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Dubai: As a new labour law comes into effect from February 2, 2022, governing the private sector in the UAE, one major change that will affect a big number of workers is the removal of the unlimited contract.

Earlier, contracts were either signed for a limited or unlimited period, with the rights and responsibilities changing slightly between the two contract types. However, legal experts Gulf News spoke with explained how the new Labour Law - Federal Decree-Law No 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Labour Relations – will require new contracts to be drafted by February 1, 2023.

Speaking to Gulf News, Ahmed Elnaggar, Managing Partner, Elnaggar & Partners said: “All private sector employers must replace the current employment contracts with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) with new employment contracts that are in line with the changes as stated in Law No. 33 of 2021, within a maximum period of one Gregorian year from the date of the law’s implementation so that the date February 01, 2023 becomes the deadline for making these changes.”

Article 8 of the new law looks at the requirements that an employment contract needs to fulfil and how it would only be applicable for a maximum duration of three years. The details of the contract will vary depending on the model of work that the worker has been contracted for – full-time, part-time, temporary or flexible.

Here is what Article 8 of the new UAE Labour Law states about employment contracts:


1. The employer shall enter into an employment contract with the worker, according to the agreed model of work. The employment contract shall be made in duplicate, one copy to be given to the employer and the other to the worker, in accordance with the templates specified by the Executive Regulations of this Decree-Law.

2. The worker, or his representative, may prove the employment contract, the wage and any other rights he is entitled to under the provisions of this Decree-Law and its Executive Regulations and implementing resolutions by any means of proof.

3. The employment contract shall be concluded for a definite period of time, which does not exceed three years. The employment contract may be extended or renewed once or more than once, for an equal or a shorter term.

4. In the case of extension or renewal of the contract, the initial term or the renewed term shall be an extension to the initial term and shall be added thereto when calculating the period of continuous service.

5. Where the parties continue to perform the contract after the expiration of its initial term or the completion of the agreed work without explicit agreement, the initial contract shall be deemed to have been extended on the same conditions by implication.

6. Subject to paragraph (3) above, the Executive Regulations of this Decree-Law shall determine the templates of employment contract according to the approved skill levels, and the provisions of change of contract from a model to another, and the registration thereof in the Ministry.