UAE announces first-ever labour market award to recognise best practices

Emirates labour market award was meant to attract more talent and businesses to the country


Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Wed 10 May 2023, 2:35 PM

Last updated: Wed 10 May 2023, 10:04 PM

Domestic workers, labourers, companies and businesses in the UAE will be awarded as part of the first ever Emirates Labour Market Award.

Divided into three categories, the award will recognise best practices and encourage workers and companies that go the extra mile. The initiative aims to enhance the UAE labour market’s competitiveness, improve its productivity and efficiency, recognise outstanding practices in the work environment, and protect and encourage the workers’ rights, while advancing well-being and quality of life for the workforce across private sector establishments.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) will begin accepting applications for the award on June 1, 2023, through The deadline for receiving applications is August 31. Following this, in-office and on-field evaluations will take place in September, before the award ceremony is held in November.

Dr. Abdulrahman Al Awar, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation said the awards were meant to attract more talent and businesses to the country. “The award is a message of appreciation to the private sector, and comes at a time when the UAE is continuously developing laws and policies for the labour market that is an incubator for multi-cultured investors and employees enriching the UAE community,” he said.

Dr. Al Awar gave the example of a workers’ accommodation that he visited. “There was a playground for the workers and the safety and health standards were extremely high,” he said. “It is important to recognise and reward these companies for their commitment to provide such high-quality environment for their workers.”

According to the organisers of the award, winners will benefit from access to improved facilities and other advantages. Those who win the award will not be allowed to participate in two subsequent cycles of the program. Companies across mainland and free zones will be eligible to participate in the awards. Dr. Al Awar highlighted that an unbiased committee from outside the ministry will oversee the evaluation and selection of winners to ensure equitable selection.

The award will be handed out in three categories- establishments, outstanding workforce and business service partners category.


The first category which is for establishments or companies is divided into a main category and six subcategories split by the size of establishments (small, medium, large, very large).

Four establishments will be recognised in the main category, for adopting the best practices in human resources and accomplishing the strictest compliance with work environment regulations and standards.

Awards will also be handed out in six subcategories. These include

1. Employment empowerment and attracting skilled labour practices

2. Occupational health and safety practices

3. Employment relationships and wages practices

4. Workforce wellbeing and quality of life

5. Futureproofing

6. Outstanding workers’ accommodation

Four companies will be awarded in each of these subcategories, leading to a total of 28 companies to be rewarded.

To apply for the Establishments Category, the establishments must be registered on the MoHRE’s database and should have been in the labour market for two years or more. They must not be government-owned, have had a judicial ruling issued against them, or have had any penalties imposed on them for violating the labour legislation in force in the UAE during the previous year.

Outstanding Workforce

This category recognizes the outstanding workers that have served the UAE’s businesses and communities. The criteria for this category are achievement, creativity and innovation, continuous learning, and social responsibility. It is divided into three subcategories:

1. Skilled labour: This includes high-level professionals that have been working for at least one year

2. Unskilled labour: This category encompasses employees from the sixth occupational level or below

3. General nominations: It includes all workforce types and is drawn from those who have had a positive impact and a unique mark on UAE society. Nominations for the General Nominations Category are accepted from government agencies, private sector establishments, and the community overall.

To be nominated for the award, participants must have worked at the establishment for no less than one year. The participant’s profile must be free of violations, and participants must not have had a labour complaint/ suspension registered against them during the previous year.

Four winners will be acknowledged within each category, totalling 12 awards.

Business Services Partners Category

This category acknowledges Business Service Partners, which includes companies that have helped develop the best-in-class labour market practices. It is divided into three subcategories:

1. Domestic Workers Recruitment Agencies: This will recognise those recruitment agencies that apply best practices by providing suitable support for their domestic workers and meet the aspirations of the families that are dealing with them to obtain the required services.

2. Employment Agencies: This will acknowledge leading employment that apply best practices to attract skilled human resources according to the labour market's needs to increase productivity and raise the labour market’s efficiency.

3. Business Service Centres: Leading business service centres that adopt best practices and enable their staff to provide outstanding services to the UAE’s business sector will be awarded.

One winner will be awarded for each category. Winning entities must be registered in MoHRE’s database and have been in the labour market for two years or more. They must not be government-owned, have had a judicial ruling issued against them, or have had any penalties imposed on them for violating the labour legislation in force in the UAE during the previous year. It must also commit to completing the nomination application and to the award's timeframe. Entities that win the award are not allowed to participate until two sessions have passed since they received the award.


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