New Amendments to UAE Labor Law – Employment and HR

United Arab Emirates: New Amendments to UAE Labor Laws

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This brief summary will highlight the most significant changes to the new UAE Labor Law (Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021) which came into effect on February 2, 2022.


  • 3-year limited contract:
    • is renewable for the same period or less after agreement of both parties.

    • Unlimited contracts under existing labor law still apply, but must be converted from unlimited to limited contracts within one year of the new labor law taking effect.

  • Different categories of work:
    • full-time, part-time, temporary and flexible work.

    • Introduction of the condensed working week as well (10 hours a day for 4 days)

  • Non-competition:
    • The non-competition protections granted to an employer have been strengthened.

    • Previously, it was based on case law and the Court of Cassation, now it is a provision of the law.

    • The employment contract must= stipulate its duration, geographical scope and type of work it applies to

  • Bullying and Sexual Harassment:
    • The new law prohibits intimidation, sexual harassment or any physical, verbal or psychological violence against workers by their superiors or colleagues.

    • Prohibits discrimination based on race, religion, color, sex, nationality or disability.

  • Notice periods:
    • Now capped at 3 months while the minimum notice period remains at 30 days.

  • Dismissal by the employee during the trial period:
    • The employee can resign during the trial period with at least 1 month written notice when transferring to a new employer in the UAE. The new employer will be required to compensate the former employer for all the costs of recruiting said employee.

    • If the employee wishes to leave the UAE during the probationary period, the employee must provide at least 14 days written notice.

    • If the employee returns to the UAE and obtains a work permit within 3 months of departure, the new employer will be required to compensate the former employer for all costs of recruiting said employee.

  • Dismissal by the employer during the trial period
    • The employer can terminate by giving 14 days written notice to the employee.

If one of the parties terminates the employment contract without complying with the provisions of the new law, the breaking party must pay the other party compensation equal to the employee’s base salary plus the compensation due for the relevant notice or the remainder thereof. An employee who leaves the UAE without complying with the provisions for terminating a contract during the probationary period will NOT be granted a work permit to work in the UAE for a period of one year from from the date on which he leaves the country.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.

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