Working hours in the UAE as per Labour Law

By | February 7, 2024

The number of hours you work has a big influence on your daily output, happiness, and well-being. Legislators in the UAE are prioritizing working hours as the nation aims to be among the world’s happiest. Previously, working hours in the UAE were very long. However, recent changes have led to a reduction in the working hours.

It is crucial to be aware of the government’s regulations on working hours if you now work or intend to work in the UAE. These are some crucial things to remember.

Working hours in the UAE as per Labour Law

Regular Working Hours in UAE

The standard working hours for the private sector are eight hours per day or forty-eight hours per week, according to Article 17 of Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Labour Relations in the Private Sector, also known as the “UAE Labour Law.”

According to the “Executive Regulations of the Labour Law,” some economic sectors or worker categories may see an increase or decrease in the number of hours worked each day.

The “Executive Regulations of the Labour Law” exclude a worker’s commute time from their working hours, except for individuals who fall under specific categories.

If an employee works for more than one company, the first employer cannot make them work longer hours than the employment contract specified. Subsequent employers cannot ask for longer hours unless the employee provides written consent.

If an employee wants to work remotely, from within the UAE or from another country, the employer needs to set up certain working hours.

After working five straight hours, the employee can take to one or more breaks. These pauses couldn’t be any shorter than an hour. While calculating working hours, organizations do not factor in breaks.

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    UAE laws regarding overtime 

    The UAE Labour Law has provisions to safeguard the rights of private sector workers.

    The Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021, also known as the “New Employment Law,” specifies in Article 17(1) that the maximum working hours are eight hours per day or forty-eight hours per week.

    Article 17(2) grants the Cabinet the authority to modify working hours, breaks, and prohibited working times for specific worker categories or economic sectors. Such changes require the consent of the Minister and relevant entities.

    Weekly Rest days and Annual Leave

    In the UAE, the private sector considers Friday as a statutory day off, while they can schedule work on any of the other days. Yet, some businesses operate on a five-day workweek, while others could choose to use a six-day schedule.

    If an employer requires an employee to work on Friday, the employee should receive 150 percent of their regular pay or a substitute rest day.

    • Your tenure at the organization may affect the duration of your annual leave. The guidelines specify that:
    • Workers who have been employed by the company for more than a year are eligible for a 30-day yearly leave.
    • Workers who have been employed by the company for six months to a year are entitled to two days for each month that they have worked there.
    • The yearly leave policy is set by the organization.
    • Pay is given to employees while they are on annual leave. 

    Employers should pay employees in full on public holidays. If employees need to work on a public holiday, the employers should compensate them with 150% of their daily income or provide a substitute day off.

    Extra days off 

    It’s also important to remember that an employee is not eligible for an extra day off if a public holiday falls during the yearly vacation period. Additionally, if you fall ill during your annual leave, the company will not grant you any “extra” days off. You need not to work by your employer during your annual leave unless:

    • The organization then can carry forward your annual break to the next year.
    • The basic wage plus a leave allowance for the number of days worked determines your pay.

    Additionally, the company may require you to work during your annual leave once every two years.

    The UAE organizations do not mandate compassionate leave. However, a lot of firms in the private sector will decide how to handle a request at their discretion. 

    Penalties and Enforcement

    What about sanctions and enforcement? To guarantee compliance, businesses should regularly update their payroll software with local laws. 

    The United Arab Emirates Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MOHRE) is the appropriate body to address disputes about employment and working hours in the country. 

    The UAE Labour Law shields employees from workplace discrimination based on certain characteristics, including religion. There are no specific sanctions associated with prejudice. Nevertheless, if they break the legislation, employers risk paying fines of AED 5,000 to AED 1,000,000.

    Recent changes and improvements

    Recently, there have been significant changes to UAE labor law. The working week’s duration and working hours have both changed. In 2022, authorities reduced the public working week to four and a half days, marking the most recent alteration

    Employers must inform workers of their rights and responsibilities. A new initiative to assist ensure that foreign workers aren’t mistreated is called “Know Your Rights.” 

    The Bottom Line

    UAE working hours can initially appear complicated. However, their purpose is to advance the interests of the employer and the workers. By implementing a reliable payroll system, you can always ensure that employees are following the rules. Due to the UAE’s growing awareness of the value of a positive work-life balance, the country’s labor laws have recently changed. It’s exciting to see what will happen in the future, and there’s still an opportunity for development! Contact Penieltech’s consultants for your Payroll management.

    Software for tracking and controlling employee work hours and attendance is time and attendance software. It tracks leave and absences, computes overtime and holidays, and automates the process of documenting when workers begin and conclude their workdays. 

    Time and attendance management includes all procedures related to employee time and attendance. This involves keeping track of and monitoring the hours worked by employees, including their start and end times as well as the length of their breaks, sick days, and vacation time. There are numerous methods for keeping track of employee hours. For instance, by employing Elate time and attendance software, punching timesheets, timecards, and employee scheduling.