Establishing employment relations properly, amending them in case of need and, if necessary, terminating them in a fair manner

Regardless of whether you are an employer or an employee, we support you in all labour-related issues, such as:

  • Drafting and reviewing employment contracts, bonus agreements and employee handbooks
  • Advising on individual employment questions, such as severance pay and non-competition clauses
  • Assisting with the cancellation of employment relationships by termination notice or settlement agreement
  • Coordinating visa-related matters

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From a European perspective, the labour laws of the United Arab Emirates ("UAE") can be considered rather employer-friendly. Amongst others, this assessment is based on the stipulations concerning the termination of employment and the fact that neither trade unions nor work councils currently exist.

Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 as amended ("UAE Labour Law") forms the primary legal basis with regard to the relation between employer and employee.

When entering into an employment relationship, special attention needs to be paid to the drafting of the employment contract. Apart from local rules and regulations, legal requirements of the home country of the employer and the employee may have to be taken into consideration as well should the employee be seconded to the UAE.

The employment contract may be concluded for an unlimited or a limited period. The kind of contract affects, inter alia, claims for compensation and gratuity.

Provisions of the employment contract may deviate from the UAE Labour Law only if they are in favour of the employee.

Relevant aspects during the employment relationship are for instance:

a. Salary

The UAE Labour Law does not provide for a minimum wage. In general, the remuneration is divided into basic salary and various allowances.

b. Working Hours

Friday is the regular weekly holiday for all employees except for those who work on a daily basis. Hence, the UAE Labour Law generally stipulates a six-day week. However, it is common practice that governmental institutions as well as the majority of companies in the private sector remain closed on Saturdays too so that many employees enjoy a two-day weekend.

c. Public Holidays

The UAE Labour Law stipulates a number of public holidays, such as the Christian New Year (1st January), the UAE National Day (2nd December), the Islamic New Year and the public holidays at the end of Ramadan.

d. Leave

An employee is entitled to a minimum of 30 calendar days annual leave provided his service exceeds one year. If the employee is employed more than six months but less than a year, the leave period amounts to two calendar days per month.

The employment relationship ends in any of the following cases:

  • The parties agree to terminate the contract.
  • The validity of the contract expires.
  • One of the parties serves notice of termination.
  • The employee dies or is wholly disabled.

An employee who completes one year or more of continuous service is generally entitled to gratuity at the end of his service. Furthermore, he may claim payment in lieu of holiday, reimbursement of repatriation costs and/or damages.

Further Information

Published on 18.04.2021

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Published on 11.01.2021

Published on 25.11.2020

Published on 03.11.2020

AHK Legal Newsletter September 2020

Published on 02.07.2020

Published on 02.04.2020

AHK Legal Newsletter March 2020

AHK Legal Newsletter June 2019

AHK Legal Newsletter December 2018

AHK Legal Newsletter September 2018

AHK Legal Newsletter October 2017

AHK Newsletter Law and Taxes, May 2015, p. 8 f.

AHK Newsletter Law and Taxes, August 2014, p. 10 f.

AHK Newsletter Law and Taxes, August 2013, p. 5 f.