Dubai: Can I take up freelance work if I have a full-time job?

Dubai - If you are working part-time, your original employer may have the right to terminate your employment contract.

By Ashish Mehta

Published: Sun 22 Aug 2021, 11:53 AM

Question: I am a graphic designer based in Dubai. I am employed full-time with a company in a freezone. Can I freelance for other companies if it does not affect my work at my firm? What's the procedure? Do I need a special permit?

Answer: Pursuant to your queries, it is assumed that you are looking for part-time employment with an entity in the mainland of UAE. Therefore, the provisions of Ministerial Decision No. (31) of 2018 Concerning Developing a New Employment System Under Part-Time Contracts (the 'Part-Time Employment Law') are applicable.

It should be noted that for an individual to commence part-time work in the UAE in addition to his/her regular work, s/he needs to have a written contract. S/he must also obtain a part-time work permit from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (the 'MOHRE'). There is no requirement for obtaining an NOC from his/her original employer.

The terms of the part-time employment contract may allow an individual to work for less than eight hours a day or 48 hours a week for the first part-time employer. But such work hours cannot be less than 20 hours a week. This is in accordance with Article 3 of the Part-Time Employment Law, which states: "The part-time contract allows the employee:

a) To work for the original employer (first part-time employer) less than eight hours per day, or less than 48 hours per week, provided that the working hours shall not be less than 20 hours per week.

b) To work simultaneously with more than one employer (second part-time employer), without having to get the permission of the original employer or any other employer he is working with."

Further, the MOHRE shall notify all employers of an individual about all his regular and part-time employment in the UAE, as per the provisions of Article 7 of the Part Time Employment Law, which states: "The ministry notifies every employer (original or secondary) about any new employer of the employee, upon obtaining by the latter a work permit from the ministry. The employee covenants to notify every employer he works with about the same."

Based on the aforementioned provisions of Part-Time Employment Law, you may be employed on a part-time basis with another employer other than your original employer after you get a permit. However, if your original employer is not keen on you being employed on a part-time basis with another employer, it may request you to not do it. However, it cannot stop you from being employed on a part-time basis if you have a valid permit from the MOHRE.

In the event you are engaged in part-time work, your original employer may have the right to terminate your employment contract. This may be done by fulfilling its obligations towards you under the provisions of the employment rules and regulations of the free zone authority you are employed with.

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