New UAE labour law: Maximum work hours, overtime for private sector employees; all you need to know

Here's how to claim overtime for additional hours of work each day



By Ashish Mehta

Published: Sun 2 Jan 2022, 11:14 AM

Last updated: Mon 3 Jan 2022, 7:57 AM

Question: In a recent Khaleej Times report, I read that the maximum work hours in a week is 48, as per new labour rules. I work in a Dubai-based firm. I am routinely required to work more than my stipulated hours due to monthly target requirements. What does this maximum cap mean for me? If I have to stay back in office daily beyond my stipulated work hours to meet my pre-decided targets, can I claim overtime? What would the compensation be and how do I claim it?

Response: It is correct that the prescribed maximum work hours are 48 hours per week, and 8 hours per day, under Article 17 (1) of the Federal Decree-Law No (33) of 2021 on the Regulation of Labour Relations (the “New Employment Law”); and under Article 7 clause 1 of the Federal Decree-Law No (47) of 2021 On the Standard General Rules of Work in the United Arab Emirates (the “New Employment Rules”). Both of these laws shall become effective for employees in the private sector in the UAE from February 2, 2022, and shall entirely replace Federal Law No 8 of 1980 on the Regulations of Employment Relations.

However, under Article 17 (2) of the New Employment Law: “The Cabinet may, upon proposal of the Minister and in coordination with the concerned entities, increase or decrease the daily working hours for certain economic sectors or certain categories or Workers, in addition to the working times, breaks and hours when work is prohibited for certain categories of workers, according to the manpower classification set by the Executive Regulations of this Decree Law.”

Thus, the maximum cap of 48 hours per week shall apply to you if your employment does not fall under any of the exempted categories determined by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE). You may contact the MoHRE, for further clarifications.

As to your second question, if your employment does not fall under the exempted categories, you are entitled to claim overtime for the additional hours of work clocked each day.

As to your third question, there are prescribed formulas to calculate overtime compensation under the New Employment Law. The relevant provisions (translated) from the New Employment Law are provided hereinafter.

“Article (19)

Overtime

1.The Employer may employ the Worker for additional working hours, provided that they do not exceed 2 (two) hours a day, and the Worker may not work more than such hours unless according to the procedures and conditions specified by the Executive Regulations of this Decree Law. In any event, the total working hours shall not exceed 144 in three weeks.

2.If the work circumstances require that the Worker be employed for hours exceeding the ordinary working hours, such extended time shall be deemed overtime for which the Worker shall be paid his Basic Wage for his normal hours of work plus a supplement of at least 25 per cent of that Wage.

3.If the work circumstances require that the Worker be employed for extra hours between 10pm and 4am, the Worker shall be paid his Basic Wage for his normal hours of work plus a supplement of at least 50 per cent of that wage. This paragraph shall not apply to Workers by shifts.

4.If the work circumstances require that the Worker be employed on the rest day specified in the Employment Contract, or the internal work regulations, he shall be compensated with a substitute rest day, or be paid his basic wage for his normal hours of work plus a supplement of at least 50 per cent of that wage.

5.The Worker may not be employed more than two consecutive rest days, except for the daily workers.”

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Pursuant to the above, you may prevail upon your employer for payment of overtime, if you qualify for the same. If your employer refuses to do so, you may approach the MoHRE with your grievances.

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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