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Dubai: Landing your first paid job is exciting but navigating an unfamiliar terrirory and a new work environment can sometimes be stressful and overwhelming, too.

To make the transition into your first paid job a little easier, here are a few things you should keep in mind about employment procedures and laws in the UAE.

1. Get your university degree attested

Once you have accepted your job offer, the Human Resources (HR) department at your office will ask you to submit a few essential documents to apply for the work permit. One of these documents will be an attested degree or diploma.

For degrees issued in the UAE

If you graduated from a university in the UAE, the registrar or administration office in your college might have already attested the degree for you. You can confirm that by checking for a holographic sticker at the back of your degree, which will have the attestation from UAE's Ministry of Education (MOE).

If that’s not the case, you can get your degree attested through the MOE website, by following these steps. However, MOE will only attest documents and academic qualifications issued by education institutions that are accredited and licensed by the Ministry, for institutions inside the country. Alternatively, you may also be able to get the attestation through the education authority and regulator in the Emirate you were studying in. For example, if the college was located in Dubai, you can contact the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA). Usually, you must first approach your university and ask that your original degree be forwarded to KHDA for attestation.

For degrees issued abroad

Those who have a degree issued from a university abroad must get the document attested in two steps:

1. Get the document attested by the UAE Embassy, Consulate, or Foreign Office in the country where the document is issued.
2. You would then need to get the document attested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC) in the UAE.

Both of these steps can be completed through MOFAIC or an attestation service provider.

Click here for a step-by-step guide on how to attest your documents.

2. Your employer must pay for the recruitment cost

It is your employer’s responsibility to pay for the recruitment cost, which includes the cost of applying for a residency visa and work permit. 

Also, one of the most important rights for foreign workers in the UAE is the entitlement to the possession of your passport. This means that an employer is not legally allowed to withhold your passport while you work in the UAE.


3. Read your job offer and contract carefully, to make sure they match

Next, it is important to take the time out and carefully review your contract, as it will give you a clearer understanding of your contractual obligations, entitlements, benefits and rights.

While reading the contract, you need to make sure it states critical information, such as job description, salary breakdown, days off and working hours.

Also, if the work contract does not match the initial job offer letter you received, this is a violation of the UAE’s Labour Law - Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021. If you have concerns or are confused about the details contained in your job offer or job contract, you can contact your HR department or raise a query with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) through their helpline – 600590000. MOHRE manages the working relationships between employers and employees in the UAE's private sector.

4. Always keep a copy of your contract

As per the UAE’s Labour Law, an employee is entitled to keep a copy of their signed labour contract. If you did not receive a copy of your contract from the HR department after signing it, you can always view it online through the MOHRE website – To find out how, click here.

Having a copy of your contract will allow you to go back to review your contract if there is any uncertainty or misunderstanding with your employer.

Also, in the event you are terminated or are planning to resign, your employment contract will state the notice period and the rules for terminating an employment contract. This will prevent any legal disputes with your employer and also help you leave the job without any legal issues.

Your work contract must include the following details
Article 10 of the Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022 outlines how a work contract is structured and the necessary information it should include:
1. The name and address of the employer.
2. The name, nationality and date of birth of the worker.
3. Proof of the worker's identity, qualification, the job or occupation.
4. The date of work commencement and the name of workplace.
5. The working hours.
6. The rest days.
7. The probationary period, if any.
8. The term of the contract.
9. The wage agreed upon, including benefits and allowances.
10. The annual leave entitlements and the notice period.
11. The procedures for terminating the employment contract and any other data determined by the Ministry to regulate the relationship between both parties.

5. Know when your probation period ends

Probation is a trial period where the employer will evaluate your performance, and if it goes through successfully, you will be hired on a full-time basis. This would be a maximum of six months, according to the UAE Labour Law. The law also states that the probation period cannot exceed six months, neither can it be extended for another term.

Employees on probation do not have the same entitlements and benefits compared to full-time workers. For example, employees on probation are not entitled to end-of-service benefits if they leave the job, and have shorter notice period requirements, too.

If you resign while on probation, you might have to bear the cost of recruitment, in certain situations.

6. Understand your salary breakdown

Knowing your salary breakdown will help you understand the difference between your basic salary and total salary. Your total salary includes your basic salary as well as other allowances, such as housing, insurance and transportation. But why do you need to know your basic salary? This is because your end-of-service benefits, annual leave allowance and overtime pay are calculated on the basis of your basic salary, and not the total salary

Your salary breakdown will be clearly mentioned in your work contract.

7. You can take a few days off during probation

If you are in an emergency and need to take a few days off from work during probation, it is important to note that you are entitled to take unpaid leave. However, the request for leave has to be approved by your employer, according to Article 29 of the Labour Law.

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