Dubai skyline, Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai
The new is aimed at keeping the UAE labour market transparent, flexible and a key driver in sustaining the country’s growth Image Credit: Shutterstock

In less than three months, the UAE labour market will see a major overhaul according to a new progressive and flexible law, regulating the relationship between employers and employees, becomes effective on February 2, 2022.

The new law, announced on Monday by Dr. Abdul Rahman Al Awar, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, which governs the labour relations in the private sector, is in line with the recent updated legislations announced by the government, as we prepare to celebrate the nation’s 50th anniversary.

Over the past few years, the UAE government issued a series of updated laws that cover public health, anti- discrimination, criminal code, personal status among many other aspects and sectors. These laws have put this country’s legislative and legal structure on par with the most advanced jurisprudence foundations in the world.

The current labour law, issued in 1980, has gone through several amendments in the past 40 years, the first of which was in 1981 and the latest in 2020. These amendments were aimed to update the labour regulations as the country grew socially and economically.

Law of paramount significance

Today, the workforce in the UAE has exceeded the 7 million mark — nearly 87 per cent of that is in the private sector. The labour law therefore maintains a paramount significance.

The basic principles of the new law emphasise above all the protection of the rights and dignity of the workers while keeping the UAE labour market transparent, flexible and a key driver in sustaining the country’s growth and development.

Over the years, those principles have made the UAE an attractive destination for skilled workers and talent from around the world. Millions of workers live, most with their families, in a safe, modern and tolerant environment that highly values their important contribution to the national development process.

Therefore, the new law, which takes effect in February next year, establishes new provisions that would not only make the work environment more welcoming and motivating, but also spell the rules for the relation between the employer and their employees — a contractual relationship based on clear and transparent articles.

Eliminating discrimination, harassment 

Moreover, the law is very clear in eliminating discrimination, harassment and bullying, and overloading the workday. Meanwhile, workers have the right to new paid leave days, such as 5 days for maternity — for both the father and the mother, and 3 to 5 mourning days.

The new law sets strict provisions for unfair dismissal, labour disputes and compensation that protect the interests of both the worker and the employer.

The new UAE labour law is indeed a milestone. It reflects not only the modern legislative foundation on which this country was built upon, but also the direction of its future. To be, as UAE leaders have pledged, among the best countries in the world to work and live.