We answer your questions in this complete guide to the new UAE labour laws for both government and private sector employees
14 December 2021| Last updated on 13 January 2022
The new UAE labour laws are effective from February 2nd, 2022.
On Monday, the UAE Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) announced new regulations that will unify the government and private sector's working systems.
Effective from February 2, 2022, the new labour laws include changes to leaves, end-of-service benefits, work contracts, and more.
We've compiled an expat guide on what are the new labour laws for employees under the private sector and federal entities.
What are the UAE's new labour laws on leaves?
From February 2, 2022, employees who work for either government entities or private companies will be entitled to the same leaves.
The changes apply to annual, maternity, paternity, mourning, and even study leaves, for all employees across the country.
Changes to Annual leave
Full-time employees under the public and private sector will be entitled to a 30-day annual leave every year.
After an employee completes at least six months of service, he or she is entitled to 2 paid days off every month before the year ends.
As per the new UAE labour laws, both private and public sector workers can be required to use all annual leave in the applicable annual leave year.
Changes to Maternity leave
Starting from February 2022, employees will be entitled to 60 calendar days maternity leave. During maternity leave, workers will be entitled to full pay for the first 45 days, and then half pay for the remaining 15 days.
According to the new UAE labour law, even if the mother has not achieved one year of service with her employer and decides to take maternity leave, her maternity pay must not be decreased.
In the event of a miscarry six months after pregnancy, a still birth, or if the infant dies after birth, female employees will also be entitled to maternity leave as well.
If the baby is disabled or sick, she can take an additional 30 days of paid maternity leave, and this can be extended for an additional 30 days unpaid leave.
Under the current UAE labour law, women are entitled to 45 calendar days only, and nursing breaks were reduced from 18 to 6 months.
Paternity leave in the UAE
Fathers are entitled to 5 days of paternity leave, which can be taken up to six months after the child's birth.
Great news for employees who are also enrolled in approved UAE education institutions! The new labour law will grant 10 days of study leave for examinations, for employees who have completed at least 2 years of service to their employer.
Workers are entitled to at least 90 days of sick leave a year. The first 15 days are paid, and the following 30 days can be taken at half pay. The remaining 45 days will be unpaid.
The new UAE labour law will also introduce changes to leave days taken in the event of a family member passing.
Employees will be entitled to 5 days leave in the event of the death of his or her spouse.
3 days leave will be granted to an employee in the event of the death of his or her father, mother, sibling, or grandparent.
What are the new UAE labour laws on end-of-service benefits?
Workers under federal entities and private companies will be entitled to the same end-of-service benefits.
Full-time private and public sector workers who have completed less than five years of service will be granted gratuity of 21 days' basic salary for each year for the first five years of employment.
Employees who have more than five years of service are entitled to gratuity of 30 days' basic salary for each year of work after the first five years, as well as receive 21 days' basic salary for each year of the first five years.
The new labour law will determine the end-of-service benefits for employees under temporary, flexible or part-time job models.
What are the new changes to the UAE's work contracts?
UAE citizens and expat residents can opt for full-time, flexible, temporary, or part-time work when applying to private companies and government entities.
Both private and public sector workers can combine more than one job model, so long as the total working hours do not exceed the maximum 48 hours per week as mentioned in the law.
The new work models offers flexibility to both workers and employees to select the type of contract that best suits the job role's requirements and objectives.
Only limited contracts will be used in the UAE
Starting February next year, the UAE's labour market will only use limited contracts, effectively dropping unlimited contracts.
Employees will also be protected under new anti-discrimination regulations, preventing hiring managers from recruiting job candidates based on colour, race, nationality, gender, religion, disability, or social background.
Dr. Abdulrahman Al Awar, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, said that the labour law changes will be made to fill the gap between the private and public sectors.