UAE labour law: 4 instances when employees can leave a job without notice

A one-year labour ban may be imposed if expats resign without a lawful reason before the end of their contracts


Sherouk Zakaria

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Published: Sat 9 Apr 2022, 10:23 AM

Last updated: Sat 9 Apr 2022, 10:34 PM

The UAE labour law imposes a one-year labour ban on expat workers who leave their jobs without a lawful reason before the end of their contracts.

To leave a job, an employee must submit a written notice of a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of 90 days as agreed in the employment contract.

If an employee is absent for seven consecutive days without a lawful reason, an employer can issue a report to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (Mohre), provided that the employer has no knowledge of the worker’s location and no means of reaching them.

However, Article 45 of the law details four instances that allows employees to leave a job without serving a notice period:

1. If the employer has failed to meet contractual or legal obligations towards the worker - such as payment of wages - provided that the worker reports the violation to Mohre 14 days before leaving work without a response from the employer despite receiving a notification from the ministry.

2. If the employee was assaulted or harassed by the employer, or a representative of the employer, while on duty, provided that the worker informs the ministry within five working days.

3. If the employee is under any safety or health risks at the workplace with the knowledge of the employer, who did not take any measures to remove the danger. Some of the work hazards that enable an employee to leave without notice are:

  • An inflammable source on site
  • Exposure to electric cables that can result in a shock or death
  • Hazardous chemical substances that may affect an employee’s health and well-being
  • High temperatures on site that may cause burns
  • Exposure to consistent loud noise that can cause a permanent hearing damage
  • Exposure to radiation that can cause cancer or blindness
  • Any other biological risks present on site

4. If the employee is requested to perform a job that is substantially different from the original job agreed on in the employment contract, without the written approval of the employee. Normally, employers can temporarily request a different job from a worker if urgent and necessary under specific conditions detailed in the law, provided that a worker submits a written approval.


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