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    [UAE Labour Law] Guide to Working Hours, Official Leaves, and Vacations

    Thinking of living and building your career in the UAE? You have to understand that labour laws in your country may not necessarily be the same when you move in other places such as the UAE.

    It is for this reason that we need to have a basic understanding of some of the laws concerning work in the UAE, such as those that deal with working hours, official heaves, and vacations, to name a few.

    working hours in uae

    [Guide] Things to Know About Working Hours, Official Leaves, and Vacations in the UAE

    In this post, we will share some of the basic and useful guidelines as outlined by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE), formerly known as the Ministry of Labour.

    Any type of job or legal work involves regular working hours, official leaves, and vacations. In the private sector, here is what the UAE Labour Law provides concerning these matters:

    Working Hours

    • Regular work hours for employees is 8 hours per day or 48 hours per week (Article 65).
    • The work hours may be increased to 9 hours per day for businesses, cafés, and hotels – but this will require the approval from the MoHRE.
    • Working for more than 7 hours in a day is not allowed among jobs that require “heavy physical labour.”
    • Any job that demands working beyond prescribed working hours may be subject to overtime pay, itemized as follows:
      • Overtime pay should be equal to the rate for regular working hours, and an additional 25% of that amount. This may be increased up to 50% if overtime work was done between 9 pm and 4 am.
      • Regular work hours are reduced by two hours per day during Ramadan.

    Official Leaves and Vacations    

    • In the UAE, Friday is the official weekend for employees, except for daily wage earners.
    • In the instance where a job requires overtime work on a Friday, the pay must be equal to the rate for regular working hours, and an additional increase of not less than 50% of that amount.

    Public Holidays and Paid Leaves

    Employees are entitled to paid leaves on public holidays listed below:

    • Hijri New Year (1 day)
    • Gregorian New Year (1 day)
    • Eid Al Fitr (2 days)
    • Waqfa Day and Eid Al Adha (3 days)
    • The Prophet Mohammed’s Birthday (1 day)
    • Ascension Day (1 day)
    • Martyr’s Day (1 day)
    • National Day (1 day)

    Note: Other holidays not included in the above list would depend on official announcements released by concerned authorities. To get updates on upcoming public holiday announcements, be sure to check with official news sources to get alerts regarding this matter.

    Annual Leaves, Sick Leaves, and Special Leaves

    Outside public holidays, employees are entitled to annual paid leaves, sick leaves, and special leaves. Based on the UAE Labour Law, the provisions for these leaves are as follows:

    • Employees are granted two paid leaves for each month, provided that they have rendered a minimum service period of six (6) months and a maximum of one (1) year.
    • Annual leave of 30 days; provided that the employee has completed one (1) year of service.
    • Sick leave of not more than 90 days (3 months) per year, subject to the provisions specified in the law:
      • First 15 days – full payment
      • Succeeding 30 days – half pay
      • Remaining 45 days – no pay
    • Special leave of not more than 30 days, specifically for the performance of Hajj. Special leave is without pay, and is only granted once throughout the worker’s years of service.

    Understanding these things will better equip for your journey in your career in the UAE. Remember though that updates may be released every now and then so be sure to check with the official authority in the UAE, the MoHRE, for concerns or questions that you may have regarding these matters.

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