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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 the employment of youth, women, and the provisions that must be made in both cases.

Disclaimer: The following text comes from the UAE Ministry of Labour’s UAE Labour Law.

Employment of youth and women

Article 20

Youth of both genders under the age of fifteen may not be employed.

Article 21

Prior to the employment of any youth, the employer must obtain therefrom the following documents which he keeps in the youth's personal file:

1 - A birth certificate or an official extract thereof, or an age estimation certificate issued by a pertinent doctor and authenticated by the competent health authorities.

2 - A certificate of health fitness for the required job issued by a competent doctor and authenticated.

3 - A written consent of the guardian or trustee of the youth.

Article 22

The employer must keep in the work location a special register for the youth comprising the name and age of the youth, the full name of the guardian or trustee thereof, the place of residence, date of employment and the work for which the youth is employed.

Article 23

Youth may not be engaged at night in industrial enterprises. The word " night " shall mean a period of twelve consecutive hours at least including the period from 8pm until 6am.

Article 24

The employment of youth in hazardous, strenuous or harmful to the health conditions shall be prohibited. Such conditions are determined by virtue of a decision issued by the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs upon the consultation of the competent authorities.

Article 25

The maximum effective working hours for the youth shall be six hours per day, with one or more intervals for rest, meals or prayer whose total is one hour at least. Such interval(s) shall be set in such a manner that the youth does not work more than four consecutive hours.

The youth may not be kept in the work location for more than seven consecutive hours.

Article 26

Youths may not be charged with overtime, regardless of the circumstances, be kept in the work location after their set working hours or be made to work on rest days.


Article 27

Women may not be employed at night. The word "night" shall mean a period of eleven consecutive hours at least including the period from 10pm until 7am.

Article 28

The following cases shall be exempt from the prohibition of women labour at night :

a - When work in the firm ceases by a force majeure.

b - Work in administrative and technical position.

c - Work in health services and other jobs determined by virtue of a decision issued by the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs should the working woman not normally practice a manual work.

Article 29

The women labour in hazardous, strenuous or physically or morally harmful jobs, as well as other jobs determined by virtue of a decision issued by the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs upon the consultation of the competent authorities shall be prohibited.

Article 30

The female worker shall be entitled to maternity leave with full payment of the wage thereof, and such for a period of forty five days that include the pre-and postnatal periods, provided that the continuous service period for the employer is of one year at least. The maternity leave shall be granted with half a wage should the worker not have completed the aforementioned period.

Upon the end of the maternity leave, the worker may remain absent from work without pay for a period of one hundred consecutive or non-consecutive days at most should such absence be caused by an illness hindering her from returning to work. Such illness shall be established by means of a medical certificate issued by the medical entity appointed by the competent health authority or ratified by such authority stating that such illness arises from the pregnancy or the delivery.

The leave referred to in the preceding paragraphs shall not be deducted from other leaves.

Article 31

During the period of eighteen months subsequent to the date of delivery, the nursing worker shall be entitled, in addition to the determined rest period, to a two additional periods per day for such purpose, the duration of each thereof not exceeding half an hour.

Such additional periods shall be deemed as part of the working hours and do not entail any deduction of the wage.

Article 32

The female worker shall be granted a wage equal to that of the man should she be performing the same work.

Article 33

The Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, by a decision thereof, may exempt the philanthropic and educational institutions of all or some of the provisions set forth in the preceding two Chapters of the present Title, should such institutions aim at the rehabilitation or professional training of youth or women, provided that the by-laws of such institutions stipulate the nature of the works carried out by youths and women, the working hours, the conditions of work therein in a manner not contradicting with the actual capacity of youths and women.

Article 34

The following shall be partially responsible for the execution of the provision of the preceding second and third Chapters of the present Title:

a - Employers or representatives thereof.

b - Guardians or trustees of the youth, spouse or guardian of the woman should she be minor, and such should they agree on the employment of the youth or woman contradictory to the provisions hereof.

Source UAE Ministry of Labour

Call centre For any Labour issues, call 800 665

Locate your nearest Ministry of Labour office

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