and private sector work systems? What is this new three-year labour contract?

Answer: On September 20, 2021, the UAE government issued Federal Decree-Law No. 47 of 2021 on the Standard General Rules of Work in the UAE (the ‘New UAE Standard Rules of Work Law’), wherein employees both in government and private sectors will have similar working environment and facilities. These include equality, non-discrimination, models of work, similar hours of work, leave and payment of end of service benefits. The said law is effective from February 2, 2022.

It should be noted that the objective of unified working systems in the UAE is to promote an effective, attractive, and sustainable employment market and to identify the rights of all the employees and workers in the UAE in a balanced manner. This is in accordance with Article 2 of the New UAE Standard Rules of Work Law, which states, "The objective of this Decree-Law is to:

1. Elaborate and unify the general rules of work for all employees and workers in the UAE.

2. Promote an effective, attractive and sustainable employment market by ensuring protection for parties to the work relationship and its developments.

3. Identify the rights of all Employees and Workers in the UAE in a balanced way.

4. Create balance and complementarity between public and private sectors in respect of an attractive and efficient work environment."

Further, Article 4 of the New UAE Standard Rules of Work Law stresses on equality and non-discrimination on grounds of race, colour, sex, religion, nation origin, ethnic origin or disability in respect of work.

It should be also noted that both government and private sector employees may enjoy various model of working systems such as full-time, part time, temporary and flexible employment as mentioned in Article 6 of the New UAE Standard Rules of Work Law.

Article 7 of the New UAE Standard Rules of Work Law states the working hours for both government and private sector employees shall be the same. However, the working hours for a few private sector firms may be increased or decreased, subject to approvals by Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation. The working hours may be eight per day or 48 per week. Further, one day in a week will be a weekly holiday, which may be increased.

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Further, the annual, maternity, paternity, sick, study, and bereavement leaves for both government and private sector employees are same as mentioned in Article 9 of the New UAE Standard Rules of Work Law. Article 11 of the New UAE Standard Rules of Work Law also stresses on the same method of calculation of end of service benefits (gratuity) for both government and private sector employees.

However, with regards to your query on three years of unified employment contract, Article 8 (3) of the New Employment Law states that an employment contract may not exceed three years. However, the same is subject to executive regulations to be issued by the Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation as mentioned in Article 8 (6) of the New Employment Law. Currently, government employees and most of the freezone employees are granted three years of employment contract.

Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom and India. Full details of his firm on: www.amalawyers.com. Readers may e-mail their questions to: news@khaleejtimes.com or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.


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