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Ask the Law: 5 UAE labour laws and rights we learnt

Resignation rules, working hours and demotion; here’s what we learnt from Ask The Law

Workers in UAE
Image Credit: Gulf News Archive
Both employers and employees in the UAE have a responsibility to adhere to the Labour Law.

It is important that employees in the UAE know their rights. Here are five things we learnt from Ask the Law this month.

Note: Original questions compiled by Bassam Za’Za, Gulf News Legal and Court Correspondent, and answered by advocate Mohammad Ebrahim Al Shaiba of Al Shaiba Advocates and Legal Consultants.

1. Resignation cannot be forced

No employee can be forced to resign. If the employee submits his resignation, his end-of-service benefits will be less, and the employer will have a strong case in case of any dispute. For other rules related to termination of employment contracts, read the UAE labour law Section 14 and Section 3.


2. Demotion is illegal

Downgrading salary or demoting an employee is illegal as per UAE labour law and will be considered an arbitrary dismissal, which allows the employee to claim compensation for such unreasonable dismissal along with all other dues owed by the employer. Read Section 3 of the UAE Labour Law in relation to employment contracts for more information. 


3. Working hours per day

Maximum working hours is 8 hours per day and not more than 48 hours per week legally, unless otherwise authorised in type of business by the Ministry of Labour. Any number of hours above this allows the employee to claim overtime, and if the employer refuses to pay he or she can register a complaint. Read more about working hours as specified in Section 7 of the UAE Labour Law here.


4. No labour contract, no benefits

Working without a labour contract or a labour card is illegal in the UAE and any claims by such an employee towards the employer is null and void. He or she cannot claim end-of-service dues, gratuity or any other normal dues, as the employment contract itself is non-existent and illegal. 


5. Employer cannot reject resignation

The employer cannot reject an employee's resignation, whether it is submitted by hand or by official email. Working post the date of submission of resignation (regardless of employer's reply) will be counted towards notice period work-requirement. Resignation does not require employer consent or approval as long as notice period requirements and other applicable contractual obligations are met with. 


For any Labour issues, call 800 665 (Ministry of Labour call centre)

Locate your nearest Ministry of Labour office with our map

Gulf News is not responsible for any amendments made to the UAE Labour Law. All labour disputes must go through the Ministry of Labour. 

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