Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Labour Relations in the Private Sector, known as the ‘UAE Labour law’, governs the employer-employee relations in the private sector. The provisions of the law apply to all businesses, employees and employers in the private sector. The law became effective on 2 February 2022. It repealed the previous Federal Law No. 8 of 1980.
The new law aims to protect both parties in the employment relationship and enables them to obtain their rights in a balanced manner. It covers matters related to working hours, overtime, leaves, vacation and public holidays, employing juveniles, employee records, safety standards, minimum wage, termination of employment, end of service gratuity payments, work injuries amongst others.
The new law introduces several work models such as full-time, part-time, temporary and flexible. It abolishes the ‘unlimited’ type of contracts and admitted only limited or fixed-term contracts. It grants new types of leaves and tackles issues related to harassment, bullying, physical violence and psychological abuse against employees.
The law prohibits forced labour and discrimination on the basis of gender, race, colour, sex, religion, national or social origin or disability. It also spells out employers’ obligations towards employees.
Scope of the law
The law applies to all employees working in the UAE, whether UAE nationals or expatriates. However, it does not apply to:
- employees and workers of the federal government and the local government entities
- employees of the armed forces, police and security
- domestic servants.
Resolutions and circulars
Domestic helpers law
Read provisions of ‘domestic helpers law’ (PDF, 500 KB).
Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) is responsible for overseeing the employer-employee relations and maintaining labour rights in the private sector. Contact MoHRE for more information on your rights and obligations as per the ‘UAE labour law’.
Emiratisation laws and policies in the private sector
The UAE is implementing a strategic plan to promote Emiratisation in the private sector. This includes:
- A comprehensive federal programme called ‘NAFIS’
- Emiratisation Programmes and Initiatives in Abu Dhabi– TAMM
- Vision 2021 and Emiratisation
- Emirates Nationals Development Programme.
Check templates of job offers and contract services on the website of Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.
Read some resources which pertain to private sector employment on the website of Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation:
Workers’ rights international agreements
Read about major international agreements ratified by the UAE.