The UAE government regularly makes changes in order to facilitate expatriates and locals alike. This time, it’s all connected to the recent UAE labour law. The prime purpose of the law is to provide a safe and secure working environment to the workers, otherwise known as employees. 


Over time, the UAE has introduced significant changes in labour law, but in this guide, we’ll talk about the most recent ones that came into effect in February 2022. These changes blew another life to annual leaves, public holidays, and gratitude. In short, the new rules highlight more flexibility for employees in both the public and private sectors.


Continue reading to know more about the new UAE labour law 2022:


All about UAE Labour Law 2022

UAE labour law strives to make the state a better place to live and work by attracting and retaining world-class talent. 


On the 15th of November 2021, the UAE cabinet approved a new labour law, which came to exist in February 2022. After this, they entirely replaced the earlier practice of 1980.


According to the new law, employers must review their policies in compliance with the new provisions. It seeks to prevail in a modernised framework for entrepreneurs and their work staff. Also, it notifies how they can shape a constructible and impressive working module for the employees.


Now that it’s being practised peacefully, we’re here to remind you of the critical perks you wouldn’t have enjoyed with the outdated model. 

  • Flexible Working Modules

One of the most overwhelmingly impressive changes in the new law is allowing different work models to the working class. Sometimes, maintaining a decent lifestyle in UAE with a single job doesn’t work out, and engaging in a part-time job is the only way out.

While it wasn’t allowed per the previous UAE labour law, the latest changes have put it off the rails. Here’s how.

  • The new system permits flexible working options like shared jobs, where two people complete a single position by splitting working hours. 
  • Employees can now work for more than an employer for specific working hours. 
  • They can also commit to a job for a temporary period. However, working hours can depend on the employer’s requirements. 
  • Maternity and Paternity Modules 

Official benefits of UAE labour law aren’t only restricted to flexibility and anti-discriminatory actions. But we’ve good news for all the mommy-to-be ladies working out there. 


Article 30 of the latest law says that no employer can terminate a pregnant employee. In fact, they’re entitled to paid leaves even if they’ve been on the job for less than a year. New mothers will also get time off with 45 days with a full salary and 15 days of the rest of the payment. 


As for paternity leave, new fathers can take a paid-off within the first six months after the child’s birth. 

  • Anti-discrimination Scheme 

Nowadays, workplace harassment cases have witnessed an unfortunate boost. While no other states have yet emerged with such preventive measures, UAE has surpassed them. Are you wondering how? By presenting anti-discriminatory practices in offices, there’s a noticeable decline in unethical values.

Discrimination isn’t acceptable, be it related to race, caste, gender or religion. After all, don’t you deserve to work in a secure environment? Also, it encourages employers to roll out training sessions about employee rights in the organisation.

  • Non-compete Clauses 

Employers can add non-compete clauses into the contract, preventing a former employee from competing against them. In addition, such employees can only participate in a competing project within the same category. This strategy implies that the new UAE labour law also thinks highly of employers. 


Regarding contracts, teenagers under 15 and above can start working after obtaining written approval from their parents. However, hiring them for risky tasks like weight-lifting is still immoral. Also, they should be working at most six hours a day, including recess. 


  • Payment Modes 

Since UAE is a second home for expats and foreigners, wouldn’t it be upsetting not to incorporate their nation’s pride? Here, we’re referring to currencies. Previously, the employers had to pay the salaried amount only in UAE dirhams (AED). However, the new law allows paying salaries in currencies other than dirhams. So, it’s a win-win situation for both the expats and locals. 

  • Probation Period 

Employment contracts must be confined under the recent UAE labour law. Workers on indefinite or permanent agreements will turn to fixed-term contracts for over three years. The probation period can be up to six months, or the consequences aren’t favourable. 

On the other hand, employees on a job hunt during the probation period must provide a month’s notice. If the employee exits the country only to return for a new job within three months, the new employer is liable to pay the former employer for all the damages. It includes the visa costs, labour expenses and accommodation.

  • Scheme for Working Students 

What can be your expectations from the organisation you’re serving along with your studies? We assume it is sympathetic enough to compromise with your study schedules. Whatever the case, the latest law is happy to assist you. The law suggests ten days’ leave entitlement for employees with over two years of service. But, the employee must study at a government-approved educational institution in the UAE.

  • Compassionate Leave Module 

While there were no compassionate entitlements for employees formerly, the clauses have changed. Presently, employees have a right to get paid leave in emergencies or after the death of a family member. Employees will receive a paid mourning leave of between three and seven days, depending on their relationship with the deceased.

The module works in the following way:

  • Death of a spouse allows five days of paid leave. 
  • Death of parents, siblings, or children grants three days of paid leave. 
  • Dismissal of Notice 

Despite how pleasant the workplace is, there’s always room for conflict, rage and favouritism. Situations like these always blame the employees and get them under the roof of dismissal. In the previous model, if employees were found guilty, employers had the right to terminate them. But it was only possible after the contract’s expiration date with no compensation for such staff. 

In contrast, the latest UAE labour law says it’s justified to terminate an employee for a “legitimate reason”. However, victimisation is still an exception, where an employee is put off from filing a complaint against the boss.

  • Overtime Policies 

Overtime policies always have interested employees working another two hours of the standard period. While enhanced overtime pay rates apply for all overtime hours, exemptions still exist but are limited. Yet, the working hours in the UAE remain 48 hours a week, even according to the latest UAE labour law.

You must remember that 48 hours is the maximum working period for an employee. Having said that, it’s time to start keeping track of time if you’re doing overtime in the UAE.  

As for the rates, they’ll stay unaffected and calculated based on your standard salary. The exception of the premium bonus only applies to night workers on a job between 10 pm to 4 am.  

  •  Annual Leaves and Public Holidays 

Lastly, we have a debate over the criteria for annual leaves. Ideally, the number of annual leave days is the same. It’s still two days’ leave per month for the first year, and from then on, it will be 30 days per year. The only change is that you can legally request a paid annual leave during your probation period. Moreover, employers have to pay you in full for every annual leave you request, which wasn’t an option earlier.

It’s not over yet because we’ve got another silver lining for you. This amendment states that public holidays in UAE are additional to the annual leave. However, if they happen to fall within your annual leave, they’ll be a part of it.

Ending Thoughts

As you can perceive, the latest UAE labour law is all about the feasibility and well-being of the employment system. We suggest all employers renew and align their business policies and work modules accordingly. To your knowledge, the UAE has officially imposed these rules on the public and private sectors. Also, they’ve warned that lack of awareness couldn’t be an excuse to break the law. 

Now that you have a thorough guide for the changes at your service, you’re good to go! These clauses clearly suggest that the UAE takes care of the workers’ class. So, if you are looking for a new place to kickstart your career, you know where to go. Look for an employment opportunity, secure a rental property in Dubai or any other emirate, and have a rewarding career.

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