Understanding your employee rights is a very important part of living and working in the UAE. Below is the labour law, as published by the UAE Ministry of Labour with regards to worker’s hours.
Disclaimer: The following text comes from the UAE Ministry of Labour’s UAE Labour Law.
What is the maximum amount of working hours?
The maximum number of ordinary working hours for adult workers shall be eight hours per day, or forty eight hours per week.
The number of hours may be increased to nine hours per day for people employed in trade, hotels, cafeterias, security and other jobs whose addition may be made by virtue of a decision from the Minister of Labour.
Furthermore, the daily number of working hours may be reduced for strenuous or harmful works and such by virtue of a decision from the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs .
The ordinary working hours shall be reduced by two hours during Ramadan.
Is the commute to work included in working hours?
The commutation periods spent by the worker from the place of residence to the work site thereof shall not be calculated within the working hours.
What are the rules regarding break time?
The daily working hours shall be regulated so that the worker does not work more than five consecutive hours without intervals for rest, meals and prayer, whose total period shall not be less than one hour. Such intervals shall not be included in the working hours.
As for the factories and workshops where work is carried out in successive shifts around the clock, or for works that require uninterrupted work for technical and economic reasons, the Minister shall regulate the method whereby workers are granted the periods of rest, meals and prayer and such by virtue of a decision issued thereby.
What if your employer makes you work longer hours?
Should the work circumstances require the carrying out by the worker of a work for more than the ordinary working hours, the additional period shall be deemed an overtime, for which the worker shall be paid a wage equivalent to the ordinary hourly wage with an addition of at least 25 per cent of the said wage.
What if my shift is overnight?
Should the work circumstances require the carrying out by the worker of an overtime work between 9pm and 4am, the worker shall be entitled, in counterpart for the overtime, to a wage equivalent to the ordinary hourly wage with an addition of at least 50 per cent of the said wage.
Effective overtime working hours may not exceed two hours per day, unless such work is necessary for the prevention of the occurrence of a colossal loss, a serious accident or the removal or mitigation of the consequences thereof.
What if I work on Friday?
Friday shall be the ordinary weekly rest for all workers with the exception of the daily worker. Should the circumstances require that the worker work on this day, the worker shall be entitled to a substitute rest day, or to the basic wage for the ordinary working hours in addition to 50 per cent at least of the said wage.
The worker may not be requested to work for more than two consecutive Fridays with the exception of the day workers.
The provisions of the present chapter shall not apply to the following categories:
1 - Persons occupying high-ranked managerial or supervisory positions, should such positions confer upon the occupants thereof powers of the employer over the workers. A decision of the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs specifying such category shall be issued.
2 - Workers constituting the crew of naval vessels, and sea workers who shall enjoy special service conditions due to the nature of their work, with the exception of the port workers engaged in the loading and unloading and related operations.
The employer shall place on the main entrances used by the workers and in prominent locations in the working site a schedule of the weekly day off, working hours and rest periods for all workers categories, and shall dispatch a copy thereof to the competent Labour Department.
Should the work site not abide by the weekly day off, the employer must mention in the locations referred to in the previous paragraph a timetable showing the weekly rest day for each category of the workers.
Source UAE Ministry of Labour
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Gulf News is not responsible for any amendments made to the UAE Labour Law. All labour disputes must go through the Ministry of Labour.