Understanding Employment Laws In UAE: A Guide By Experts

Employment laws issues are governed by Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 Regulating Labour Relation. The Labour Law is a widely drafted piece of legislation. It contains provisions relating to every aspect of employment.

If you are looking for an opportunity to work in the UAE, you must be aware of the employment laws to know your rights when you are in an unknown country.

This article will talk about Federal Labour Law No. 8 of 1980 and try to uncover everything about it.

Basic Of Entering Into Employment Relationship

The UAE is one of the great places to work. Employers treat their employees respectfully and allow the employees to enjoy their work lives.

If you are hoping to get employment in the UAE, these are the basics that you need to know about.

1. Employment Relationship

The labor law requires that the employee and employer must enter into a contract. If both the parties fail to do so, the validity of the terms and conditions of the employment relationship will fail to exist. If there are any discrepancies between the contracts, the UAE court will give the final verdict.

The labor law provides that the contact needs to specify the following.

  • Commencement date.
  • Date of conclusion.
  • Type of work to be conducted.
  • Place of the work.
  • Duration of the contract.
  • Remuneration.

Once the contract is executed, it cannot be amended unilaterally. If any changes need to be made, they can only be done after both parties agree.

Forging contracts are complex and must be done informally by a legal expert. Therefore, if you are signing an employment relationship, ensure that you are doing it before a law firm in Dubai.

2. Probationary Period

Under article 37, employers decide the probationary period. However, the period shall not exceed six months. During the probationary period, the employment relationship can be broken without any prior notice or end-of-service gratuity. In addition, the labor law does not provide different probationary periods based on the report of work.

3. Establishment Of Presence

In general, when a company is looking to hire foreign recruits for its business, it must be established and licensed in the UAE. This is because the general principle of the law states that the foreign entity cannot operate in UAE, and if they do, they need to have a license.

Hiring activity is considered a business activity, and hence, the law wants the business to have a license before they can do so. However, the laws even give you a solution if the business does not have a license. The business can hire an individual contractor with a license.

What Protection Do Employees Have?

The labor law of the UAE grants certain protection to the employees. These protections are mandatory and cannot be contracted out.

  • Medical Leave.
  • Vacation Holidays.
  • Working Hours.
  • Safety Standards.
  • Termination of the employees and end of service gratuity payments.

In addition to that, employees working within the free zone are subjected to both labor laws and employment regulations in the free zone.

Terminating An Employee’s Contract

A contract of unlimited duration can only be terminated without prior notice when there is a legitimate work-related cause. If the reason is not related to work, any justifiable reason will be denied as per Federal Labour Law, Article 120.

The employee may claim the arbitrary dismissal and seek compensation of up to three months’ pay by a competent court. Although the labor laws do not provide any procedure to find redundancies in work, the court can certainly do so.

End-Of-Service Gratuity

If you have just started working in the UAE, you must know about the End-Of-Service Gratuity. This is the payment that an employee gets after being terminated. However, this is only available for the employees who have given at least one year of their services to the organization.

The amount of the end of services gratuity depends on the basic salary of the employee.

  • 21 days’ pay for each year of services for the first five years.
  • 30 days’ pay for each year of services in excess of five years.


UAE labor laws contain several provisions to help the employees. These laws try to do everything to ensure employees are not deprived of their rights.

Wrapping everything in this article was impossible. So, we have added only the necessary things. However, if you are interested in knowing more about the UAE Labour law, reach out to us; we will be obliged to help you out.