Federal Decree-Law No. 20 of 2023 highlights the new mechanism for resolving labour disputes in the UAE. Picture used for illustrative purposes. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: From January 1, 2024, workers in the UAE’s private sector will be able to resolve their labour disputes faster and more easily, as an amendment to the UAE’s Labour Law comes into effect.

According to an announcement by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) on Monday, December 18, the new legislation - Federal Decree-Law No. 20 of 2023, will replace Article 54 of the UAE’s Labour Law – Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021. Under the new law, the Ministry will issue the final executive decisions on labour disputes with claims of less than Dh50,000 for companies and workers in the private sector.

“The new process aims to save customers’ time and effort, streamline procedures and expedite the process for claimants to collect their legal entitlements,” MOHRE stated in the announcement.

How labour complaints resolution will change in 2024

Previously, if an employee or employer reached out to MOHRE with a complaint, the Ministry would first attempt an amicable resolution between the two parties. In case an amicable resolution was not reached, the case would be referred to a competent court. Now, with the amendment, MOHRE has the authority render a final judgement on any dispute:
- if the claim amount is under Dh50,000;
- or on disputes related to non-commitment to amicable settlement decisions previously resolved by MOHRE, regardless of the claimed amount.

ARTICLE 1, Clause 1 and 2
The following text shall replace Article (54) of Federal Decree Law No. (33) of 2021 Regarding the Regulation of Employment Relationships:
1. In accordance with this Decree Law, employers, employees, and their beneficiaries are entitled to dispute any rights arising from the employment relationship. Following receipt of the request, MOHRE will review it and take the necessary steps to facilitate an amicable resolution.

2. MOHRE will render a final judgment on any dispute submitted to it in accordance with the provisions set forth in paragraphs (1) and (2) of this document if the value of the claim is not more than Dh50,000 or if neither party complies with an amicable settlement decision relating to the subject matter, regardless of the value of the claim.

File an appeal within 15 days

As per Article 1 (3) of the new law, while MOHRE has the authority to issue a decision on the disputes as per Article 1 and 2, if either party is dissatisfied with the judgement, they can file a lawsuit through the Court of Appeals. This should be done within 15 working days of the decision.

If the application for labour disputes does not follow the procedures stated in Article 1 of Federal Decree-Law No. 20 of 2023, then the lawsuit will be rejected by the court.

Ruling within 15 days

The Court of Appeals will schedule a hearing within three days and the case will be resolved within 15 working days, as per Article 1 (3) of the new law.