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Dubai: Moving to a new job can often be a phase of your career filled with uncertainty – what if the work culture does not match your expectations? Can you be asked to leave if you fail to deliver? While the first few months of your job would fall under the ‘probation period’, which is when the employer will assess the quality of your work, you still have rights and responsibilities, which are stipulated in the UAE’s Labour Law.

What is the probation period?
According to the UAE’s Labour Law – Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 – it is a period required by the employer, which enables them to monitor the performance of the worker and enables the worker to familiarise themselves with the job functions and work environment, and based on which the employment contract is either continued or terminated pursuant to the provisions of the Labour Law.

Here are seven rights and responsibilities that you should keep in mind when you are serving your probation:

1. The probation period cannot exceed six months

Your probation period can be for a few months, up to a maximum of six months. This cannot be extended beyond the six month duration.

If you complete the probation period and continue to work in the company, the probation period will be calculated as a part of your total period of service, which is relevant to how your gratuity and annual leave eligibility is calculated.

2. You are entitled to sick leave

Employees under probation are entitled to sick leave, but can only be availed as an unpaid leave. This means that while you can take leave if you fall ill, as per Article 31 of the UAE Labour Law, you will not be paid the salary for the time that you take off.

3. You might be able to take annual leave

You can use up some of your annual leave allowance while you are under probation, but the request for leave has to be approved by the employer, who is entitled to not grant the leave. This is as per Article 29 (3) of the Labour Law.

4. Fired during probation? You should get sufficient notice from your employer

If your company decides to terminate the contract during the probation period, they have to give a written 14 days’ notice to you, as per Article 9(1) of the UAE Labour Law. The clause states: “The employer may appoint the worker under a probationary period not exceeding six months from the date of commencement of work. The employer may terminate the service of the worker during this period after notifying the latter of the same in writing at least 14 days before the date specified for the termination of service.”

5. Want to resign? This is the notice period you should give

Depending on your reason for leaving the job, the notice period requirements vary. If you are resigning from the job, to join another company in the UAE, you need to give a one month notice in writing.

Also, as per the UAE labour law, your new employer should compensate the previous employer for the costs of your recruitment or contracting, unless otherwise agreed upon.

If on the other hand, you plan to resign because you want to leave the UAE, you should give your employer a 14-day notice. In this case, if you decide to come back to the UAE and join a new company within three months of leaving, the new employer is required to pay the compensation of recruitment costs outlined in the law, unless there is an existing agreement between the original employer and employee.

6. Don’t serve the required notice? You face a one-year labour ban

According to Article 9 (6) of the Labour Law, a worker who leave the UAE without complying with the provisions of the law, will not be granted a work permit to work in the UAE for a period of one year from the date of departure.

However, there are exceptions to this rule. In Article 28 (2) of the Ministerial Decree No. 1 of 2022, there are certain groups that do not face a labour ban:

1. The worker who holds a family-sponsored residency visa.

2. The worker who applies for a new work permit at the same establishment.

3. The worker who has professional qualifications, skills or knowledge levels that the State needs.

4. Golden Visa holders.

5. Any professional categories according to the needs of the labour market in the State that are determined by resolution of the Minister [of Human Resources and Emiratisation] in accordance with the workers’ classification approved by the Cabinet.


7. Terminating contract during probation – you may have to pay your employer

As reported by Gulf News earlier , if an employee resigns during the probation period, Article 9 of the Labour Law states that “the new employer shall compensate the original employer with the costs of recruiting or contracting with the Employee, unless agreed otherwise”. So, if you have signed a contract which states that the employee shall bear the expenses of recruiting or contracting if he or she resigns during the probation period, the employer can ask for it.