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COUNTRY

United Arab Emirates

This content is for informational purposes only. We do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this content. It is not legal advice and shall not be relied on as such.

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Currency

د.إ (AED)

Work Hours

48/week

The United Arab Emirates, or UAE, is located in western Asia, where Arabic is the official language. The Burj Khalifa, located in the UAE’s most populated city of Dubai, is the tallest building in the world. The UAE is host to massive natural gas and oil reserves and has made impressive strides at directing profits from these toward advancing their healthcare, education and infrastructure. This has produced a skilled workforce that has reduced the country’s reliance on oil and gas, with business and tourism gaining importance. Further efforts to diversify the economy has made the United Arab Emirates a strategic location for expansion into Asia, Europe and Africa.

Employment contracts in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) should be written and in the Arabic language. The contract should include:

  • name and address of the employer and employee,

  • nationality of the employee,

  • start date,

  • duration of the contract and provisions for its renewal,

  • probation period, which should not exceed 180 days and cannot be renewed,

  • salary, payment method, payment intervals and bonuses,

  • benefits and leaves,

  • job description,

  • working days and hours,

  • social insurance contributions and deductions,

  • non-compete and non-disclosure clauses,

  • adherence to employers’ guidelines and policies,

  • termination and end-of-service benefits,

  • compensation on early termination, and

  • coverage of recruitment costs and residency permits for non-UAE nationals.

Employers must inform the labor office of all new hires and are required to maintain sufficient records.

The standard workweek in the UAE is 48 hours (Sunday through Thursday), and eight hours per day. During the fasting month of Ramadan, it is six hours per day. The rest period is at least one hour per day (employees should not work five consecutive hours without a break), and 24 hours per week on Fridays.

Overtime is limited to 144 hours every three-week period. Employees are entitled to extra pay for working overtime.

In the UAE, employees are entitled to annual sick leave of 90 days upon completing 3 months of employment after the probationary period. The employee must notify the employer about their sickness within 3 working days.

In the United Arab Emirates, the law provides a paid maternity leave of 90 days to female employees starting from the delivery date. The leave is paid with full salary.

If the female employee gives birth to a sick or disabled child, the employee is entitled to an additional 30 days of maternity leave with full pay starting at the end of maternity with the option for an additional 30 days without pay.

Employers are not required to pay employees bonuses in the UAE but can choose to include bonuses within employees’ compensation packages. It is common for employers in the UAE to pay employees 13th and 14th month bonuses at the end of one year of service.

Employees are entitled to annual leave in the UAE after six months of service. They receive two days for every month of service after six months but less than 12 months, and 30 days every year after 12 months of service. Untaken annual leave days may be carried over to the following year only once. Employees also receive a one-time pilgrimage leave without pay to conduct a pilgrimage to Mecca. Such leave is not included in the other leaves and may not exceed 30 days.

In the UAE, the public holidays are:

  • Gregorian New Year

  • Eid Al-Fitr

  • Arafah Day

  • Eid Al-Adha

  • Hijri New Year

  • Birthday of Prophet Muhammad

  • Commemoration Day

  • National Day

Employers may be required to provide health insurance to employees in the UAE, depending on the location.

Employment contracts can be terminated in the UAE by either party. The termination must be in writing and notice is generally required. The notice period is at least 30 days and should be specified in the contract. No notice is required before terminating an employment contract in a limited number of circumstances, such as for breach of the contract terms or misconduct. Employees are entitled to severance after one year of service. Severance is generally is between 21 and 30 days per year of service up to a maximum amount.

  • Local Laws & Regulations

    We understand that local laws and regulations change and sourcing an accurate reference guide is not easy. Our data is researched and verified by our team of local international Employment Attorneys, HR and Benefit Professionals and Tax Accountants through our Atlas team and consultants, to ensure information up-to-date and accurate.

  • Partner with atlas logo

    Partnering with Atlas when expanding into United Arab Emirates can dramatically reduce the standard brick and mortar processes of doing business in foreign markets and allow you to focus on what you do best, growing your company! To discover more about how Atlas can simplify your ability to expand globally, please feel free to contact us.

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