UAE: What can employees do if company denies reduced Ramadan work hours?

Private sector employees in the Emirates work two hours less during the Islamic holy month


Ashish Mehta

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Published: Sun 10 Mar 2024, 8:18 AM

Last updated: Sun 17 Mar 2024, 7:26 AM

Question: I read about reduced working hours for private sector employees during Ramadan. I have been working for a company in Dubai for the past ten years and was never allowed the 2-hour reduction in work hours. What should I do about this? Who do I complain to? What happens after?

Answer: Pursuant to your queries, it is assumed that you are employed by a private company located in the mainland of Dubai. Therefore, the provisions of Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Employment Relations and Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022 on the Implementation of Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 Regarding the Regulations of Employment Relations are applicable.

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In the UAE, an employee is entitled to two hours of reduced working hours per day during Ramadan. This is in accordance with Article 17(4) of the Employment Law read with Article 15(2) of the Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022, which states, “Subject to the provisions of Article 17 of the Decree Law:

  • The regular working hours shall be reduced by two hours during the holy month of Ramadan."

On March 4, 2024, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) announced the reduction of working hours by two hours per day for private sector employees in the UAE during Ramadan. The MoHRE, in its statement, mentioned that “In accordance with the requirements and nature of their work, companies may apply flexible or remote work patterns within the limits of the daily working hours during Ramadan.”

Based on the aforementioned provision of law and the recent announcement of MoHRE, you as an employee are entitled to reduced working hours during Ramadan as stipulated by UAE Employment Law and the announcement of MoHRE. If your employer does not comply with the UAE Employment Law related to reduced working hours during the holy month of Ramadan, you may file a complaint against your employer with the MoHRE. Based on your complaint, the MoHRE may take appropriate action against your employer as deemed necessary.

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: Readers may e-mail their questions to: or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.


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