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Probation period Image Credit: Stock image

Dubai: If you have just landed a new work assignment in the UAE, you may come across the term – probation period. What is a probation period and what are you rights and responsibilities during this period? Here is all you need to know.

What is a probation period?

A probation period is a provision within the UAE Labour Law which allows employers to find out if a new recruit is suitable or not. New employees have to undergo a probation period, which cannot exceed six months but can be shorter depending on the employer’s discretion, during which some of the benefits like end-of-service pay and sick leave allowance are limited. If the employee’s service is terminated during the probation period, the employer is not required to provide prior notice, as per Article 37 and Article 120 of the UAE Labour Law. The employee would also not be entitled to end-of-service benefits if the service is terminated during probation. However, if the employee continues his or her service, the probation period will be counted as part of the complete term of service.

How long can a probation period last?

The probation period cannot exceed six months according to Article 37 of Federal Law No. 8 of 1980.

Article 37 of Federal Law No. 8 of 1980

The employee may be appointed for a probationary period not to exceed six months, and the employer may terminate the services of the employee during this period without giving a notice or end of service remuneration. Appointment of the employee on probation basis in the service of one particular employer may not be made more than once. However if the employee passed the probationary period satisfactorily, and remained in service, such period of service shall be computed in the period of his service.

The employer has no right to increase the probation period to more than six months.

Can I be terminated during the probation period?

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Image Credit: Stock image

As per the provisions of the UAE Labour Law, an employer can terminate a work contract while the employee is on probation. The employer is not legally required to give prior notice before terminating the contract.

Termination of an employee’s employment during the probationary period falls under Article 120 of the UAE Labour Law. According to this law, if the performance of an employee is not on par with the performance metrics, the company has the right to terminate the employee. An employer can also terminate a probationary employee with a limited-term contract well in advance to its expiry date.

Can I resign during my probation period?

If you plan to resign early, you would be required to serve a notice period and would also need to pay some compensation as per Article 116 of Labour Law, provided that the amount of compensation does not exceed the wage of half a month for the period of three months (approximately 45 days), or for the remaining period of the contract, whichever is shorter. However, it is advisable to review your labour contract before deciding on early resignation to be fully aware of the liabilities you would incur.

Article 116 (As amended by Federal Law no. 12 dated 29/10/1986):

Should the contract be rescinded by the worker for causes not set forth in Article 121, the worker shall be bound to compensate the employer for the loss incurred thereto by reason of the rescission of the contract, provided that the amount of compensation does not exceed the wage of half a month for the period of three months, or for the remaining period of the contract, whichever is shorter, unless otherwise stipulated in the contract .

Article 121 of the UAE Labour Law exempts an employee from serving a notice period before resigning in certain cases.

Article 121

The worker may leave work without notice in the following cases:

a - Should the employer breach his obligations towards the worker, as set forth in the contract or the law.

b - Should the employer or the legal representative thereof assault the worker.

Would I need to pay visa costs?

You, as an employee, are never required to reimburse your employer for visa costs at any time. Visa costs and sponsorship costs are the sole responsibility of the employer as clearly stated in Article 6 of Ministerial Order 52 of 1989 - all expenses incurred in taking on an employee must be borne by the employer. Regardless of how or why your contract is terminated, you are not legally liable to pay for visa costs.

Sick leaves

An employee is ineligible for a paid sick leave during probation period in the UAE, as per Article 83 of Federal Law no. 12 dated 29/10/1986, which clearly states: “The worker shall not be entitled to any paid sick leave during the probation period.”

If you are facing a medical emergency, however, it is always advisable to discuss the issue with your immediate manager as well as your HR department.


As stated in Article 37 of Federal Law No. 8 of 1980, an employee is not entitled to end-of-service benefits if he or she is still serving the probation period. However, if the employee continues to work for the same employer, the probation period will be considered within the term of service when the gratuity is ultimately calculated.

It is important to note that an employer is not allowed to extend the probation period beyond six months.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) extends support to UAE workers in making them aware of their rights and responsibilities as per the UAE Labour Law. If you have a question or complaint, you can reach out to the Ministry on their toll-free number 800 60 or visit their website: www.mohre.gov.ae