UAE Labour Employment Law Essay Sample

Employment and Labour Law in UAE Essay

In this sample essay, we provide information on the labor and employment law applicable in the UAE. As a whole and briefly note areas, where the rules in free zones (including ADGM and DIFC) differ from these general provisions.

The UAE (United Arab Emirates) is a federation of 7 states. These states are Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm Al Quwain. Employment and Labouring are matters of regulation at the federal level. A principal item of legislation is the Labour Law (Federal Law Number 8 on the Organisation of Labour Relations), accompanied by a range of Ministerial Decrees and Resolutions.

The Labour Law generally applies to employment relationships throughout the UAE, excluding the domestic servants, public sector, and various agricultural workers. This situation is getting obscured by the existence of around thirty-five “free zones” inside the federation. Companies can operate under specific rules on matters including foreign ownership, taxation, repatriation of profits/capital, and, in some cases, employment. These zones are established by individual emirates, with Dubai particularly active in this respect.

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Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) have entirely distinct legal systems (based on the common law) and their employment legislation (substituting the Labours Law of UAE), precisely the DIFC Employment Law and ADGM Employment Regulations. However, in some cases, the regulations and rules governing these zones contain provisions on employment that differ to some extent from the Labour Law. The main areas of difference relate to the employment of UAE nationals and foreign, safety and health, payment of salaries/wages, and termination of employment.

Understanding Employment Law in the United Arab Emirates 

UAE Employment Laws cover employment stages such as recruitment, employment contracts, pay grades, leaves, working hours, vacations, equality rights, health, safety, termination, and security. Here, We will be discussing them one by one in detail: 

Recruitment and Selection:-

  • Recruitment and selection are generally subject to little legal guidance, except for propositions that promote or require the employment of UAE nationals. 
  • Probationary periods, during which the employer can terminate the contract of employment without notice, may last up to six months. 
  • An employment contract is solid as an agreement between a worker and an employer in return for a wage. 
  • All workers must have an employment contract written in a standard format, containing specified minimum information, which must be registered under the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation. 
  • The maximum employment bound duration is two years, renewable for one or more years or shorter times. 


  • Employers must generally pay employees once a month or once a fortnight depending on how their wages are calculated by bank deposit, using a government-run electronic Wage Protection System, and must observe rules on deductions from pay. There is no statutory minimum wage.

Working Hours and Holidays –

  • Workers’ usual working time must be a maximum of eight hours a day, 6 hours during Ramadan and 48 hours per week, and overtime above these limits entitles a worker to a pay supplement of 25%, or 50% for overtime between 9 pm and 4 am. 
  • Workers are generally entitled to a one-hour break after five hours’ work and a weekly rest day, usually on Fridays. 
  • Workers are allowed thirty calendar days of paid leave annually after one year of service. 
  • Pregnant workers are empowered to forty-five days of maternity leave on half or full pay if they have less than one year’s service. An employer must not dismiss a pregnant employee.
  • During their employment with an employer, workers are entitled on one occasion to take up to 30 days’ unpaid leave to undertake the Hajj pilgrimage. 
  • Workers are generally entitled to a maximum of 90 calendar days of sick leave in a year, with the first 45 days full or partly paid. 

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Equality Rights and Security-

  • There is a non-specific ban on any discrimination that prejudices equal jobs access, equal opportunity of employment, equal employment continuity or equal enjoyment rights, and on the differentiation between employees with the same work responsibilities. 
  • Female employees must get paid equal wages to that man performing an identical task. 
  • Trade unions and strikes are illegal, and collective bargaining non-existent. 
  • Employers must provide workers with adequate protection against hazards or occupational injury and disease that might happen during work. They also have a range of specific obligations in this area.

Termination of Employment-

  • In policy, an employer may dismiss a worker at any time by giving the required notice and may also dismiss a worker without notice on misconduct-related grounds. However, if the employer dismisses a worker provided-notice for “arbitrary” reasons, the worker may claim compensation, and specific protection applies to UAE nationals.

These are the general employment laws followed by all zones (excluding Abu Dhabi and Dubai). 

Employment & Labour Law in Abu Dhabi and Dubai

  • The recruitment and selection policy is the same as in the UAE. Besides, employers must not influence, induce,  or persuade any person to work with them or become an employee:
    • type of work
    • conditions of employment
    • availability of a position
    • Remuneration
    • Title and job description in DIFC.
  • There is no statutory prohibition of discrimination against job candidates on any grounds in recruitment and selection.
  • Probationary periods are permitted and can live up to 6 months. During a probation period, either party can terminate the employment contract without giving any prior notification.
  • A job offer letter and work permit rights are the same as UAE, with the ADGM and DIFC authorities issuing ID cards (with a validity of up to three years).
  • UAE provisions on Emiratisation and the priority employment of UAE nationals do not apply.

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